A recent article in The Globe and Mail described a new kind of upscale restaurant in San Francisco, where patrons fill out a form indicating their menu choices, gather up their plates and cutlery, pick up their beverages at the bar and head to their table to await the food. This is no cafeteria – it’s the response of some restaurateurs to the reality that they can’t find people willing to work for a server’s wage in a city where housing costs have pushed out all but the highest earners.
And it’s hardly an isolated case. From New York City (where large swathes of retail space on Broadway are boarded up because the small businesses that used to occupy them can no longer afford the rents) to London (where privately owned plazas and squares masquerade as public space but are really controlled by property companies) to Toronto and Vancouver (where home ownership is largely a pipe dream for most young people and newcomers), a crisis of diversity and opportunity is emerging worldwide.
But is the situation beyond fixing? If our cities are on the point of becoming the exclusive playgrounds of the mega-wealthy, what can we do to ensure that housing and public space are available to everyone? And how do we maintain dynamic retail, restaurant and cultural scenes in the face of skyrocketing rents and taxes?
Join our illustrious lineup of urban thinkers, architects and designers at OCAD University in Toronto for a solutions-based discussion on how to build the flexibility and opportunities needed to create a city that makes room for diversity.
Moderated by Danny Sinopoli, AZURE’s editor-in-chief, the panel will include a who’s who from the front lines of inclusive urban design: Gregory Henriquez of Henriquez Partners Architects in Vancouver, Meg Graham of superkül in Toronto, Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants Inc. and Antonio Gomez-Palacio of Dialog.
Through individual presentations and a group discussion, each will lay out his or her views on the problems with today’s cities – and how good planning and design can go a long way toward solving them.
Tickets for AZURE Talks are available here for $20. This lecture qualifies for one ConEd structured learning hour (a certificate will be provided upon request, post-event, by email).