Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ticky tacky boxes

My main drag
London, ON, April 2008 [Click to enlarge]
About this photo: Thematic Photographic explores urban this week. Please click here to participate. In the meantime, Carmi explores the intricacies of the Jewish New Year (5770, if anyone's counting) and is otherwise happily occupied with family, friends, personal reflection and a whole lot of eating. Thank you, Google, for implementing forward-timed entries. Back live Sunday eve.
Dundas Street runs east-west from the river that defines the midpoint of our city right out to, and beyond, the eastern edge of town. While it eventually turns into a bucolic regional highway that rolls through staggeringly beautiful farmland, this stretch of it is known as the spine of London's long-suffering downtown core, a street that used to be a magnet for the region, but is now struggling to overcome decades of suburban flight, botched urban planning and endless political small mindedness.

In so many respects, this road is little different than similar ones in other major - or even minor - cities anywhere on the planet. Except this one's in my town, and the never-ending discussion of what to do about it has colored my life here since the day I moved here. I so wish I could roll up my sleeves and fix it.

Troubled as it is, Dundas Street still possesses the capacity for hidden beauty. Walking along on a bright Sunday morning, it's easy to forget about the difficulties that plague this place. The storied facades that could tell us so many stories stand proud against a streetscape that's waiting for someone to write its next chapter. All we need to do is take the time to look and listen.

On this morning, I'm glad I did just that. I hope you are, too.

Your turn: Urban renewal. Please discuss.


Rinkly Rimes said...

Another Orphan area here:

NJ said...

I always find it interesting that dundas street runs straight through from Toronto to Napanee where I live. I don' t believe there is a Dundas street in Kingston but I know there is in Belleville and Toronto and it all connects.

Unknown said...

A very thought-provoking post, Carmi about buildings that have much history and charm awaiting someone with the desire and resources. It an certainly happen! Very positive!!!

G. Harrison said...

The misguided momentum our planners have created by accommodating and committing to sprawl for 40 - 60 years may not be able to be slowed in our lifetime. How can we save the core when our borders relentlessly expand outward for no good reason?

Coincidentally, 30 seconds before reading your insightful piece, I posted 'Deforest City Blues: We shoulda thought of this sooner' back at my wee space -



CP said...

From a Quebecer : Lovely to see Canadian Flags hanging proudly!!!

bobbie said...

The narrow houses are rather charming. But I can't imagine living inside one. I remember a friend's apartment in the city. "Railroad rooms" each one leading to the next. And she raised 5 boys there! Just can't imagine it.

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

urban renewal?
there's a lot of it around here..

It used to be buildings that disappeared into empty blocks,
Now it's whole streets suddenly not there anymore.
Plays havoc with getting around in the north east of manchester these days- whole areas....suddenly gone. Landmarks I'd judged turnings by (for the past two years) obliterated.

It's all very disorientating and not at all easy.
I have "views" on all this....kinda love/hate really.
Just a shame the original folk are nt around to be a part of the new stuff....

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this photo. I also love streets and downtown areas like this. So much potential. If enough people are willing to see it will work again someday.

Our tiny town has had a revival of sorts. A gov't grant helped renew the downtown square, which brought in new business (which, thankfully, kept with the theme of yesteryear). Things can get better.

Mojo said...

There's a Dundas Street by one name or another in virtually every city in the world. And in some cities, that seems to be all there is. This photo reminds me a lot of the one I posted in v.20 of the Urban theme, and Bethlehem, PA is one of those places that's full of Dundas Streets.

And in some places, the "jewel of the night" is, by the cold light of day, just a rock. Maybe a pretty rock, but just a rock. Which is sort of where I was going with this offering:
Thematic Photographic 67: "Urban" v.4.0 - The Difference Between Night and Day