Exuberant Cities, a project initiated by Glen Murray (past CUI president, presently the Minister of Research and Innovation) and Glenn Miller (a vice-president of education and research) during my summer internship, was envisioned as a book or social media (blogs, web-sites etc.) serial documenting changes in Canadian city structures in the past 100 years.
My task was to work independently to a) conceptualize what the initial publication might include; b) research the market and find what has been published already, and by whom; c) to skim through the CUI archive (it was also an initiation into a much larger project completed later on involving revamp of the entire, 20+ years of, archive); d) to find relevant, original CUI’s articles to be compiled into possible anthologies, and finally, e) to skim the web and see if similar projects have been completed already, and if some lessons can be learned.
I do not have a background in urban planning but I do love architecture, thus I have a a tendency to evaluate and measure degrees of combined beauty and practicality of structures. It was also an opportunity to brush up on all of the Jane Jacobs, to finally finish the GreenTopia and all other urbanites-targeted, Coach House, must-read Toronto books. The outcome of it suppose to be a presentation including a project management to help determine further direction.
During the process it occurred to me that not one but two series need to be produced.
One, certainly, focusing on cities exuberance but also another one describing a power of resilience. It seemed there are two different streams or pulses: one is a Yang, masculine, outwardly motioned as in cities thriving in historically “good times”; another is an Yin, an inwardly movement, based on endurance of cities preserving through some hardship and difficulties. It also became apparent (to me, at least) that resilience is a key to survival (although this statement would require a lengthy and separate discussion on how resilience contributes to our social welfare).
Never the less, the presentation was completed on time but the destiny of the publication is still unknown. I do hope that somebody else will pick up on it.
We need to understand more deeply what our cities, the primary type of dwelling the world humanity lives in, are all about.
In due time, I guess.