The rise and fall of Glasgow’s Red Road Flats, part 1: Glasgow housing in historical context
see also: (131) Boom! & http://www.redroadflats.org.uk/
image: Tom Parnell via Flickr/CC
From a sufficient distance anything is poetic. Don’t get us wrong, we love this kind of thing but shouldn’t newspapers offer up incisive journalism about “crumbling” suburbs to go along with these photo essays?
A poetic vision of Paris’s crumbling suburban high-rises
image: Ashtonpal via Flickr/CC
A Toronto photographer’s project recently embraced the lives lived in our under-considered highrises. Katerina Cizek writes in the National Post today about her work for the National Film Board’s Highrise project.
We should recognize Canada as a nation of highrise-dwellers
Now 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.
image: Simon P via Wikimedia Commons
Large 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
image: Flemingdon Park, Toronto by SimonP via Wikimedia Commons
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.