Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Toronto: Jane Jacobs's City of Choice

I’m in Toronto at the moment, Jane Jacobs’s other city. There are several reasons: I’m going to meet with Marc Côté of Cormorant Books to talk about what needs to be done to my novel The Violets of Usambara before it’s published next spring; there are city planning folks in a suburb north of Toronto who have agreed to talk to me about how they are trying to adapt new urbanism ideas to development in their city; and I’m going to be giving a presentation at a conference at Brock Univeristy in St. Catherines called Greenscapes: Sense and Meaning.

The panel I’m on is called The Big Picture. My presentation is called “Green Cities and the Green Paradox”, and takes off where my book Green City: People, Nature and Urban Places left off. The other panelists are Ann Milovsoroff (FASLA/Horsford Gardens) who will speak on "Emerald Cities and Complexity Theory,” Nina Gerlach (Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg), on "Cinematic City Gardens;" and
Matt Feagan (Ryerson University), on "Meanings of Nature and Urban Greenspace: History, Policy and Grassroots Perspectives"

This trip should give me many chances to learn and think about cities and how we organize them, which is what I'm wrestling with for my next non-fiction book, Haussmann's Boulevards to Jane Jacobs Streets (due from Véhicule a year from now if all goes well.) It should also be fun to return to the novel, which has been set aside for some time in favour of other projects.

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