Heather Ann Kaldeway

Heather Ann Kaldeway

Heather Ann Kaldeway is the Project Manager and Communications Coordinator for the Centre for City Ecology and is a member of her local community association in downtown Toronto. She loves vibrant cities, terrible jokes, and challenging books.

 

Can you believe next week is the last week of Death & Life? It seems like not so long ago we were talking about short blocks and eyes on the street, and now we’re gearing up for the last hurrah: how municipal governments work (or don’t), and the ultimate question — what kind of a problem IS a city?

As we wrap up, we’d like to hear from you. How has the City Builder Book Club contributed to your understanding of cities? What should we be doing differently? And how many of us made it all the way to the end??

Tell us what you think: Fill out our survey!

Blog round-up

  • City Love (Brisbane, Australia) sketches landmarks and city unifiers in Chapter 19
  • A City Guy (Chicago, USA) rejoins us with thoughts on narrow streets and visual order (Chapter 19)
  • City Love (Brisbane, Australia) sketches Jane’s Project Recipe in Chapter 20
  • Upper Toronto (Toronto, Canada) reflects on Jane’s comments on the limitations of Death & Life — Jane says these ideas might not apply to cities that are very successful or those that are very damaged
  • Build the City (Seattle) asks, Can Jane Jacobs teach us about grassroots urbanism?

    [T]he vast majority of North Americans today live neither in the idealized small town community nor the Jacobean city district. Instead, we live in an atomized suburban world of automotive arterials, television, internet, membership gyms, big box stores, programmed children’s activities, anonymity and long commutes…

    We urbanists believe that converting to an urban structure will yield many benefits. But what if a majority of a neighborhood’s residents like it the way it is? Jane Jacobs faced a different political and cultural environment, and cannot tell us how to convert gray city neighborhoods and suburbs into thriving urban districts. We have to develop new tools.

Recommendations from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

Civitas by design : building better communities, from the garden city to the new urbanism

Since the end of the nineteenth century, city planners have aspired not only to improve the physical living conditions of urban residents but to strengthen civic ties through better design of built environments. From Ebenezer Howard and his vision for garden cities to today’s New Urbanists, these visionaries have sought to deepen civitas, or the shared community of citizens. Many of the buildings, landscapes, and infrastructures that planners envisioned still remain, but frequently these physical designs have proven insufficient to sustain the ideals they represented. Will contemporary urbanists’ efforts to join social justice with environmentalism generate better results?

What Would Jane Say?: City-Building Women and a Tale of Two Chicagos

In response to the Burnham Plan’s centennial, author Janice Metzger digs into the 1909 Plan of Chicago, revealing not just what Burnham and the Commercial Club put into their master plan, but what they left out. What Would Jane Say? tells the tale of two approaches to city-building in the early 1900s and the people and ideas behind them. It also tells the story of what was created in Chicago and what could have been created. Metzger sets a detailed stage of Chicago at the turn of twentieth century—the players and the movements, the problems and the reform efforts, the conflicts and the possibilities—she takes readers into speculative chapters devoted to transportation, law, housing, neighborhood development, immigration, labor, health, and education. What would Jane Addams and her peers say if they had been involved in the Plan of Chicago? Using painstaking research, historical detail, and a pinch of imagination, Metzger thinks she has a pretty good idea…

Modernism and the spirit of the city

Modernism and the Spirit of the City offers a new reading of the architectural modernism that emerged and flourished in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Rejecting the fashionable postmodernist arguments of the 1980s and ’90s which damned modernist architecture as banal and monotonous, this collection of essays by eminent scholars investigates the complex cultural, social, and religious imperatives that lay below the smooth, white surfaces of new architecture.

Edmonton’s urban villages : the community league movement

How did a collection of neighborhood volunteer organizations come to influence the development of a major Canadian city? Few other North American cities have embraced the community league movement with the vigor of Edmonton. For 87 years, tens of thousands of volunteers from the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) have often acted as a counterweight to large private and institutional interests, shaping municipal development by providing a voice and a training ground for grassroots civic participation. In its wake, the EFCL has left a host of sports, cultural, and civic initiatives for the improvement of Edmonton, and an important lesson on how to create community.

 

Blog round-up

Recommendations on transportation and Victor Gruen from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

Transportation planning

The Toronto Public Library has hundreds of books on transportation planning issues.  A sampling of some recent thoughts on transportation planning:

An introduction to sustainable transportation : policy, planning and implementation

By Preston L. Schiller.

This text reflects a fundamental change in transportation decision making. It focuses on accessibility rather than mobility, emphasizes the need to expand the range of options and impacts considered in analysis, and provides practical tools to allow planners, policy makers and the general public to determine the best solution to the transportation problems facing a community.

Carfree design manual

By J. H. Crawford.

This enticing manual shows how to design sustainable, carfree cities that meet the needs and desires of their inhabitants. Based on walking, bicycling, and public transport, this comprehensive handbook offers a fresh look at city design. The book proposes methods to achieve aesthetically pleasing and practical, carfree living environments. From urban planning and neighborhood design to squares and building layouts, the author argues that narrower streets, four-story buildings, and interior courtyards offer a higher quality of life. A design process is proposed that directly involves future residents. Illustrative case examples and comparative analysis of 18 urban spaces are also included.

 

Blog round-up

Recommendations on subsidizing dwellings from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

From despair to hope : HOPE VI and the new promise of public housing in America’s cities

For decades, the American federal government’s failure to provide decent and affordable housing to very low-income families has given rise to severely distressed urban neighborhoods that defeat the best hopes of both residents and local officials. Now, however, there is cause for optimism. From Despair to Hope documents the evolution of HOPE VI, a federal program that promotes mixed-income housing integrated with services and amenities to replace the economically and socially isolated public housing complexes of the past. As one of the most ambitious urban development initiatives in the last half century, HOPE VI has transformed the landscape in Atlanta, Baltimore, Louisville, Seattle, and other cities, providing vivid examples of a true federal-urban partnership and offering lessons for policy innovators.

This vibrant, full-color exploration of HOPE VI details the fate of residents, neighborhoods, cities, and public housing systems through personal testimony, interviews, case studies, data analyses, research summaries, photographs, and more. Contributors examine what HOPE VI has accomplished as it brings disadvantaged families into more economically mixed communities. They also turn a critical eye on where the program falls short of its ideals. This important book continues the national conversation on poverty, race, and opportunity as the country moves ahead under a new president.

Understanding housing finance : meeting needs and making choices 2nd ed.

One of the biggest challenges for students of housing is understanding the financial principles which underpin the place of housing in the wider economy. By taking a political economy approach, Peter King’s Understanding Housing Finance makes the basic principles of the subject accessible, without requiring detailed prior knowledge of economics or financial systems.
The book explains housing finance by exploring the way in which markets and governments react together. It takes a conceptual approach to consider the advantages and limits of housing markets and why governments intervene. The consequences of intervention are explored in detail using examples of housing subsidy systems and policy mechanisms such as rent control, housing allowances and subsidies to owner occupation.

Housing policy in the United States

The most widely used and most widely referenced “basic book” on Housing Policy in the United States has now been substantially revised to examine the turmoil resulting from the collapse of the housing market in 2007 and the related financial crisis. The text covers the impact of the crisis in depth, including policy changes put in place and proposed by the Obama administration. This new edition also includes the latest data on housing trends and program budgets, and an expanded discussion of homelessnessof homelessness.

Good places to live : poverty and public housing in Canada

Public housing projects are stigmatized and stereotyped as bad places to live, as havens of poverty, illegal activity and violence. In many cities they are being bulldozed, ostensibly for these reasons but also because the land on which they are located has become so valuable. In Good Places to Live, Jim Silver argues that the problems with which it is so often associated are not inherent to public housing but are the result of structural inequalities and neoliberal government policies. This book urges readers to reconsider the fate of public housing, arguing that urban poverty — what Silver calls spatially concentrated racialized poverty — is not solved by razing public housing. On the contrary, public housing projects rebuilt from within, based on communities’ strengths and supported by meaningful public investment could create vibrant and healthy neighbourhoods while maintaining much-needed low-income housing. Considering four public housing projects, in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Winnipeg, Silver contends that public housing projects can be good places to live — if the political will exists.

Online resources

 

Blog round-up

Recommendations on urban poverty from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

Suburb, slum, urban village : transformations in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, 1875-2002

Whitzman (urban planning, U. of Melbourne, Australia) analyzes the contrasts between image and reality for Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood as it evolved from an independent suburb to slum to revitalized “urban village” over the course of more than 125 years. Written for students and scholars of urban planning, urban studies and geography, this volume investigates the social conditions that influenced this evolution, and how a gap between actual living conditions and media images contributed to “increasingly skewed planning practices.” A final section reviews these urban planning practices and questions the “tyranny of the descript community.”

Neighbourhood Change and Building Inclusive Communities from Within

Ghettos In Canada’s Cities? Racial Segregation, Ethnic Enclaves And Poverty Concentration In Canadian Urban Areas. A paper by Alan Walks and Larry Bourne of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre.

Social justice and the city

Harvey analyzes core issues in city planning and policy-employment and housing location, zoning, transport costs, concentrations of poverty-asking in each case about the relationship between social justice and space. How, for example, do built-in assumptions about planning reinforce existing distributions of income? Rather than leading him to liberal, technocratic solutions, Harvey’s line of inquiry pushes him in the direction of a “revolutionary geography,” one that transcends the structural limitations of existing approaches to space. Harvey’s emphasis on rigorous thought and theoretical innovation gives the volume an enduring appeal. This is a book that raises big questions, and for that reason geographers and other social scientists regularly return to it.

Urban sores : on the interaction between segregation, urban decay and deprived neighbourhoods

Most European cities have experienced “deprived” or “excluded” neighbourhoods marked by visible physical and social problems that can be seen as “urban sores”. This engaging book provides invaluable insights into why urban decay and deprived neighbourhoods appear in certain parts of cities, and how they affect residents and cities in general.

Mapping decline : St. Louis and the fate of the American city

Once a thriving metropolis on the banks of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Missouri, is now a ghostly landscape of vacant houses, boarded-up storefronts, and abandoned factories. The Gateway City is, by any measure, one of the most depopulated, deindustrialized, and deeply segregated examples of American urban decay. “Not a typical city,” as one observer noted in the late 1970s, “but, like a Eugene O’Neill play, it shows a general condition in a stark and dramatic form.”

Mapping Decline examines the causes and consequences of St. Louis’s urban crisis. It traces the complicity of private real estate restrictions, local planning and zoning, and federal housing policies in the “white flight” of people and wealth from the central city. And it traces the inadequacy-and often sheer folly-of a generation of urban renewal, in which even programs and resources aimed at eradicating blight in the city ended up encouraging flight to the suburbs. The urban crisis, as this study of St. Louis makes clear, is not just a consequence of economic and demographic change; it is also the most profound political failure of our recent history.

Mapping Decline is the first history of a modern American city to combine extensive local archival research with the latest geographic information system (GIS) digital mapping techniques. More than 75 full-color maps-rendered from census data, archival sources, case law, and local planning and property records-illustrate, in often stark and dramatic ways, the still-unfolding political history of our neglected cities.

Approaches to urban slums : a multimedia sourcebook on adaptive and proactive strategies

This multimedia sourcebook on CD-ROM synthesizes an extensive body of knowledge and experience in managing urban slums accumulated over the last 30 years. The key lessons learned and their implications for future work serve as a useful tool for capacity building and knowledge sharing for policy makers, practitioners, planning institutions, community groups, NGOs, and university students. Approaches to Urban Slums include 14 audiovisual presentations (photographs, illustrations, maps, graphic animations, and aerial imagery, along with voice-over narration) and 18 video interviews.

Favela : four decades of living on the edge in Rio de Janeiro

Janice Perlman wrote the first in-depth account of life in the favelas, a book hailed as one of the most important works in global urban studies in the last 30 years. Now, inFavela, Perlman carries that story forward to the present. Re-interviewing many longtime favela residents whom she had first met in 1969–as well as their children and grandchildren–Perlman offers the only long-term perspective available on the favelados as they struggle for a better life. Perlman discovers that while educational levels have risen, democracy has replaced dictatorship, and material conditions have improved, many residents feel more marginalized than ever. The greatest change is the explosion of drug and arms trade and the high incidence of fatal violence that has resulted. Yet the greatest challenge of all is job creation–decent work for decent pay. If unemployment and under-paid employment are not addressed, she argues, all other efforts will fail to resolve the fundamental issues.Foreign Affairspraised Perlman for writing “with compassion, artistry, and intelligence, using stirring personal stories to illustrate larger points substantiated with statistical analysis.”

 

In this chapter, we turn to slums, unslumming, and even gentrification. Tricky!

As I prepared to write about this chapter, I found myself in complex conversations about it with my coworkers and with my husband, Christopher Hylarides. He and I tend to come at these topics from different angles: I focus on the social concerns while he focuses on the economics. Because we’ve watched the neighbourhoods around us change over the last 8 years and have talked a lot about the pros and cons of the changes we’re seeing, we decided to share this post.

Are “unslumming” and “gentrification” the same thing?

No, they’re not. There are three definitions that overlap here, and it’s important to be clear from the start:

  1. Rising income: A neighbourhood whose average income is going up.
  2. Gentrification: A neighbourhood which has an influx of high-income residents, which raises prices and pushes out the original low-income residents.
  3. Unslumming: A neighbourhood whose low-income residents are improving their lot, and though they can afford to leave, they choose to stay and invest in the neighbourhood.

Statistics tell us when a neighbourhood’s average income rises, but they rarely tell us why. Rising income does not tell us whether high-income people are moving in and pushing low-income people out (gentrification), or whether the original residents becoming more affluent (unslumming). Continue reading »

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