GC and I popped over to Carleton U yesterday afternoon to catch some of the presentation about the proposed redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. I haven’t paid much attention to the Lansdowne development issue, so I’m just throwing my opinion out there without the benefit of context. Take it with a grain of salt.
The presentation was delivered by architects Richard Brisbin, Barry Hobin, and Robert Claiborne, who said their goal was to create an urban space that reflects Lansdowne’s long history as a city, regional and national meeting place.
We only had an hour in the meter, so we didn’t stay for the whole thing, and much of that time was eaten up by technological difficulties, such as false starts, audio problems, and presenters not knowing how to click ‘next’ in the slide show.
But we saw enough, I think. We saw Mayor Larry O’Brien gush about the plan. We saw the video of it. We saw a guy fall down the stairs. We saw Counselor Rick Chiarelli smirking in the doorway.
I didn’t come away with a strong opinion one way or the other. It was okay, I guess. I found myself getting seduced by the language used in the video, and it made me realize once again the power of words to create moods and illusions. This would have been an entirely different video without a soundtrack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people came away with entirely different thoughts.
Once I caught myself melting into the language, I started focusing on that instead of the graphics, which is probably why I don’t have much of an opinion. Although I have to say it did look expensive. And, while I guess it would be nice to have a fancy-pants mixed-use facility in the Glebe, don’t we all have more pressing things to do with our money? For example, I’d like to see us build more social housing, and provide more green space and recreational opportunities for kids in low-income neighbourhoods. And that’s just for starters. I’d also like to see us build up some reserves so that when we get another snowy winter, the mayor isn’t proposing a special snow tax.
There were a couple of lines that made me laugh, although maybe this is just how architects think and talk:
“The relationship between Lansdowne Park and the Glebe must be completely redesigned.”
“The two buildings – the Horticulture Building and the Aberdeen Pavilion – will have a relationship with each other, and a dialogue with each other.”
Does that strike anybody else as funny?
Incidentally, I’m keeping an eye open for candidates in the October municipal election when I attend things like this. We recognized a couple of them at the Lansdowne event . James Dean (Knoxdale-Merivale Ward) was in the audience, as was Julia Ringma (College Ward). (On a completely unrelated note, it was Julia who originally introduced GC and me, first on the Scrabulous board, and months later in person at her birthday party.)