First Canadian CNU chapter launches in Ontario
New urbanism has reached the Great White North: a group of architects and planners in Ontario are close to reaching the fifty-member requirement to become an official CNU chapter.
“There’s been some support locally for new urbanism since the 1997 international CNU conference in Toronto,” says urban designer Eldon Theodore, MUDS, MCIP, RPP, LEED AP of MHBC in Ontario. “A lot of grassroots involvement came together over the past couple of years to become official.”
Adrian Cammaert is chair of the nascent Chapter, and in a recent writeup in Novae res Urbis (a new publication out of Toronto), Cammaert said that Ontario already promotes many aspects of good urbanism. “These concepts of smart growth, transit-oriented development, mixed-use, compact communities, promoting neighbourhood centres and edges – all of those are fundamental components of new urbanism,” he explains. Cammaert also has a string of credits to his name, including a CNU-A accreditation.
“New urbanism flows into everything we do,” adds Theodore. “I see CNU as an organization that can add a much-needed voice to the Ontario landscape. There is some great work happening in the States that we can learn from, such as excellent examples of transit-oriented development. But we’re also doing some great things in Canada that we can share with CNU. We hope that we can encourage a sharing of ideas.”
The Ontario CNU group hopes to become a full chapter before CNU 22 in Buffalo. Cammaert says that one of the first orders of business for the Chapter will be to identify what is a uniquely Canadian form of new urbanism. “As the design principles get absorbed into the mainstream, we see a lot of projects that reflect new urbanist ideas. As a chapter, we want to work to push the envelope further and really address what we can do better and what is particular to Ontario.”
Note: This article is in the April-May 2013 print edition of Better! Cities & Towns.