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Celebrating 30 Years of the Mac: A Triumph for City Builders?

Posted on February 11, 2014
Written by Glenn Miller
Thirty years ago this January, Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh—the first mass-market personal computer. The Mac was a compact beige box that allowed high-tech neophytes like myself instant access to the world of word processing and more. It was on one of those early Macs that I wrote the script for a short corporate video for Marathon Realty in 1987—literally the first time I had ever touched a computer. A lot has happened in the intervening decades—to the City of Toronto as well as computers. I am writing this blog on a paper-thin Apple laptop [...]

What Snow Tells Us About Urban Design

Posted on February 7, 2014
Massive snowfalls may provide a glimpse into the inefficiencies designed into our transport networks. In response, North Americans are using the snow, and Twitter with the #sneckdownhashtag (a combination of "snow" and "neckdown," another name for a curb expansion), to show how roads and sidewalks could take vehicle-made snow patterns into consideration when reconsidering how to approach urban design. During this week's massive snowstorm, ReNew Canada publisher Todd Latham took to the chilly streets of downtown Toronto and photographed the following at Adelaide [...]

VIDEO: Crocheted Locomotive

Posted on February 4, 2014
Written by
Polish artist Olek has just completed work on what may be her largest piece ever: a four-car locomotive covered in crocheted yarn in Lodz, Poland. The eye-catching project was completed over a four-day period, working tirelessly with four assistants until the technicolor train emerged.   [...]

Investing in Ourselves

Posted on January 9, 2014
Written by Chris Loreto and J.C. Bourque
Canadian governments at all levels are facing an increasing state of disrepair in important public infrastructure. The 2012 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card estimates that, on average, 30 per cent of municipal infrastructure (water, wastewater, stormwater, and road systems) is in fair or worse condition, with an estimated replacement cost of more than $170 billion. This same report also laments the inability of governments to properly monitor and manage their infrastructure assets. Years of under-investment combined with a fundamental lack of asset management [...]

Municipalities Must Take Lead in Energy Planning

Posted on December 4, 2013
Written by Rick Goldring
In Canada, we often take for granted that energy is widely available. Whether we are turning on our lights, heating and cooling our homes, or fueling our vehicles, energy is everywhere. Energy is central to our lives—it is a high profile commodity and the subject of daily newscasts, headlines, and water-cooler conversations. We do seem to take notice, however, when there is a spike in costs, a brownout, or a severe storm that knocks out power. As well, the world oil market is more volatile than ever and prices have increased due to higher production [...]

There Will Be Casualties

Posted on November 15, 2013
This fall, I attended Meeting of the Minds in Toronto, an engaging conference that is a TED Talk cross-bred with urban resilience. The event prides itself on thought leadership, and it had the minds both on stage and in the audience to back it up. The air was electric, and as a relative newbie to the infrastructure game, I found it  enlightening. MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago, led one of the first sessions. While she may be from a big city, Barrett said that when she sees smart places (regardless of their size) [...]

Day 2: APWA Congress in Chicago

Posted on August 28, 2013
Written by Todd Latham
The Canadians are here! The Canadians are here! For more than 100 years, the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition has drawn thousands of public works professionals from all over the world. And in 2014, the congress is coming to Toronto—the first time it has been held outside of the United States since it was last in Toronto in 1988. ReNew was on location in Chicago to cover all the goings on. Paul Smeltzer (pictured at podium), chair of next year’s expo, announced aggressive sponsorship and attendance goals for the 2014 event [...]

Day 1: APWA Congress in Chicago

Posted on August 27, 2013
Written by Todd Latham
For more than 100 years, the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition has drawn thousands of public works professionals from all over the world. ReNew was on location in Chicago to cover all the goings on. Darwin Durnie, president of the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA), lead a morning session that updated delegates from across North America on issues and advocacy for infrastructure in Canada. He spoke of the important progress CPWA and member chapters have made (and continue to make) with the federal government to ensure long [...]

Video: Rapid Bridge Replacements

Posted on August 5, 2013
Written by André Voshart
Rapid bridge replacement is an innovative technology that allows bridges to be replaced in a matter of hours instead of months. The state-of-the-art technology lifts out the old bridge and then replaces it with a new one that was constructed nearby. This method reduces costs, improves site safety, helps the environment, minimizes traffic disruption and gets traffic flowing sooner. [...]

Remembering Tony Coombes: 1937-2013

Posted on August 1, 2013
Written by Glenn Miller
My favourite piece of urban art is the Metropolitan Indicators poster created by the Neptis Foundation. Each of the 16 metropolitan areas on the poster is meticulously drawn at the same scale, illustrating their relative size and, by extension, providing insights into fundamental differences between the way that European and North American cities grow and evolve. The back story on the effort that went into producing the poster—a project that took more than two years of painstaking research, review, and endless redrafting—is in many ways a perfect [...]
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