The coming week…

Today is a recovery day for me (after a long week of watching amazing improv), so I won’t post something too lengthy.  But I do want to give a bit of a heads up about cool posts coming this week and a few thoughts.

Here and on the Prairie Dog Blog there has been some recent discussion about new transit plans, the Walmart shuttle bus, and the car centric culture that has been dominant in Regina for many years.  I think this is an important discussion to have.  With respect to some opinions (on these blogs and elsewhere) that people in Regina do not value things like community, walkability, good transit, downtown vibrancy, and value only cars, big box stores, and suburbs (I am elaborating and hyperbolizing a bit here… but only a bit), I respectfully disagree.  I have long held the belief that Reginans want these things, but do not know how to express it or feel like the process is too big for them to actually have a hand in changing things.  Many people do not have the lexicon, or can’t put their finger on what it is that is missing in their life or their city, or simply have not experienced some of the positive things that we’ve talked about.  Now, maybe that is a naive or optimistic view point, but I have also experienced the overwhelming positive momentum in this city when you provide opportunities for people to get involved in community, or discuss the importance of transit, walkability, bikability, etc.  There are a lot of people in this city who want progressive change (including people you may not suspect) and may just not know how to express that or make it happen.  Hopefully, with several projects creating positive momentum (new transit plan, downtown plan which emphasizes walking, biking, and transit opportunities in the downtown) that support will only grow!

On that note, get ready for posts this week that include a piece on the Regina Car Share Cooperative, an update on finding “walker’s paradise” in Regina, and the first installment of a 3 part discussion about community by Jeff Dudar.  Jeff has an MA in sociology and will be writing 3 posts talking about various aspects of community in the coming weeks.  So get ready for installment #1 this week – Community: the divisible.  I also hope to do a post, as well as start sending emails, about the 2010 Jane’s Walks in Regina this week…. this is one of those overwhelming experiences I mentioned.


The coming week…

6 thoughts on “The coming week…

  1. Barb Saylor says:

    “Positive momentum” is right, and it’s been long overdue. Credit is due to people who decided to quit complaining and put their hands to the plough to improve life in this city.
    Just a minor quibble: Regina is too small to have suburbs. Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton — yes, but not a city you can cross in 20 minutes if the traffic co-operates. “Suburb” is used in Regina by people who live close to downtown and who seem to have nothing but disdain for anyone who lives elsewhere. That attitude, too, has to change.

  2. I think the cold has a lot to do with why people have difficulty even imagining anything other than a car-centric city. In the last federal election, I seem to recall that one of the lines off attack against the NDP was that Jack Layton was advocating for car-free downtowns (he wasn’t) and that that big-city, toronto thinking just wasn’t appropriate for frigid Regina.

    I’m hoping things like heated shelters and more reliable service in the new transit plan will solve this problem for some people.

  3. Hi Barb, have to disagree with your comment about what constitutes a suburb. Ours may not be as far flung as those in, say, Calgary, but they definitely fit the def’n.

    Especially as I think the word “suburb” is often used as short hand for a litany of bad urban planning features that places like Wascana View exhibit, for example (do I have the name right? I’m thinking of the southeast end of the city where all the street names start, ridiculously, with the word “Wascana.” Only been there once).

    As for “disdain for anyone who lives elsewhere”…. I certainly mistrust suburban design but I don’t think that extends to actual disdain for the people who find that type of living desirable. This is political and philosophical thing. I certainly don’t take it personally.

    Hey, I grew up in the suburbs. I can see their attraction. It’s an urban form I grok by dint of long years spent within it.

    I just don’t want to live there now because they’re a waste of energy and resources. A dumb way to design a city. Plus, personally, I find them pretty ugly, aesthetically speaking.

    Regardless, I think more suburban expansion is inevitable. Which is too bad seeing as we’re still small enough — population and geography wise — to manage our growth in a smarter way. Which is one of the reasons I write against them. Regina can still get it right.

    1. Barb Saylor says:

      Paul: maybe you don’t think you disdain the people who live in the “outer city”, but you imply, by your characterisation of these areas as “a waste of energy and resources…ugly”, that people who live there have no aesthetic taste and are willing colluders with what you call waste. That’s backhanded disdain, man! I’ve heard quite a bit of honest-to-goodness, frankly-blunt, upfront disdain, openly expressed by people who live close to the city centre; it’s very judgemental, to say the least, and in another context would be pretty politically incorrect.
      By the way: I and many of my neighbours offset some of the apparent ugliness and waste by planting vegetable and flower gardens, by composting, and by keeping our sidewalks walkable in winter, among other things.

      1. Just because I say something’s ugly doesn’t mean I have disdain for the people who like it.

        I mean, I think “Two and a Half Men” is ugly and a waste of time and resources (not to mention crass and stupid) but I don’t disdain the people who watch and enjoy it.

        Or. Um… Wait….

        Actually, maybe you have something there, Barb.

  4. wourliem says:

    As someone who’s been saying people in Regina aren’t keen on urban living, obviously there are exceptions. There is usually a balance in everyone, few people would never go downtown and only go to Wal Mart, in the same way most folks don’t live solely downtown.

    My views come mostly from my experience growing up with people who rarely went downtown, and to this day still don’t go often. I have worked with people who wont drive downtown because of traffic. My own mother is an advocate for the shopping mall and is very disappointed in the recent abandonment of the Southland. She grew up in the context of the Golden Mile as the new, local, place to get all your errands done, INSIDE!

    I grew up with the idea of Victoria Park as a dangerous place, not to be ventured in after dark. Indeed there are people I know who lived here a few years and likely go to a Wal Mart or Superstore at least once a week and have never stepped foot in Victoria Park. So we’ll have a project to revamp the park, make it the place to be. The Toronto urban planners know this is a progressive re-development, in line with the en vogue. But is it what Reginans want?

    Maybe the mentality of the city will change, that seems to be what City Hall’s projects are offering. To attract people downtown. They work for me personally (more or less), I want to bike, bus and walk places. It might even be valid to say that these are projects for the betterment of Regina and who cares if a majority of people are indifferent.

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