In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs espoused four main critera for creating good neighbourhoods. The second of these was:
Most blocks must be short; that is, opportunities to turn corners must be frequent.
The Toronto Star highlighted this theory in its Condo section this week. In surmising that healthy neighbourhoods need to go "beyond density", the Star compares downtown street street layouts around the world to a typical Mississuaga grid.
The article quotes Ed Sajecki, the City of Mississauga's planning and building department commissioner:
Sajecki likes to say the "great cities have good bones," and he has put on presentations that include slides showing how central Mississauga's loose grid differs dramatically from the tight webs of streets common to cities where people like to walk.
"We're looking at what New York, Rome, Barcelona, Toronto, even Portland Ore., are doing," he says. "Our blocks are too long; we know that."
Mississauga is planning to bring short blocks to its downtown, specifically to its new Parkside "urban village" complex across from Square One.
For sure, Mississauga will have to go a lot further to bring vibrancy into their urban landscape, but it's nice to see that, for this development at least, the city's planning department seems to be getting it right.
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