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Book Review

Cities as Crucibles – Reflections on Canada’s Urban Future

Cities as Crucibles – Reflections on Canada’s Urban Future

by François Lapointe
“What makes some cities great and others just ordinary? How can we make sure that we are doing our best to shape Canada’s cities so that they are wonderful places to live and work for people who are poor or rich, young or old, recently-arrived or First Nations? How can we get governments – at all levels – to work together with common purpose to address the challenges of our cities today and in the future? “Cities as Crucibles – Reflections on Canada’s Urban Future” is full of case studies and illustrations that make the “urban agenda” come to life. Drawing from his experience in both the municipal and federal government sectors, François Lapointe argues convincingly for new models of collaboration, better decision-making within and between governments, and above all, for re-designing the platforms for citizen engagement. Like a good urban planner, Lapointe forces us to think long-term and beyond the boundaries of our individual urban realities, while at the same time, grounding us in issues that are both immediate and local.” Marni Cappe, MCIP, RPP

Table of Contents


Preface – Why These Reflections?

Introduction – Why Do Cities and Urban Governance Matter for Canada?

Part I – What Do We See? 

Chapter 1 – Changing Cities

Leading Practices: The Canadian Healthy Communities Project

Chapter 2 – Some Emerging Issues and Questions for Cities

Viewpoint: Promoting the Long View

Chapter 3 – The Evolving Context for Cities

Leading Practices: Bio-climactic Urbanism – Profiling the work of Norman Pressman

Part II – What Does It Tell Us? 

Chapter 4 – Key Considerations for an Urban Agenda

Viewpoint: Repositioning Strategies in Urbanism

Leading Practices: Heritage Rehabilitation – The Lachine Canal in Montreal

Viewpoint: Thinking Strategically about Transportation 

Chapter 5 – Window on the Future of Canadian Cities

Leading Practices: The Vancouver Experience

Leading Practices: Planning for Future Generations – Canada’s Capital Region

Part III – What Do We Need To Do About It? 

Chapter 6 – Start with a Vision…

Viewpoint: Reframing the Grand Vision

Leading Practices: Visioning in a Contemporary Context – Hamilton Vision 2020

Chapter 7 – Five Themes for Action

Chapter 8 – Urban Agenda: Connections

Leading Practices: Addressing Contemporary Urban Development Challenges – Profiling the Work of Avi Friedman

Viewpoint: Speaking Truth to Power

Viewpoint: Making Inter-Professional Exchange Happen

Chapter 9 – Urban Agenda: Resources 

Viewpoint: Breaking Down Administrative Silos

Leading Practices: Creative Urbanism – Toronto Kings Area

Chapter 10 – Urban Agenda: Generations 

Viewpoint: Fostering Professional Succession

Chapter 11 – Urban Agenda: Collaboration 

Viewpoint: Leading Inter-Governmental Dialogue

Leading Practices: Inter-Governmental Collaboration – Western Canada Tripartite Agreements

Chapter 12– Urban Agenda: Institutions 

Leading Practices: Planning for First Nations Communities

Viewpoint: Working Collaboratively with Politicians

Chapter 13 – Getting On Canadians’ Radar Screens

Viewpoint: Steering Controversial Initiatives

Viewpoint: Advocating for a Planning constituency

Chapter 14 – Pulling It All Together

Conclusion – Why Am I Cautiously Optimistic?

Postface – My Ideal Canadian City


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