Friday, June 28, 2013

More Crap

After decades of the "bungalow and bunker" school of architecture in Edmonton, where aesthetics, form and style were low priorities, mayor Stephen Mandel demanded in 2005 that we build "no more crap". Interesting and beautiful buildings did not spring up overnight, but at least design became part of the urban conversation.

Now we have a rare opportunity to redevelop eight acres of land close to downtown where the Molson brewery was a landmark for years. The proposed design is a real letdown for urbanists and anyone who has a bit of vision for Edmonton. The problem is that the proposal is a glorified strip mall that caters to cars.

It looks amazingly like the Oliver Square West shopping mall literally right next door. Perhaps the new development is intended to be an extension of it. Here's the current mall on the north side of 104 Avenue - the empty lot on the far left where the Molson/Crosstown mall will go.

If there was one chance to do something different and break the mould, this is it. The Oliver community is active and progressive, and wants a pedestrian and bike friendly development. Oliver is already the closest thing Edmonton has to a walkable neighbourhood, and is an easy stroll or ride from downtown or 124th street. The kicker is that this development is also the site of a future LRT station: Molson/Crosstown is an ideal candidate for transit-oriented development. Instead we're about to approve and build more crap.

If you want to get more information or find out how to make a difference before this gets approved, check out the Oliver Community League.

Here are a few more illustrations from the developers:

Note that there is no connection between the sidewalk and the mall. Pedestrians would have to jump over a flowerbed to get in.

This one reinforces the idea that cars are the centre of attention.

My favorite: stay in your glass enclosure, humans, while the cars roam free.