I WAS ON TV TO TALK ABOUT BIG IDEAS I didn’t even barf on-air or anything. Thanks to Global TV’s Morning Show for having me; here’s the video.
That was nice of them: The Canadian Urban Institute’s new report about Canadian cities’ downtowns [PDF] uses the highrise construction map I made back in November to demonstrate that, as they put it on page 88, “downtown Toronto is attracting many new high rise towers, particularly in the south western quadrant of the core.” Very true! (Over at OpenFile, John Michael McGrath pulled a few other interesting things from the report.)
But hey, speaking of tall buildings: how many are actually being built, right now, in Toronto? The correct answer is both “a whole lot” and “more than anywhere else in the world, thanks,” but beyond that, it gets complicated. I’ve read a million news articles over the last year that make some mention of how many highrises this city has under construction, but the number’s always lower—by a hundred or so—than the 239 I ended up counting six months ago.
When you measure a number like that matters, of course, but what it really seems to depend on is what you call a “highrise.” I went with the City of Toronto’s definition: seven storeys and up. But everyone else seems to be using whatever construction research company Emporis says, and their definition of a “highrise” is weird: it only covers buildings between 12 and 40 storeys tall. If a building’s taller than that, it’s called a “skyscraper,” not a highrise, and doesn’t count in their totals. Whether a not an 11-storey building’s a highrise is something to argue about, but a 44-storey building should probably count as one, and when someone writes an article about the boom of highrise construction in Toronto, they probably don’t mean to exclude from their count the buildings that actually rise the highest.
Not that my methodology of using active building permits and shoring permits was perfect, either, and I’m sure that the number I came up with has changed since I measured it. But, Toronto, please, when you want to brag about how many tall buildings we have, err on the side of bigger.
TORONTO THE BETTER This week’s cover story of The Grid is, oh hey, mine and Katie Underwood’s! It’s thirty-four big ideas to make Toronto better, from thirty-four of Toronto’s smartest people. Plus, if you think you can do better (and what are you, some kinda hot shot?!), we want to hear your idea, too.
A few days back, the National Post published a review online of The Raven, the new, widely panned movie starring John Cusack as
a raven Edgar Allen Poe. The review, written by Chris Knight—well, it’s pretty wonderful, composed as it is in trochaic octameter, the same meter that Poe wrote “The Raven” in:
In a cinema quite darkened where the trailers have you hearken
To some new enticement of the cinematic lore
All at once you’ll feel a zapping of some force – your will it’s sapping!
But you’ll stay although the film you see is something of a bore.
Even with John Cusack starring it is something of a bore.
’Tis The Raven; nothing more.
You are applauding, and I am with you. But—oh! horror!—oh! any horror but this!—towards the end of Knight’s review, there’s a line that includes notes (to a copy editor? from Knight? inserted by some kind of publishing program?) that aren’t for readers to see, and that do that thing that most bad errors do, which is suck the reader right out of what they were reading.