News   Jul 19, 2024
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Shabby Public Realm

Or maybe we should raise property taxes and supply adequate city service levels?

I am keenly aware of the public service angle of this argument - but somehow I have a feeling you would still come up short. A successful urban realm requires public ownership - and the number of dead street trees in areas where you can easily have someone water them on their own initiative suggests an ownership problem - that people simply don't see them as assets that *they* should take an active role in helping to maintain (considering they are also the ones who will benefit the most from it).

AoD
 
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Though at this point simply saying it's broken isn't sufficient - we need to ask what the public can do. Maybe we need to start having public volunteers taking ownership of park and public realm.

AoD
Totally, this can be done. I do some of my own gardening on City property, for example.

But realistically, volunteers can only do so much -- run a garbage pickup day or plant a garden -- but asking private citizens to spend their time and money to do routine maintenance is unfair. I also only have so much time / money / energy.
 
Totally, this can be done. I do some of my own gardening on City property, for example.

But realistically, volunteers can only do so much -- run a garbage pickup day or plant a garden -- but asking private citizens to spend their time and money to do routine maintenance is unfair. I also only have so much time / money / energy.

There are limits to what volunteers can do of course - but basic maintenance like watering a street tree in front of say your store/house so that it won't die (which you will then have to spend months if not years to try and get replanted)? This is the sort of doable things that is not often done.

AoD
 
I am keenly aware of the public service angle of this argument - but somehow I have a feeling you would still come up short. A successful urban realm requires public ownership - and the number of dead street trees in areas where you can easily have someone water them on their own initiative suggests an ownership problem - that people simply don't see them as assets that should take an active role in helping to maintain (considering they are also the ones who will benefit the most from it).

AoD

While there is certainly some truth in the above; I'm not aware, off-hand, of any major urban centre that expects residents/citizens to water the City's trees or flowers or pick-up litter.

That's always going to be a hodge-podge sort of thing where the odd street, or the odd BIA decides its worth it to them personally to bother, but most will not. Its just one more tax on their money or time from their perspective.
 
While there is certainly some truth in the above; I'm not aware, off-hand, of any major urban centre that expects residents/citizens to water the City's trees or flowers or pick-up litter.

That's always going to be a hodge-podge sort of thing where the odd street, or the odd BIA decides its worth it to them personally to bother, but most will not. Its just one more tax on their money or time from their perspective.

Maybe it is time to develop that culture - or are we so indifferent as to be more willing to put up with a dead tree than putting in the elbow grease to minimize that possibility? Like I have said, this is an ownership problem.

AoD
 
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There are limits to what volunteers can do of course - but basic maintenance like watering a street tree in front of say your store/house so that it won't die (which you will then have to spend months if not years to try and get replanted)? This is the sort of doable things that is not often done.

AoD

Lets note that the new designs I posted for the Waterfront Promenade in Quayside show passive irrigation for the trees. We can, over time, create public infrastructure that requires less upkeep.

Better planting conditions, measures to reduce trampling, passive/active irrigation can do wonders for trees, flower beds and sports fields. Adequate numbers of garbage cans that are not over filled and don't appear gross to touch can help a lot as well.
 
Does that do anything? I called 311 and my councilor about flagrant bylaw violations in Allan Gardens, including litter and camping and nothing has been done.
Calling or e-mailing 311 about street litter is a simple 'bureaucratic request" and from my experience these kinds of reports get quite speedy action. Requesting the removal of tent encampments is, clearly, a far more complicated and 'political' thing - I have no doubt that it has taken a while to be resolved (and know that it still hasn't been.)
 
Asking people to care about their city is a tall order when many still cannot even handle their dogs properly. (FYI, I do not recommend purchasing one of the pots of basil on the sidewalk at Harvest Wagon in Summerhill.)

But see that's my point - it's a lack of pride and personal ownership of public space that's a fundamental issue. Shabbiness is exacerbated by availability of public funds - but we allowed it because the proverbial we don't see it as a priority - both as an area of government expenditure AND as an area of personal involvement.

AoD
 
In the shadows of City Hall, this lovely little hidden parkette is being neglected in an all too familiar manner:
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The city’s solution to eliminating tags? Lazily painting over lovely charcoal brick instead of removing the tags:
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My wife works for the TDSB at school level. They take graffiti removal seriously and have a dedicated team that goes from school to school clearing it off. If they can't remove the graffiti immediately and it's particularly heinous the team uses brick "colour" paint like this to temporarily cover it until the team can come back with the blasters.
 

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