Thursday, July 14, 2005

Not so far from the madding crowd

McGill College Avenue in downtown Montreal is a not-very-long street that, when I was a kid, sat at the center of a huge controversy over urban renewal and what constituted effective street design. Developers duked it out with city hall over what the streetscape would/should look like, what kind of buildings would hover over it, and ultimately how regular everyday people would interact with it all.

As a child-newspaper-addict, I voraciously followed the debate, then watched the street come alive as I grew through my teens and went to school in that very part of town.

The road eventually became a broad boulevard with lots of cool features at street level. It's a great place to walk around, and it continues to resonate in my mind long after I moved far, far away.

This is one of my favorite sculptures along one of my favorite urban roads. I'm not quite sure what it's saying, but it's definitely speaking to me.

Your turn 1: Describe your ideal urban environment. What does the street look like? Why does it work?

Your turn 2: Sorry, I couldn't decide on just one, so you get two tonight! What do you see in this crowd scene? In one sentence, please describe what you think is happening to the left of this image. Virtually, of course, because what's really happening to the left of this picture is traffic. Quebec driver-traffic. The scariest kind. But I ramble. Again. Your turn...


CanEragon said...

Now Now Carmi, McGill College is quite nice, from top to bottom. Lots of Terraces, and places to sit. It is also an area that us now used fpr art diplays and each year there is an earth summit on that space, with pics from all oevr the world.

Sculpture (Montreal Les Gens )if i had a sculpture's name, i could research your question further.

Im not sure what they are looking at. But I am going down there tonight because Indigo is right at that corner. So tomorrow I might have some real info on that piece.

Mcgill College is somewhat not as crazy as it used to be, the city is encouraging drivers to stay out of the downtown core to cut down on traffic and to use public transport.

If more of downtown could become more like Old Montreal, as in Place Jacque Cartier, with less traffic that would be nice, with a few more green spaces as well. alas, downtown montreal is a cpncrete canyon. It's noisy and stinks and the sidewalks are always dirty!

sad... it needs to be cleaned up.


Mark A. Rayner said...

My guess: a clown on fire riding a basilisk.

Jef said...

Living in a historic neighborhood, I'm leery of developers. Two in particular have had opportunities to renovate ugly eyesores into buildings that would fit in with our 19th century arts & craft style homes, but instead redid them as monstrosities of metal and glass. I don't frequent the businesses in those buildings.

I quite like what the city is doing with the streetscape in East Atlanta Village. They've installed benches and old-time lightposts and widened the sidewalks. It's a nice visual respite from the surroundings and I can see why the NY Times wrote an article about it. The bonus is that my partner is opening a bookstore there as well, so I'm sure we'll benefit from that as a result.

In image #2, it looks as if the crowd is watching someone who is about to jump off a building. I hope that doesn't make me an alarmist.

Meredith said...

Let's see. My ideal urban setting is Tokyo. It's not one area but the massive, sprawling organization and quiet respect for space the city demands. Even the homeless live in well-kempt and intricate cardboard neighborhoods.

As for the statue. With all the folks a bit dolled up and older looking it makes me think of a train pulling away except they're standing in the wrong kind of line for the unless the train had just turned. I like it much.

PureMood said...

Happy Potter book store just opened! LOL

Thankfully, I'm not into Harry Potter - that's just a thought I had after visiting with Humor Girl and seein' he bookstore pics! ;)

Cheers - from Michele's again.

PureMood said...

Just wanted to bring you a smile... I hope you're havin' a fantasic day :)

BTW that should be Harry not Happy in the above comment... see the happy cheer took over my brain.

I'm just passing time while my Dad and my son race ATV's on the PS2


Mrs. Fun said...

sorry to tired *yawn* for the first one.
#2, i see a crowd watching a parade, i love the children. Not very many statues of children.

michelle sent me ;)