Tag Archives: highrises

(1155) Grenfell

Here are two thoughtful pieces regarding the atrocious fire in a tower block in London on the 15th.  We can’t help but feel that London’s economic regime, aided and abetted by public policy, produced this fire.  People in authority need to go to jail.
Already there are several clear lines of responsibility leading to both government and business which indicate the fire would have been prevented had some fairly moderate things been tended to.   Unfortunately, the neoliberal economic regime in the UK is a beast now quite skilled at defending itself from acquiring responsibility for disasters of every kind from questionable privatization drives to botched wars.
UK public money is available for wars in the Middle East, for surveillance programs run by intelligence agencies, and extensive agricultural subsidies.  The local government body  responsible for the building recently handed out a property tax rebate and is one of the wealthiest in Britain with large amounts of money on hand.  Real property in London represents a vast and profitable churn of billions of pounds yearly and social housing has been a component of that for many years.  Why so little for the Grenfell’s residents?
We’ll see over the next few years if eighty or more lives are enough to change things.
Christian Wolmar: tower tragedy must mark turning point for council cuts
Grenfell is a shameful symbol of a state that didn’t care
(755) Towers for the better
(485) Highrise hell [report]
(321) Rising high

(83) 1 Millionth Tower
(61) Flemo!
image: ChiralJon via Flickr/CC

(485) High rise hell [Report]

TowersNow that Canada is no longer at war in Afghanistan we might have some cash for fixing up high rise hell here at home?  Aging towers built sometime between Louis St. Laurent’s prime ministership and Blondie’s first hit single are a front line housing resource in greater Toronto and home to tens of thousands.  Not good enough in many a case.  Canada’s people should be the best housed people on the face of the Earth.

(321) Rising high

Flemingdon Park buildingsLarge slab apartment buildings, frequently set in groups on open lawns at major intersections or beside highways represent the housing setting for one in five Canadians.  The big slabs are especially suburban, different from their owner-occupied slicker-looking, glass-clad condominium cousins.  The slabs could use some gussying up, some attention to their aesthetics and energy efficiency.  Many could become less isolated through some cleverness in the use of the property around them.

Slab building boomed between the mid 1950s and late 1970s – then we kind of just left the slabs as is.  They house hundreds of thousands in the Toronto area alone and now the slabs are aging.  Originally the slab high rise represented a kind of budget approach to suburban living, they still do, but the owners, residents and regulators of these buildings are probably going to have to sort out a more conscious future for these properties.  Like them, love them, ignore them some more, either way the big residential suburban high rises represent a substantial investment in housing and are going to be with us for many years.  What will they be like and who will live there when they are a hundred years old?

In this piece from the Globe & Mail international affairs writer Doug Saunders looks at some of the numbers and the sociology of suburban high rises.
Saunders: We’re a nation of suburban apartment-dwellers, but afraid to admit it

Will the cities of the future be filled with vertical slums?
Fast Company visits an apartment tower abandoned during construction and now occupied by squatters

See also:
(131) Boom!
(83) 1MILLIONth Tower
(61) Flemo!

image: Flemingdon Park, Toronto by SimonP via Wikimedia Commons

(139) Toronto builds & builds

A lot of the change in the suburbs is driven by change in the city.  Toronto is among the five largest cities in North America and has a tower building boom going on that appears to outdo the others on the list combined.  The idea of finding a family home in the central city or the inner, older suburbs of Toronto seems to be rapidly becoming obsolete for all but the wealthiest people.  This brings Toronto into line with many other global cities where international financial muscle, physical geography, and high population growth rates shape life.  This type of change pushes working people outward.  The distance pushed goes up even more for those in social difficulty.

The ‘Manhattanization’ of Toronto will change family-housing dreams CBC