Life in the LaneYesterday, I had the honour of attending the Ryerson University School of Urban & Regional Planning awards ceremony and accepting the IBI Group Award on behalf of myself, Danny Bridson, Joanna Craig, Heather Finlay, Virpal Kataure, Alex Leung, Chris Pereira, Adam Szaflarski and Jesse Watson. This honour is awarded to group projects for excellence in the professional practice, and the Life in the Lane project we completed in December of 2009 was the lucky project.
The Life in the Lane project was initiated by Adam Vaughan, the councillor for Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina). In his ward, as in many of the older downtown neighbourhoods, there are a lot of laneways and back alleys. Some have houses, businesses and kids playing in them, some are simply used as shortcuts and access to back yard parking, and others are dangerous places where people try to avoid. The problem is that in many cases, there is no official record of what buildings and activities are located there. The Life in the Lane project sought to take a survey of the laneways and look at strategies to improve and enhance these almost forgotten spaces.
After a lot of field research, land use analysis and policy analysis, we came to several recommendations:
- Officially recognizing the lanes, as they are generally grouped with the adjacent property and not as a separate transportation entity.
- Explore new municipal service options, because the rules that govern things like garbage collection and snow clearing will not work in laneways.
- Foster community stewardship within the lanes, as these spaces are often ignored by the neighbourhoods they are located in.
- Beautify the laneways, as many are dark, dreary and uninviting.
If you would like to see the report, feel free to email me at andrae(at)gttavisions.com
Labels: urban design