Mabelle Neighbourhood has potential. And Prof. Arlene Gould led her group of Environmental Studies students in a charrette to show what could be done. As I approach the Fall semester with my own students at University of Guelph, I was revved by the enthusiasm of these undergrads.
Toronto Councilor Peter Milczyn found his way to the event despite having spent the past 27 hours in the well publicized all-nighter Executive Committee meeting. That action, in itself, expressed the importance of this neighbourhood review.
The result will be a report from the students but with the assistance of various architects, interior designers and landscape architects. Mabelle is a high rise aging neighbourhood north of the Islington TTC subway station. The needs included:
- permeability of access for the residents within and to surrounding commercial and employment destinations. This included gateway identifiers and more direct access to TTC;
- recognition of the diversity of the cultural and age demographics. The community has been through waves of different immigrants and contains old and young alike.
- expansion of the already successful art theming of the Islington BIA. The murals have become an attraction for the commercial neighbourhood. The residential community could introduce art into the buildings and open spaces.
- organized open space that allows safe, secure and climate-protected places to gather.
- funding by allowing landowners to intensify their sites in exchange for the coordinated and permeable open public spaces of the community.
The analysis by the students was excellent, buoyed by the enthusiastic support from the invited professionals. Good experience for the community that reaps the benefits and for the students who were educated, amongst other things, in group dynamics.