03
Sep
09

On developers

I’m going to refrain from comment on the new Lansdowne Live plan for now, mostly because there’s a lot of kneejerk reaction out there right now, and I don’t think I can say much at this point that will add anything to the debate. Maybe in a few days, but for now, I’ll be keeping quiet about it in this space.

That aside, watching the reactions has got me thinking about the way we think about large developers like Minto and Claridge in today’s cities. To read some of the comments on the Citizen and the CBC (and yes, I know, comments at online news sites do trend towards being overly hysteric, no matter the viewpoint) you would think that there is a vast conspiracy at play at City Hall, and that anyone who speaks up in favour of Lansdowne Live is obviously a plant charged with playing up the plan. This, I think, all stems from the fact that to some, developers are inherently evil and want nothing more than to steamroll over our precious land and turn it into money factories.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that developers are necessarily good, either—take Minto’s gargantuan sprawling subdivision planned for Manotick, for example—it’s more that to paint them solely with either brush is, frankly, a little ridiculous. The fact is, developers are important to urban places, whether we like it or not. Without them, cities would be stagnant, as civic projects can’t do everything, and nor should they. Someone needs to build new homes, condos, shops and offices and the average private citizen doesn’t have the assets to do so themselves, which ultimately leaves it up to the corporations.

What I’m trying to say here is that we, as urban citizens, need to rethink how we interact with developers just as they need to rethink how they interact with us. We want the places we call home to be vibrant, liveable spaces, whilst developers want to be able to turn a profit off of constructing new buildings. What we need, then, is more dialogue: communities should interact with developers to tell them what they want to see, while developers should interact with the community to ensure that they’re going to be building something that people actually want.

Fortunately, this seems to be happening in some cases. Take the Westboro Collection project, for example, where the developer has openly posted the community comments they recieved on their website (PDF warning). It’s a small thing, but I think it’s exactly the sort of step we need to be taking both to improve the dialogue surrounding future developments in this city, and to ensure that those same developments will improve the cityscape. That, in my mind, will be a key element in making Ottawa a place people truly want to live.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “On developers”


  1. 1 Vicki
    September 4, 2009 at 4:38 am

    You might like to check your link again for the Manotick story – it ends up in a strange place.

    Thanks

    • 2 David McClelland
      September 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

      Thanks, I’ve since linked to a different article. I think something is going on with the Citizen’s web site, as a lot of the story links I was looking at ended up at inexplicably blank pages.

  2. September 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I totally agree with you here: we need an equilibrium with what is feasible and what is requested. However, we are far from being there…

    It is much easier for the developpers to invite some key people to a hockey game than for the average citizens to organize themselves in order to have their voices heard. So, the force pulling on one side compare to the other are most of the time unequal.

    You have mentionned Manotick, but Fernbank is another good example. Who wants to spend evenings and weekends building a case in the name of collective good to stop this project from happenning? Nobody has time to do things like that. On the other hand, “lobby” is “chose courante” for the developpers and they all know it pays off.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


What is this?

This is a blog dedicated to exploring and discussing Ottawa, Canada.

Pages

Contact

Email: dmccl033(at)uottawa(dot)ca

RSS feed

Blog Stats

  • 62,945 hits

%d bloggers like this: