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  #961  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 3:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I note that these reactions always come from people who live in cities that have little in common with Europe architecturally or otherwise - so maybe it says more about *their* insecurities and it is actually they who feel like European stuff is ''better''? Hmmm... could be.

You mustn't be referring to me then. Toronto's early architecture, design, and many planning elements were lifted straight from England (Europe!). It wasn't until well into the 20th century that those were surpassed by local & American influences. And even then there were our post-war high-rise suburbs that look more like Soviet-era Moscow than they do anything in the US. In fact, I would say a city like Montreal was actually more "North American" earlier on - its plex vernacular is an indigenous one (and that being North American of course) rather than something copied directly from England or France.

But just being dense or walkable doesn't make a place "European" anymore than it makes it "Asian" or "Middle-Eastern" or "Latin American" or of any other part of the world with dense, walkable cities. Even in North America, many of our cities were just as dense as those of the old world before being hollowed out. Some of them still are.

It's not wrong to draw comparisons to any of these places - they certainly do exist - old Quebec City for example sure feels more like cities of Europe than anything else on this continent; and such comparisons definitely aren't something worth being anal about. But if we want to be accurate, the only places in North America (or elsewhere) that could actually be called European (as opposed to just being "like Europe") are the initial plans for settlements developed by European colonizers (as opposed to that which came later, which were planned & developed locally, even if in a European style). It's not terribly accurate however, to call any pre-war built form "European" just by nature of being something that is other than post-war auto-centric suburban sprawl.



And just for the record, I do think Europe is "better" than North America in most respects (not least of all in its urbanity, to be sure), but that doesn't mean we should credit them for our own achievements.
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  #962  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 3:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
You mustn't be referring to me then. Toronto's early architecture, design, and many planning elements were lifted straight from England (Europe!). .
That can't be possible! It's located in North America!
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  #963  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 3:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
You mustn't be referring to me then. Toronto's early architecture, design, and many planning elements were lifted straight from England (Europe!). It wasn't until well into the 20th century that those were surpassed by local & American influences. And even then there were our post-war high-rise suburbs that look more like Soviet-era Moscow than they do anything in the US. In fact, I would say a city like Montreal was actually more "North American" earlier on - its plex vernacular is an indigenous one (and that being North American of course) rather than something copied directly from England or France.

But just being dense or walkable doesn't make a place "European" anymore than it makes it "Asian" or "Middle-Eastern" or "Latin American" or of any other part of the world with dense, walkable cities. Even in North America, many of our cities were just as dense as those of the old world before being hollowed out. Some of them still are.

It's not wrong to draw comparisons to any of these places - they certainly do exist - old Quebec City for example sure feels more like cities of Europe than anything else on this continent; and such comparisons definitely aren't something worth being anal about. But if we want to be accurate, the only places in North America (or elsewhere) that could actually be called European (as opposed to just being "like Europe") are the initial plans for settlements developed by European colonizers (as opposed to that which came later, which were planned & developed locally, even if in a European style). It's not terribly accurate however, to call any pre-war built form "European" just by nature of being something that is other than post-war auto-centric suburban sprawl.



And just for the record, I do think Europe is "better" than North America in most respects (not least of all in its urbanity, to be sure), but that doesn't mean we should credit them for our own achievements.
I think that while a place like St. John's is definitely its own place and unique, it does have some similarities to certain coastal cities and towns in Ireland, and it's not a sin to point that out.
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  #964  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 3:46 PM
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I've just been saying European because that's the place from which we borrowed that urban form. The things North Americans themselves created - skyscrapers, car-dependent sprawl, etc. - I've been calling North American.

It's like folk music here - most of it is Irish, some of it is our own. Dirty Old Town is Irish, even though people here consider it their own. Anti-Confederation Song is definitely not Irish, it's a real, local folk song.

MonkeyRonin's terms make sense for St. John's, definitely.

The only thing is I'm not sure how to apply it to larger cities.

You couldn't call this before shot of Boston "urban" and the after shot "suburban", for example:

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The only thing I disagree with is that Quebec City is the only truly European-style city in Canada. It's the most complete and wealthiest example of a western, continental style - of course - but all cities have a least a few European-style areas, even the new ones. And in Atlantic Canada, most cities have quite an impressive percentage of their urban form that would be indistinguishable from many parts of Ireland and the U.K., especially more North American-style European cities (such as Dublin). And there's more to Europe than provincial France. There are parts of it for which Iqaluit is the best approximation in Canada.
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  #965  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 3:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I think that while a place like St. John's is definitely its own place and unique, it does have some similarities to certain coastal cities and towns in Ireland, and it's not a sin to point that out.
Even though it's obviously in North America, let's not forget that Newfoundland was a territory of an actual European country until relatively recently... pre-confederation St. John's still had a legitimate European connection that makes the label a lot more than just some sort of inferiority complex-triggered aspirational statement.

Incidentally, now would be a good time to praise the great accomplishment of North American city-building by the good people of St. Pierre and Miquelon!





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  #966  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 4:00 PM
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I love the variety of colours in St. John's.
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  #967  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 4:07 PM
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(If you mean the above, that's France - St-Pierre-et-Miquelon).

It's strange how fast things can change. It only takes one generation to be raised a certain way, taught certain things.

I can remember my grandmother reading over my homework with me while watching Jeopardy. "This is wrong. Who the hell is Mackenzie King? Our Prime Minister during the war was Winston Churchill."
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  #968  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 4:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I think that while a place like St. John's is definitely its own place and unique, it does have some similarities to certain coastal cities and towns in Ireland, and it's not a sin to point that out.

That's true enough, but it has even more of a resemblance to other towns and cities in New England and the Maritimes, which have the same influences and circumstances. Rowhouses are common North American typology, and clapboard rowhouses are even more prevalent in North America than Europe. To an extent, all early North American cities will have a certain resemblance to the European homes of their founders (like my Toronto example earlier), but over time these influences have tended to be adapted and reworked as their own. St. John's especially is old enough that everything (pre-war) that exists today comes from an established local vernacular, even if that is one that has roots in Europe (as is the case elsewhere). But if we say that that therefore makes a place European, well, then we can call just about everywhere in North America and European and nowadays, everything in Europe North American and the whole concept just goes out the window.

While pointing out resemblances and similarities and influences is fine, to say that something not in Europe is "European" - it should either have a resemblance to something in Europe that otherwise does not exist outside of that continent, or be directly linked to Europe - such as the settlements built by European explorers and colonizers.



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Even though it's obviously in North America, let's not forget that Newfoundland was a territory of an actual European country until relatively recently... pre-confederation St. John's still had a legitimate European connection that makes the label a lot more than just some sort of inferiority complex-triggered aspirational statement.

Incidentally, now would be a good time to praise the great accomplishment of North American city-building by the good people of St. Pierre and Miquelon!

Political connections don't change geography. Canada wasn't a European country prior to 1867.
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  #969  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 4:48 PM
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Political connections don't change geography. Canada wasn't a European country prior to 1867.
Political connections aren't everything, but you can't tell me they're meaningless. Surely it isn't just some coincidence that SPM has arguably one of the most European-looking towns/cities on the entire continent?
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  #970  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 5:15 PM
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Surely it isn't just some coincidence that SPM has arguably one of the most European-looking towns/cities on the entire continent?

Does it? It looks pretty North American to me. Single family homes, gridded streets, wooden telephone poles, clapboard buildings. Quebec City, Montreal's Old Port, Boston's North End, and any old Spanish colonial city (Havana, Santo Domingo, etc.), among others look more distinctly like the type of environment most commonly found in Europe.

Actually, St. Pierre does look like it could fit right in in Iceland or something, which technically is European, though not what most people would mean when they say a place "looks so European".
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  #971  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 5:25 PM
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Does it? It looks pretty North American to me. Single family homes, gridded streets, wooden telephone poles, clapboard buildings. Quebec City, Montreal's Old Port, Boston's North End, and any old Spanish colonial city (Havana, Santo Domingo, etc.), among others look more distinctly like the type of environment most commonly found in Europe.

Actually, St. Pierre does look like it could fit right in in Iceland or something, which technically is European, though not what most people would mean when they say a place "looks so European".
Good questions. Take away the French cars, road signs and pavement markings in St-Pierre and replace them with North American ones, and then take a fresh look at the place.
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  #972  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 5:38 PM
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I wonder how the historic district of a place like Trois-Rivières would compare with SPM when it comes to continental Europeanity or Frenchness?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/v3r/se...th/4733660064/
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  #973  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 5:43 PM
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They're quite different, but so too would be the places in Europe the people of Trois-Rivieres and St-Pierre actually came from.

I'm assuming Trois-Rivieres people are mostly from Normandy?

In St-Pierre, the population is mostly Basque in origin.

You can see it elsewhere too. In Manitoba, it's VERY easy to tell rural towns founded by the Ukrainians from those founded by the British. And the Mennonites, too, have their own look in urban form.

Also, changes over time... St. John's before the Great Fire of 1892 was a very different city architecturally. The Mansard roof, for example, which is now found on the vast majority of buildings, didn't exist here.
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  #974  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 5:59 PM
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(If you mean the above, that's France - St-Pierre-et-Miquelon)
Nope, but I like that place as well.

I also am impressed when a guy from Newfoundland thinks Manitoba is okay. So I guess you're forever okay in my books. Just tell everyone else you know back home the mosquito population isn't as bad as it's made out to be.
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  #975  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2014, 6:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
Does it? It looks pretty North American to me. Single family homes, gridded streets, wooden telephone poles, clapboard buildings. Quebec City, Montreal's Old Port, Boston's North End, and any old Spanish colonial city (Havana, Santo Domingo, etc.), among others look more distinctly like the type of environment most commonly found in Europe.

Actually, St. Pierre does look like it could fit right in in Iceland or something, which technically is European, though not what most people would mean when they say a place "looks so European".
Obviously SPM doesn't have the age of typical European town and it's an isolated outport kind of place, so it has few old stone buildings and as far as I'm aware, none of the grand beaux-arts buildings that even lowly provincial French towns and cities have. The built form is a bit different by necessity. But come on, with that type of layout, you can't tell me that SPM is just a typical North American town... it has a far more, yes, European form than the average town of 6,000 does around here.

But that said, whether you agree with my assessment of SPM or not, the point is that it's pretty clear what is meant by European in reference to a city's characteristics and I don't think it is the value judgment you seem to think it is so much as it is simply a statement of fact.
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  #976  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2014, 1:54 AM
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Still with overseas influences, I must say that in some parts of Vancouver the newer developments definitely have some modern Asian architectural influences that are apparent.
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  #977  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2014, 10:53 PM
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  #978  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2014, 12:33 PM
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^ah wonderful shots. Montreal has its many layers.
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  #979  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2014, 1:46 AM
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  #980  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2014, 1:50 AM
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Like a war zone.
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