Archive for the 'metablogging' Category

11
Jan
12

Whither The Ottawa Project

If you’re looking at the datestamps on this blog, you have probably quite quickly realized that it is no longer active. I never really made a decision to stop posting here, but instead found that I just didn’t have the time to post regularly and was having trouble maintaining enough interest in the Ottawa Project to make it worthwhile.

But today, I decided that I should probably write this long-overdue farewell. I have every intent of leaving all of the posts I’ve made up as an archive, but in all likelihood, there won’t be any further posts here (if that wasn’t already self-evident). I’m still active online, such as on my Twitter, I can occasionally be found commenting on urban issues over at Open File Ottawa, and I’m in the process of getting a personal blog going as part of a requirement for a public relations class I’m taking.

Finally, if you’ve read or commented here over the time that the Ottawa Project was active, I just wanted to say “thank you.” I had a great time putting it together, and I hope that in some small way, I was able to contribute to the discussion of urban issues in Ottawa. I’m sorry that I couldn’t maintain it longer than I did, but sadly, that’s just how these things work out sometimes. So once again, thank you, readers, and if you’re still out there, I hope I see you elsewhere online.

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28
Aug
09

I am zero means zero

Yup, it’s true. Sorry to end the mystery, folks.

26
Aug
09

A few links

Hey folks, just a small collection of links to pass along today.

First, when I’m not busy ranting and\or raving about urban issues, I also enjoy a little bit of culture. Which is why I spent this past weekend out at Brittania Park enjoying the Folk Festival; I’ve subsequently written of a review of it for Apartment 613. You can check it out here.

Second, RealGrouchy posted an interesting email exchange last week which revolves around graffiti and street art. It’s a very interesting read, and if you care about issues surrounding street art I suggest you give it a look.

Third, (Cult)ure Magazine put up a piece on the politics surrounding sports in Ottawa-Gatineau, and how City Hall has screwed up a number of times by creating a poor marketplace for professional sports. It’s a good read, especially considering the final version of the Lansdowne Live proposal will be released next Wednesday.

And finally, Archie, Jughead and Dilton come to Ottawa. Need I say more? Part 2 is here, and part 3 is here.

20
Aug
09

No parking—not if it’s a guitar, at least

It’s kind of slipped under the radar here in Ottawa, but if you haven’t heard 2009 is the last year that buskers will be able to freely set-up shop in the ByWard Market to play for passers-by. That’s because—as of next year—they will have to purchase a permit from the City in order to play. Costing either $10 for a single day, or $100 for the entire season, buskers will then be able to play for up to six hours a day, provided they don’t spend more than one hour in any one location. According to the City, this will be put in place to minimize disputes that may occur between buskers over prime locations.

Now I don’t exactly spend hours every day observing the activities and interactions of the buskers in the market, but in the four years I’ve lived in this city, I’ve only ever seen one argument over whether or not someone can play in a particular spot (it was right in front of the Beavertails, incidentally). Furthermore, any time I’ve seen buskers interacting, it’s looked pretty amicable to me, and I can’t ever recall seeing a situation where City workers or the Ottawa Police had to intervene. This is all anecdotal, of course, and I’m an outsider to the busking world, but that’s my perspective on the matter.

At the end of the day, though, I can’t help but find this a little disturbing. Sidewalks, especially in an area like the Market, are one of the city’s most fundamental public places. It’s where urban-dwellers, suburbanites, tourists, the rich, the poor, and everyone in between brushes up against one another, and they are traditionally the place where people are able to excercise their right to freedom of expression. And, of course, their right to perform, which can include things like sidewalk chalk drawings, people pretending to be statues, and music, whether it be a beautiful classic violin piece or someone hacking their way through a Neil Young song. No matter what, buskers and street artists are invaluable in adding vibrancy and colour (sometimes literally) to the street.

This move to require buskers to purchase permits smacks of the City trying to manage just who comes out to busk. The Market attracts many highly skilled buskers, but also those who are less talented. The latter category, from my observations, seem to be more likely to be homeless or down-on-their-luck, and are precisely the sort of people who would likely be unable to afford to invest in a permit. It reminds me far too much of the way the underpass between the Government Conference Centre and Sussex Avenue is turned into a regulated art and performance space during tourist season in order to discourage homeless people from gathering underneath it. In both cases, an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude appears to be the prevelant one, which I find to be unfortunate.

My other major concern here is that overregulation has an unfortunate tendancy to negatively impact public spaces. I’m not expecting the death of the Market, but it might just lose a little bit of its vibrancy if buskers find it tough to set up shop. You only have to look at Sparks Street to see what happens when a public space is too tightly controlled; in that case, the National Capital Commission has regulated a formerly integral part of the downtown core nearly to death. It’s a cautionary tale, and a policy direction that should be avoided if at all possible.

Just one more quick note, I wanted to extend my thanks to Ottawa Start for including me in their list of 30 essential Ottawa blogs. There are some good reads in there, and I recommend browsing through and checking some of them out.

01
May
09

One more link

I have a guest post up over at Apartment 613 on the new transit tunnel. Incidentally, if you’ve never been checked out Apartment 613 before, I’d recommend it. It’s kind of similar to this blog, only approaching Ottawa from an arts and culture perspective rather than my own urbanist perspective.

29
Apr
09

The Ottawa Project on CBC Radio

For any interested readers out there, I’m going to be on the CBC’s Ottawa Morning tomorrow at 7:15 a.m. to discuss the new transit tunnel. I’ll be appearing alongside Nick Taylor-Vaisey, who writes for Transit Ottawa, and was in the past one of my editors at the Fulcrum. So for all of you early-risers, please tune in and give the interview a listen, and feel free to chime in with a comment if you have any further thoughts on the proposed tunnel.

16
Dec
08

The Ottawa Project in Spacing

If anyone’s curious, I’ve been published on Spacing’s blog today. I wrote an overview of the strike, and what’s been happening in the city so far. It’s probably nothing new to most of you, but I’ve always enjoyed Spacing, so I recommend heading over and taking a look around if you’re at all interested in urban issues.




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Email: dmccl033(at)uottawa(dot)ca

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