Week 12 wrap-up – We’re all done

We made it! Another fabulous sketch by Yen Trinh of City Love 🙂

We made it! Thank you to all of our Guides, the Toronto Public Library, our Twitter followers and Facebook fans, mailing list members, commenters, and to those of you who wrote and sketched your way through the book on your own sites! We have really enjoyed seeing this book through your eyes and learning from your experiences in cities around the world. Fill out our survey to let us know what you thought and to sign up for the next round!

We have a few questions for 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?? Fill out our survey

Get out and walk

On May 5th and 6th, celebrate Jane Jacobs’ legacy by going on a Jane’s Walk in your city

Jane’s Walk is a series of free neighbourhood walking tours that helps put people in touch with their environment and with each other, by bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves.  Since its inception in 2007, Jane’s Walk has happened in cities across North America, and is growing internationally.

Jane’s Walk honours the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning.

All Jane’s Walk tours are given and taken for free. These walks are led by anyone who has an interest in the neighbourhoods where they live, work or hang out. They are not always about architecture and heritage, and offer a more personal take on the local culture, the social history and the planning issues faced by the residents. Jane Jacobs believed strongly that local residents understood best how their neighbourhood works, and what is needed to strengthen and improve them. Jane’s Walks are meant to be fun, engaged and participatory – everyone’s got a story and they’re usually keen to share it.

Blog round-up

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.

Walking home: the life and lessons of a city builder

Ken Greenberg has not only advocated for the renewal of downtown cores, he has for thirty years designed the very means by which that renewal can happen. Walking Home is both Ken’s story and a lesson in turning the world’s urban spaces back into places that can give us not only a platform to face the challenges of the future, but also a place we can call, with pride and satisfaction, home.

City building : nine planning principles for the twenty-first century

Good city building is not created by complex statistics, functional problem solving, or any particular decision-making process. Successful cities instead come from people advocating easily understood human values and principles that take into account the sensory, tactile, and sustainable qualities of environment and design in relation to what is the best of human endeavor.

Local motion : the art of civic engagement in Toronto

Decisions about the things that matter most on a daily basis – our roads and schools and houses – happen at the city level. So, how do we influence these decisions? What motivates ordinary citizens to take action and improve their community? How do neighbours organize together? Does City Hall facilitate engagement, or stand in the way? Local Motion explores how we, as citizens, can make a positive change in our city.

Local government in a global world : Australia and Canada in comparative perspective

Local government plays a critical role in the lives of all citizens, from remote towns to capital cities. As the political legitimacy and importance of municipalities grow, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to strike a balance between local and higher levels of government. The contributors to Local Government in a Global World provide insights into key themes impacting local governance in two federations with much in common historically, culturally, and politically: Australia and Canada.

Merger mania: The assault on local government

Outside the United States, forced municipal mergers were a popular policy in many European countries and Canadian provinces during the 1960s and 1970s. The city of Laval, just north of Montreal, and the “unicity” of Winnipeg owe their origins to this period – both amalgamations failed to meet their original objectives. Despite the emergence of “public choice” theory – which justifies municipal fragmentation on market principles – some politicians and public servants in the 1990s have continued to advocate municipal amalgamations as a means of reducing public expenditure, particularly in Ontario. In Merger Mania Andrew Sancton demonstrates that this approach has generally not saved money. He examines the history of amalgamation, as well as studying recent forced municipal mergers in Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Sudbury.

Canadian local government : an urban perspective

Written by esteemed political scientist Andrew Sancton, Canadian Local Government: An Urban Perspective is a comprehensive introduction to municipal government in Canada. The text emphasizes that what happens in local government affects our lives on a daily basis just as much, if not more, than what happens at the provincial and federal levels.

Foundations of governance : municipal government in Canada’s provinces

Canada’s municipalities function in diverse ways but have similar problems and, in this way, are illustrative of the importance of local democracy. Foundations of Governance shows that municipal governments require the legitimacy granted by a vibrant democracy in order to successfully negotiate and implement important collective choices about the futures of communities.

Governance of Toronto : challenges of size and complexity

Contributors: Stren, Richard.

Understanding local government in Canada

This 2006 video offers students an easy-to-follow, fun, fast-paced look at how their local governments manage communities and their everyday lives.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Frederick says:

    Will all the content still be available after we start on the next book? Because the guides have been very insightful, and it would be a real pity to lose that insight!

    1. Yes, we agree. We haven’t yet figured out how we’ll format the site when we get to Book 2, but we will definitely keep all of the Death & Life content online.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it!

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