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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Ottawa-Gatineau > Suburbs

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  #61  
Old Posted May 17, 2010, 6:54 PM
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From what I know of the consultant, they are more of a traditional firm, not really the type to propose a rethink of the employment lands model... it's great that the province and city are protecting land for employment, but this should only really be for industrial development and things that rely on trucking for example. Office-type development should really be more integrated into the community, most business parks are isolated and hard to get to in any other mode but the car. If we give up part of the greenbelt just to create more office parks, that would be a waste IMO.
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  #62  
Old Posted May 17, 2010, 9:35 PM
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I agree.

Whatever faults the Greenbelt has, it seems a bit of a cop-out to use it to address bad planning elsewhere in the city. I find it hard to believe that between Kanata Centrum, Barrhaven Town Centre and the area around Place d'Orléans as well as existing underused federal sites within the Greenbelt that we can't find enough employment land. What we really need is a three-level strategy to actually start doing something with them. It also seems a bit much to blame Council in the way Denley has here:

"The problem has become acute because short-sighted councillors keep redesignating employment land for residential and commercial uses."

And out of curiosity who recommended this? Did councillors just go out on a whim and do this?

As for the contention that the Greenbelt is "in the centre of the city" I would point out that the distance from downtown Ottawa to Stittsville is roughly the same as that between The Hague and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Between them is a swathe of farmland similar in size to the western Greenbelt and another city, Delft. Different contexts to be sure, but it does put things in perspective, too.


Fwiw, one of the firm's directors is the Chairman and CEO of McCormick Rankin International...
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  #63  
Old Posted May 17, 2010, 10:26 PM
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You can see some of the background and phase 1 of the study here (I am assuming Mr. Denley is referring to Phase 2)
http://www.ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa...0003%20IPD.htm

I like that example you gave. Makes you think about extending LRT to the suburbs versus regional rail and gives you perspective on how big our region is. When in Holland I took a regional train from Amsterdam to Haarlem, took about 15 minutes and was really only about as far as downtown to Barrhaven.

One of the planners at the firm taught a course at Waterloo, which was one of my favourite courses.... journal articles and planning theory are an important foundation, but his course was about what most planners actually do in practice, which was a bit of a reality check compared to a few of my courses
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  #64  
Old Posted May 17, 2010, 11:01 PM
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The airport lands should be considered in a new category that I would create called the Airport Special Development Area. It would include all the Greenbelt land north and east of the airport, with Hunt Club Road as the northern boundary, Albion Road as the eastern boundary and the private access road about 750m south of Lester Road as the southern boundary.

The area should be designed as follows:

1) A transit station should be located just north of Lester Road along the old rail corridor. TOD policies - including an internationally-themed mainstreet corridor (as a G8 capital, such a gateway should be a cornerstone) - should be built in that immediate area with hotels replacing houses for the mixed-use buildings (taking advantage of being 1 LRT stop away from the airport), along with restaurants, small shops and convention facilities. Strict zoning policies would be applied to ensure only such businesses are permitted.

2) A business park (expansion of the existing/divided aerospace park with the former CFB Uplands lands) should be considered for the area west of the Airport Parkway and east of Uplands Drive. It should be connected to the main international area by a pedestrian overpass.

3) The southeast section south of Lester Road should be kept as federal industrial lands, with the idea that the NRC could consolidate operations there.
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  #65  
Old Posted May 18, 2010, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by waterloowarrior View Post
I like that example you gave. Makes you think about extending LRT to the suburbs versus regional rail and gives you perspective on how big our region is. When in Holland I took a regional train from Amsterdam to Haarlem, took about 15 minutes and was really only about as far as downtown to Barrhaven.
Thanks.

Just so everyone knows what we're talking about, here are a few Google Earth screens of the region west of Amsterdam, the western Ottawa region and the Rotterdam-The Hague region at approximately the same scale.







Btw, the land uses near Westland and Lansingerland are greenhouses. If we've got all this prime agricultural land in the "centre" of our city, perhaps we should start farming it seriously rather than growing crops of corn and hay. What other city in North America (other than Detroit...) has such an opportunity to grow high value crops within its borders with enough labour nearby to make intensive agriculture viable?
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  #66  
Old Posted May 19, 2010, 12:14 AM
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Great images, it really does give you a different perspective. That Schiphol runway in the middle of nowhere is kind of weird!

Here's a link to the staff report Mr. Denley is talking about
http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/cit...%20revised.htm

and the MKI strategy on employment lands
http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/cit...20Document.pdf
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  #67  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2010, 3:21 PM
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Proposed vision statement: "The greenbelt of the future will forever sustain dynamtic natural systems of living and interconnected lands and waters that enrich life in Canada's Capital Region and reflect Canadians' timeless appreciation of our natural environment."

Approved in principle, will be revised based on board input and come back to the board in the fall

Public consultation was strongly opposed to any new development in the Greenbelt

Last edited by waterloowarrior; Jun 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2010, 4:38 AM
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Originally Posted by waterloowarrior View Post
Proposed vision statement: "The greenbelt of the future will forever sustain dynamtic natural systems of living and interconnected lands and waters that enrich life in Canada's Capital Region and reflect Canadians' timeless appreciation of our natural environment."

Approved in principle, will be revised based on board input and come back to the board in the fall

Public consultation was strongly opposed to any new development in the Greenbelt
The whole thing pisses me off. If you ask people whether they want the Greenbelt developed, they imagine cutting down trees, eliminating natural parklands and things like that.

I wish they'd ask people whether they think we should build new development on farmland in the Greenbelt, or on farmland beyond the far suburbs.
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  #69  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 3:46 PM
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I don't agree with your Greenbelt comment, since it is mostly responsible for Ottawa's sprawl.
Where is this idea that the Greenbelt is responsible or is the cause of Ottawa's sprawl coming from? It's not like that without the Greenbelt we wouldn't have had any sprawl - it just would have been in the lands of the Greenbelt instead of beyond them, and that development would probably have started sooner than it did with the Greenbelt in place.

The Greenbelt might be the cause of extra costs associated with the sprawl beyond the Greenbelt compared to what would have been sprawl within it, but it is not the cause of the sprawl itself.

The cause of the sprawl was low density development inside the Greenbelt and piercing the Greenbelt with freeways and high capacity roadways, along with the usual generalities of consumer demand, fear of cities getting nuked and going to pot, etc. Other specific causes are fragmented planning and governance, and the blame for that lies with the Province for not altering municipal boundaries to reflect the reality of the Greenbelt. It's possible that a lot of the early unserviced low density growth in 'inner' Nepean would have been avoided had the old City of Ottawa been in charge of everything inside the Greenbelt.

Maybe the Greenbelt should have been made even bigger - say all the way to the ridge around Stittsville to the west, the Jock River valley to the south (roughly Richmond - Brophy Drive - Bankfield Rd - Manotick - Mitch Owens Road - Vars) and Beckett Creek to the east. That would have really pushed up the cost of sprawling beyond it and would have increased the pressure to properly use the land within the Greenbelt. It would also have effectively extinguished Nepean, March/Kanata, Goulbourn and Gloucester as entities, all of which did their bit to promote unsustainable development.

The Greenbelt does not explain why the Township of March became just another suburb without any discernible centre, all the ballyhooing of Bill Teron aside. If anything, it should have been a factor militating against what eventually happened because the forced separation from Ottawa should have led them to think a bit bigger. They had a pretty good opportunity to take advantage of the lack of development and plan themselves out as a whole new satellite city with an identifiable downtown. March/Kanata could have been Ottawa's version of Paris's La Défense, with a downtown perched on top of the Carp Ridge. Instead, they just let development sprawl out along the Greenbelt boundary without any overall plan. Goulbourn did the same thing, eventually turning their sprawl over to March as part of the newly-formed Kanata.


We often use the Greenbelt as a shorthand for the city vs the suburbs, but the reality is that inside the Greenbelt is a whole lot of suburbia, and some of it is far worse in many ways than suburbia outside the Greenbelt. Basically anything that was developed in the former Township of Nepean inside the Greenbelt is a planning mess, and even a lot done in the old City of Ottawa postwar is not a lot better.


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Originally Posted by DubberDom View Post
If the city had it's way, do you think the Greenbelt would have existed?
Now what do you mean by "city" since at the time of the Greenbelt's formation there was no overall city government. There was the old City of Ottawa and there were the surrounding townships in Carleton County. The RMOC did not yet exist at the time. The Greenbelt was taken almost entirely from lands in Carleton County (just a little of old Ottawa at Uplands airbase - so it was already in federal hands - nominally qualifies as Greenbelt) so the old City of Ottawa really wouldn't have had anything to say about it. They might actually have favoured it.


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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
We have to be very careful about this. We don't want to destroy the green character of the city, which so many people from elsewhere admire about Ottawa. Filling in the Greenbelt, but refusing to build on the Alta Vista Parkway corridor or Airport Parkway corridor is hypocritical. They all have their origins from the Greber Plan. There is also limited advantage by filling in the Greenbelt with tract housing and big box stores, which is almost certainly the outcome.

Several members of my family lost their land as a result of the implementation of the Greber Plan and the Greenbelt and consequently they lost their opportunities to sell that land when its value increased as development moved out towards their land. There is a well known case of the Woodburn family who lived on Innes Road for generations, who lost their land to the Greenbelt and then were kicked off that land in order for the NCC to sell that land for big box development. A perfect example of injustice plus the likely outcome of 'paving' over the Greenbelt.
In Britain they deal with this issue by the state expropriating all undeveloped land for development from its original owners at its value as farmland or whatever it is. That way no one wins a locational lottery. Any land value uplift goes to the state, which is used to fund improvements for the development itself. After all, why should a family in Nepean luck out compared to a family in West Carleton somewhere simply because of where their ancestors were given land grants? Another advantage is that this way of planning puts an end to land speculation beyond the urban boundary because it doesn't matter what a speculator pays for it; the state will simply expropriate it at its economic value.
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  #70  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 3:56 PM
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Where is this idea that the Greenbelt is responsible or is the cause of Ottawa's sprawl coming from? It's not like that without the Greenbelt we wouldn't have had any sprawl - it just would have been in the lands of the Greenbelt instead of beyond them, and that development would probably have started sooner than it did with the Greenbelt in place.

The Greenbelt might be the cause of extra costs associated with the sprawl beyond the Greenbelt compared to what would have been sprawl within it, but it is not the cause of the sprawl itself.
The Brownbelt ensured that the new suburban crap built beyond it would be exceptionally auto-dependent and auto-oriented externally — you really needed, and mostly do need, a car to travel between the outside-Brownbelt developments and the older city — and thereby ensured that they would be auto-dependent and auto-oriented internally, too.

I agree that there would be the same amount of sprawl, more or less, on what is now Brownbelt land, but at least by being built immediately contiguous to existing city, the existing infrastructure could have been logically extended, and the 1950s-style sprawl, which we are still building in the 20th century, could have had some hope of being remediated in the future. With the Brownbelt, and the way we have built those crap suburbs, there is absolutely no chance that they will ever be anything but crapurbs. And the Brownbelt adds major costs to the operation and capital cost of existing and future infrastructure work that is needed for those crapurbs to function, let alone do anything to them that might make them less crapurban.

Once a Farrhaven, always a Farrhaven.
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  #71  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 5:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dado View Post
Where is this idea that the Greenbelt is responsible or is the cause of Ottawa's sprawl coming from? It's not like that without the Greenbelt we wouldn't have had any sprawl - it just would have been in the lands of the Greenbelt instead of beyond them, and that development would probably have started sooner than it did with the Greenbelt in place.

The Greenbelt might be the cause of extra costs associated with the sprawl beyond the Greenbelt compared to what would have been sprawl within it, but it is not the cause of the sprawl itself.
Hear hear!

I think Dado has it completely right. He also highlights in his post something that is a big problem and often neglected: the extremely poorly designed interior suburbs (those within the Greenbelt). While we on this forum, and bureaucrats at the city, tend to focus on issues relating to intensification in the core (and select desirable central neighbourhoods) and on development of new suburban communities, now essentially all located outside the Greenbelt, finding ways to encourage intensification and find solutions to the ailments of the inner suburbs (old Nepean, old Gloucester, south parts of old Ottawa) is very important.
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  #72  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 5:37 PM
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Hear hear!

I think Dado has it completely right. He also highlights in his post something that is a big problem and often neglected: the extremely poorly designed interior suburbs (those within the Greenbelt). While we on this forum, and bureaucrats at the city, tend to focus on issues relating to intensification in the core (and select desirable central neighbourhoods) and on development of new suburban communities, now essentially all located outside the Greenbelt, finding ways to encourage intensification and find solutions to the ailments of the inner suburbs (old Nepean, old Gloucester, south parts of old Ottawa) is very important.
Excellent points by Dado and Ottawan. Downtown will be fine. It is well on its way. This is a mirror of the situation in many North American cities these days due to two factors: 1) municipalities have finally realized that downtown is their "public face" and 2) a certain affluent demographic is now smitten by urban living.

As for the Barrhavens and Kanatas of the world, well all know what is going there. In spite of the doom and gloom from James Kunstler et al., they will likely continue on as before.

However, as has been accurately pointed out, it's the places that are caught in between that might be in for rough times. They have neither the shiny newness of the new burbs NOR the bright lights and amenities of downtown going for them. Their urban design is every bit as banal as the suburbs and they have none of the city centre's pizzazz. Everything just looks worn out and passé in these areas. The land of rusty strip mall parking lot posts...

Elmvale Acres, Herongate, Overbrook, Bayshore, etc. come to mind.
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  #73  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:07 PM
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I think we have to accept the past and live with it. It is a reflection of the times in which these neighbourhoods were built. We should not make blanket statements that these older neighbourhoods are bad places because they are not. Sure, they may be older and some of the housing stock could use renovation and by today's standards, the density is too low. These neighbourhoods will be fixed up just as has happened in the Glebes and Westboros and other parts of pre-war Ottawa. There time will come as well. The concept of intensifying Emvale Acres and Alta Vista and others is not the answer either as it will destroy the character of those communities and those who live there will fight tooth and nail against it. The retail areas from that era were horrible as they were developed in a haphazard way and with few, if any design controls. Is what we are doing today that much better? Look at all those Big Box developments.

We have to understand that those neighbourhoods from the post-war era had to be built, and built fast. There was a severe housing shortage at the end of the war. People were desparate. There were families living in tents, and thousands in old barracks and there were protest marches demanding housing. Housing had to be erected quickly and that meant that neighbourhoods were built lacking many services that are expected today. There were no sidewalks, and in many cases, the streets weren't paved. Many areas were beyond the reach of water and sewer services and therefore had to built with extra large lots to accomodate wells and septic beds.

Of course, it was also a reflection of the returning war veterans who wanted a quieter life away from the grime of the city, and there was indeed a lot of grime. Downtown Ottawa was a filthy place back then. Lots of dilapidated buildings, and everybody was still burning coal. Then add in all the steam trains that choked downtown Ottawa blowing up soot everywhere. Just remember the poisonous smog incidents in London around 1950 and this gives you an idea of how bad the grime was getting. If you look at downtown Ottawa today, and complain about those horrid office blocks built in the 1950s and 1960s, just remember what they replaced was even worse. In most cases, a jumble of ramshackle old buildings of little merit.

I guess we should not be so critical of what was done in the past as they were considered an improvement over what had been done before that. Although the Glebe is now considered a highly desireable neighbourhood today, it probably looked rather tattered in 1960 before the gentrification took place.
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  #74  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:16 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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The concept of intensifying Emvale Acres and Alta Vista and others is not the answer either as it will destroy the character of those communities
And? How is that a bad thing?

Pre-war communities have had to accept change. Why should post-war built-up areas be immune from change, in the name of preserving their precious, precious, "character"?
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  #75  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:20 PM
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Elmvale Acres, Herongate, Overbrook, Bayshore, etc. come to mind.
Overbrook has pretty good "bones", and like Vanier is probably bound for a lot of redevelopment and gentrification in the next couple of decades, until the NIMBY reaction kicks in.

As for the others, though, yeah. Some areas could do well, though: Carling, from Lincoln Fields to the hospitals, has humungous potential, especially if (big if) a proper transit project were built along that axis. The Lincoln Fields wasteland itself, Carlingwood, and Westgate, are all major redevelopment opportunities that could keep those older inner-burbs from turning into the dreary grey belt that Elmvale and Herongate are rapidly becoming.
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  #76  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:30 PM
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And? How is that a bad thing?

Pre-war communities have had to accept change. Why should post-war built-up areas be immune from change, in the name of preserving their precious, precious, "character"?

There are lots of resistance in those older neighbourhoods. Also, intensification is mostly restricted to small pockets of land, usually on major roadways. The same will apply to Elmvale Acres and Herongate. You will not see brick homes on backstreets in Elmvale Acres being torn down to be replaced by high rises or even stacked town houses.
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  #77  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:31 PM
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We should not make blanket statements that these older neighbourhoods are bad places because they are not.
I wasn't labelling them as "bad". I am actually sympathetic to their plight. And although I agree with you that eventually they will improve, things will probably get worse there before they get better. Unfortunately.

I actually live right on the edge of a large area that is exactly like this in Gatineau.
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  #78  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:46 PM
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I wasn't labelling them as "bad". I am actually sympathetic to their plight. And although I agree with you that eventually they will improve, things will probably get worse there before they get better. Unfortunately.

I actually live right on the edge of a large area that is exactly like this in Gatineau.
And that is the way it always has been and always will be.
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  #79  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 7:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
There are lots of resistance in those older neighbourhoods. Also, intensification is mostly restricted to small pockets of land, usually on major roadways. The same will apply to Elmvale Acres and Herongate. You will not see brick homes on backstreets in Elmvale Acres being torn down to be replaced by high rises or even stacked town houses.
True. You won't see the disappearance of single-family homes on a large scale. But what you will see is a slow but sure increase in population density, as dead malls and other properties are converted to higher density uses. The old stuff may not change much, but the high price of land will mean that anything new that is built will be much higher density than the classic bungalows on 60-foot lots. This can only mean more people living in a given area, which may go from being 90% single-family low density to only 50 or 60%.

And more people living in a given area will also lead to more "proximity businesses" (sorry for the bad translation) that more people from the neighbourhood can walk to.

Such a transition may not be possible in Cumberland Estates or Greely where everyone lives on one-acre lots, but certainly most of the city and suburban areas where lots are typically 50 or 60 feet wide are not really that far away from an acceptable density that makes viable a café or pub that you can actually walk to from your detached house.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 8:08 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
I think we have to accept the past and live with it. It is a reflection of the times in which these neighbourhoods were built. We should not make blanket statements that these older neighbourhoods are bad places because they are not. Sure, they may be older and some of the housing stock could use renovation and by today's standards, the density is too low. These neighbourhoods will be fixed up just as has happened in the Glebes and Westboros and other parts of pre-war Ottawa. There time will come as well. The concept of intensifying Emvale Acres and Alta Vista and others is not the answer either as it will destroy the character of those communities and those who live there will fight tooth and nail against it. The retail areas from that era were horrible as they were developed in a haphazard way and with few, if any design controls. Is what we are doing today that much better? Look at all those Big Box developments.

We have to understand that those neighbourhoods from the post-war era had to be built, and built fast. There was a severe housing shortage at the end of the war. People were desparate. There were families living in tents, and thousands in old barracks and there were protest marches demanding housing. Housing had to be erected quickly and that meant that neighbourhoods were built lacking many services that are expected today. There were no sidewalks, and in many cases, the streets weren't paved. Many areas were beyond the reach of water and sewer services and therefore had to built with extra large lots to accomodate wells and septic beds.

Of course, it was also a reflection of the returning war veterans who wanted a quieter life away from the grime of the city, and there was indeed a lot of grime. Downtown Ottawa was a filthy place back then. Lots of dilapidated buildings, and everybody was still burning coal. Then add in all the steam trains that choked downtown Ottawa blowing up soot everywhere. Just remember the poisonous smog incidents in London around 1950 and this gives you an idea of how bad the grime was getting. If you look at downtown Ottawa today, and complain about those horrid office blocks built in the 1950s and 1960s, just remember what they replaced was even worse. In most cases, a jumble of ramshackle old buildings of little merit.

I guess we should not be so critical of what was done in the past as they were considered an improvement over what had been done before that. Although the Glebe is now considered a highly desireable neighbourhood today, it probably looked rather tattered in 1960 before the gentrification took place.
I absolutely love many of the just post-war neighbourhoods! They are really nice. Many of the basic A-frame houses have been expanded (as they were designed to be) into a wide variety of unique homes. The homes are reasonable sized single family homes...not McMansions. Most of single car garages on single driveways allow a family to have a car but not three. I feel most families should be able to function with one vehicle plus public transit. They are on reasonable lots. Not huge things but big enough that neighbours don't directly look down on you.

I have a condo now as I am single but I would love have a family in such a house. Those neighbourhoods are beautiful. On must of the residential streets you don't really need sidewalks since they are not busy streets.
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