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McGill’s Raphael Fischler: Village Griffintown too big, hurts downtown by ajkandy

Raphael Fischler writes in today’s Gazette:

This is no way to build cities, megaproject by megaproject. There is no reason, except for developers’ hubris, to develop such a huge swath of land in one swoop. This is not a railyard that is lying fallow; it is a working piece of the city. It is in bad shape and definitely needs upgrading. But that process must take place gradually, in medium-sized (or even small) increments that complete the area and complement each other, rather than in a large-scale project that obliterates what exists.

Fischler, a professor at McGill’s School of Urban Planning, suggests instead a new Plan d’urbanisme that doesn’t favour a single developer so strongly, that would forbid the consolidation of entire blocks (as the current design does), exclude the possibility of expropriations, move the proposed concert hall and international student housing to downtown, and sign developers to binding contracts that mandate mixed-use development.

He notes:

Disappointed and hurt by the loss of the Casino de Montréal- Cirque du Soleil project near Point St. Charles, Tremblay urges us not to let this project slip by. My guess is Montrealers won’t let good projects slip by – but they will fight bad ones.

Gazette to naysayers: Quit whining by ajkandy
November 24, 2007, 7:36 pm
Filed under: griffintown, media, proposal, sprawl

Today’s Gazette editorial comes out in favor of the Village Griffintown project, unsurprisingly. Sure, they threw in a couple of caveats regarding the tramway’s viability, but otherwise gave it the old rubber stamp.

The Gazette has unfailingly promoted suburban values over urban ones for some time now — given that 90% of its ads are from car dealerships, how could they see it otherwise? And aside from a few columnists, does anyone at the Gazette even live in the city anymore? (Gazette scribes, please feel free to weigh in here, in the comments.)

Well, I wrote them a letter, paraphrasing some things we wrote about yesterday, and some items which came out of last night’s Griffintown Museum Foundating meeting. Here it is for posterity:

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Images from the Devimco / Arbour Associates proposal by ajkandy
November 22, 2007, 8:48 pm
Filed under: griffintown, media, proposal, Urbanism

Aerial rendering - Village Griffintown

Aerial view, Village Griffintown proposal on the Peel Basin.

Plan view, Village Griffintown

Large map view showing usage notes for buildings. (click image to go to Flickr page with larger view).

Top-down plan view of Village Griffintown

Smaller map view with numbered points referring to these images. #3 is the large aerial view, top.

View of

View corresponding to point #2 in the map, the so-called “Place de la Montagne”.

View on Rue Ottawa

View corresponding to point #1 in the map, the corner of Ottawa street, incorporating an older heritage building.