Wednesday, March 22, 2017

When will London act on the ReThink promise?

London, ON, endured a time consuming process called ReThink London. It was an urban planning exercise that invited community participation. ReThink was going to put this large, southwest Ontario city on the path to a denser future city.

It was, in my opinion, a lot of smoke with very little fire. Despite the claims of massive community involvement, I believe the participation numbers are quite questionable. But, all that aside, what I find most interesting is that the future envisioned by ReThink is not the future in many places but is reality today.

This is a great improvement on the big-box shopping mall.
Check the posted image on the right and below. Both are screen grabs from Google Streetviews. These images from Georgia are not artist's conceptions. These images show a mixed use development in existence today.

The development, a traditional retail and residential blend, even has a movie theatre in the mix.
In compact developments, stores front onto streets rather than parking lots.
Such mixed use developments are springing up throughout the world but not in London. London talks the talk but that's where it stops.

ReThink London promised an end to urban sprawl but unfortunately the ReThink ideas are little more than a gleam in our city planners' eyes.

Lots of parking with a wall separating much of the residential from the commercial.

More than a decade ago, journalist Christine Dirks told readers of The London Free Press about a new urbanist development planned for southwest London. It would be a first for the city. Talbot Village was the name of the new suburban community. Today the development is nearing completion and the only part of the dream that has survived is the name: Talbot Village.

ReThink London? Humbug.

Addendum: And yes, I know the new city plan was not in place when much of Talbot Village was being built. But, mixed use communities are now being built globally by those I would call enlightened. Why? Because mix use creates sensible, profitable developments.

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