Save Griffintown!

Reminder: Public Consultation continues tonight (in 15 minutes…go go go!) by ajkandy
February 27, 2008, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, consultations, Devimco, ETS

Forgive me for not posting this earlier, but Real Life intervenes sometimes.

The question-and-answer phase of the public consultations on Griffintown continues this evening (in 15 minutes from now, actually) down at the ETS, corner of Peel and Notre-Dame. I was at the 2nd night, this time entirely devoted to continuing the questions from the public. I’ll write up a fuller report of those activities later.

People from the Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown will be there this evening — it was another practically full house last night and promises to be again tonight. If you have questions for the City and for Devimco, you can sign up at the door. There will likely be another supplementary night of questions if there’s enough people signed up.

After that, individuals and organizations can present comments and briefs stating their case to the borough committee on March 10th.

Architects: Dismantle and retool the suburbs, car culture is dead by ajkandy
February 22, 2008, 9:20 am
Filed under: Carfree Cities, climate change, economics, news, peak oil

by A.J. Kandy

Henry Aubin, writing in The Gazette, covers an interesting article from the Urban Land Institute. At least one firm echoed the feelings of many when they said that, if given $1 trillion to play with, they’d spend it de-automobilizing North America:

“We would spend less time fixing and more time dismantling America’s infrastructure,” say Dan Wood and Amale Andraos, of WORK Architecture in New York. “The 50-year suburban experiment in car culture is untenable in the face of climate change and peak oil.”

They would spend the money on, among other things, a “study of the suburbs to identify those that can be densified as new cities and those that can be returned to farmland.” They foresee a day when energy costs make long-distance food transport very costly, and more food will have to be locally grown.

That day might come sooner rather than later — most oil geologists believe that the “peak” in peak oil is now; we’re now going down the jagged, uneven slope of depletion. By 2012-2019 (when the Devimco project is due to be finished) spot shortages — or longer outages — in the supply of fossil fuels will start to be commonplace. Consider this graph, “The Growing Gap,” which I adapted from a recent ExxonMobil annual report, comparing diminished future discovery with escalating demand (production). I placed the estimated completion date of Projet Griffintown on the timeline, for comparison.

ExxonMobil Graph - Growing Gap between discoveries and demand

Seeing as how we’re not going to have the same one-time bonanza of fossil fuel energy going into the 2nd half of the 21st century, it’s a project we should have started on yesterday. (Places like Thornhill, ON will be the first to go — if you’re not already on a farm, that is.)

A simpler thing that almost all cities with dead areas / downtowns can do is change their zoning codes and tax codes. It should be cheaper to build in the middle of cities (encouraging infill and density), and more expensive to build far-flung exurbs which require enormous infrastructure outlays for very little density in return. Encouraging mixed-use, dense neighborhoods is the smartest thing any city can do right now; emphasis on neighborhood, not “Delta City.”

News Roundup by ajkandy
February 21, 2008, 2:06 pm
Filed under: blogosphere, news, op-ed

The ever-excellent Spacing Montreal posts another roundup of recent news articles and op-ed on Griffintown.

La Presse’s Sara Champagne covers the tiff between Devimco and rival promoter Ronald Hakim, who wants to put in a pair of 60-storey (!) towers as part of his “medical tourism” complex. (Despite the probability that giant towers would trash the city’s own urbanism masterplan which dictate clear views between the Mountain and the river, one has to concede the point that other developers who had plans submitted according to the proper process are getting short shrift here.) Le Devoir’s Jeanne Corriveau also covers this story (registered users only).

La Presse’s columnist Rima Elkouri goes for tea at Masala on Wellington with Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal, who discusses his organization’s “approval, with caveats” of redeveloping the Griffintown area; she notes how the proper review process has been “short-circuited” and how the political leadership has abdicated its responsibilities; in fact the city’s own urbanism department has been disbanded and it seems that private promoters are doing this work, obviously to their own benefit.

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McGill’s Robert Mellin: Mapping Griffintown’s Future by ajkandy
February 21, 2008, 1:47 pm
Filed under: blogosphere, Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment, mcgill

Award-winning McGill Associate Professor of Architecture Robert Mellin writes a thoughtful guest post about keeping Griffintown semi-industrialized for the post-oil future, over at the “official” committee blog, CSR Griffintown. Check it out.

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Public Consultation is tonight: 7pm at the ÉTS by steph
February 21, 2008, 8:16 am
Filed under: griffintown | Tags: , ,

by Steph Troeth

The long-awaited first public consultation for Projet Griffintown begins tonight at 7pm, at L’École de technologie supérieure at the corner of Notre-Dame and Peel streets. Being present is a statement in itself — that you care about the future of Montréal.

CSR Griffintown has posted some background material and documents that might interest you. Otherwise, you will also find links to news articles in our archives.

Speaking of news: the free newspaper Métro in Montréal published an article on Griffintown just this Monday (Feb 18). I’ve tried in vain to hunt down an online archive. If you happen to find it, please leave us a comment. Thanks Patrick!

Hope to see you at the ÉTS tonight.

Audio from last week’s interview on 940 News by ajkandy
February 20, 2008, 6:27 pm
Filed under: audio, interviews, media

by AJ Kandy

Here’s the MP3 of the interview with yours truly and Chris Gobeil. (I never realized I said “it’s like” and “you know” so much. Note to self.)


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The official CSR Griffintown site is live by ajkandy
February 20, 2008, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Committee for Sustainable Redevelopment

by A.J. Kandy

Purely because we’ve been covering the Griffintown project for so long now — since last September — this site has become a top hit for people searching for information on the project.

It’s purely a personal blog, shared by two people with an abiding interest in urbanism. However, I hasten to add that whatever is published here, and the snark with which it is occasionally presented, is strictly ours and ours alone.

Some of you who’ve been following the story, both here and via Spacing Montreal, have heard of this new Committee for the Sustainable Redevelopment of Griffintown. It’s an organization of Griffintown residents and people from neighboring boroughs who are pooling their expertise in order to make their voices heard, and to aim for a more positive outcome than the one planned by the City and Devimco.

If you’d like more information on the Committee or to get involved, check out You’ll see more “official” postings there about the group, activities, information, press releases, and so on.

Meanwhile, back to posting here 🙂

Full disclosure: I’m a member of CSR Griffintown, but Steph, my co-author, is not.

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