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Renderings that scare

This morning I was reading about an anti-development activist group in Vancouver that’s trying to fight the Bjarke Ingels designed Beach and Howe Tower.

Here’s a “rendering” of the project that the group is using to galvanize the community:

And here’s an official rendering of the project:

I’ve seen this tactic used before here in Toronto for the Minto Midtown towers at Yonge & Eglinton. These were highly controversial towers and someone in the community created a depiction showing 2 large monolithic black towers (meant to represent the TD Towers downtown).

Now, I’ll be the first to say that renderings are abused from both sides of the table. Developers obviously want to represent their projects in the best possible light and upset communities try and do the exact opposite. But where I do become concerned is when communities start to form opinions and make decisions based on rumours and rhetoric, rather than fact. 

We should be having intelligent conversations about the future of our neighbourhoods and communities. And I think the best way to do that—as well as to counteract potentially unnecessary NIBYMism—is to ensure that the correct information is out there and that it’s widely accessible. Transparency is king. This often scares developers, but I believe that the benefits of openness greatly outweigh the negatives. 

Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of architect Bjarke Ingels. I’m openly jealous that Vancouver could be getting one of his designs before Toronto does.

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