Urban Reimaging, and the Waterfront Culture and Heritage Infrastructure Plan

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  • Topic: Toronto, Urban design, Greater Toronto Area
  • Pages : 9 (2951 words )
  • Download(s) : 324
  • Published : November 24, 2011
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The main theme underlying the urban re-imaging process is service, teaching and research in the pursuit of a critical practice of urban design. The urban re-imaging of an area seeks to serve the communities of that region by bringing faculty and urban design students together with local governments, community based organizations and citizens in general, to engage the work of making better places and stronger communities. Part of the undertakings of it is to provide challenging situations in which students can learn their craft. Urban design is a practice that is best learned when students are able to confront specific and concrete problems and work to create real and practical solutions. The urban re-imaging also works to enrich the body of knowledge about the practice of urban design. Research conducted through centers and universities across the country is aimed at expanding our understanding, not only of the practice of urban design in general, but also about specific places, sites, neighborhoods, and districts in our city-region. For example, the work of the Urban Design Project, founded in 1990 by Professor Robert G. Shibley, and located in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, has encompassed faculty consultations, student studio projects, and supervised thesis investigations dealing with sites from Niagara Falls to Buffalo to Jamestown and engaging institutional partners including Buffalo Place Inc., The City of Buffalo, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, The City of Niagara Falls, and Chautauqua County government.

One big question that arises in the minds of people when they hear about urban re-imaging is: What is the importance of promotion for the success of these cultural projects (the urban revitalization programs)? Promotion is the thing that is undertaken with clear intent to influence the behavior of target groups in a predetermined way. The aim of promotion is no more ambitious than to assert the existence of the town or country that might otherwise have remained unconsidered by an undifferentiated potential market. Although promotion is a communication activity, not all communication is necessarily promotion. Place-image promotion should be seen as one planning instrument within the market-planning process as a whole, and used in preference to or in combination with other non-market oriented place-management techniques as appropriate. This means that there is always a need for selectivity within public planning agencies whether to apply a place-marketing concept or to refrain from it. The world becomes smaller and more the same. City marketing spreads rapidly and cities start to compete. They try to distinguish themselves from the other cities, by selling a good image. Cities use publicity and marketing to communicate selective images of specific geographical localities. They have different ways to do this. A lot of cities start to re-image their place. Urban re-imaging strategies have come to be seen as important in the repertoire of policy responses to a range of socio-economic problems afflicting the modern city. The problems derive from a variety of sources, in particular major processes of change in societal structure, in ideological climate, and in the role of the state vis-à-vis the market. Major cities that grew as the command centers of traditional industrialization also look to promotional activity in facing up to their post-industrial futures. As such, they often attempt to reinvest themselves. Their redundant docks, warehouses and factory districts are turned into post-modern living and working experiences, sometimes also recycling dereliction into heritage in an attempt to tap the tourist market. Looking at Canada, and especially the region around the Niagara River. Right now we consider this river as a boundary that divides two nations. To improve the urban imagery, we start thinking of it as the center of one bi-national...
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