Saturday, 23 February 2008

Saturday Photo: Another Vision for Griffintown

This morning another slightly out of kilter Griffintown photo: the red brick building on the left contains a store front which will open as a gallery in March. In the center is a garage that specializes in auto body work, and on the right (not shown because my frozen hands didn't point the camera right and I didn't realize it until later) is a shop which makes custom bicycles.

The mix is the kind Jane Jacobs talks about in several of her books--relatively cheap rents, urban location, demand for various sevices, an incubator for ideas and industry. She would not be in favour of the Devimco plans to redevelop Griffintown: I imagine she'd say that it's on its way to redeveloping itself.

That seems to be the message of work by Robert Mellin of McGill's School of Architecture and his students. In part, he recommends that: "Development of the Griffintown area permitted to happen in a long-term, incremental way so as to repair the damage wrought by drastic urban renewal and the forced resettlement of residents in the area.:

His report goes on to recommend "a vision of a “living/working” quasi-industrial, but urban landscape of production." What is not needed is " a strictly 'pleasure-oriented' landscape of consumption, with its attendant banal condos, parks, and shopping malls."

Banal? Well, that's not the word I'd use. But I agree there's a lot to be lost if Montreal and Devimco proceeds with the sort of "lifestyle centre" development they're proposing. The borough council will discuss the project March 10.

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