I attended the launch of the Liveable Ottawa consultation on January 29, 2013.
The next step, and an important one, is for everyone to fill out the online survey. This will be a big input to support the planning direction of the city.
Go to ottawa.ca/liveableottawa and click “Complete our survey” (link is currently in the upper right).
I liked the presentation by Dr. David L. Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, Region of Peel, setting urban design in the context of health. He said we have learned from the health trends (physical activity, obesity and diabetes) that we have designed all effort out of our daily lives. We need to restore routine activity (walking to school, cycling to work, taking the stairs) as part of daily life.
I also liked the presentation by Colin Simpson on the Transportation Master Plan themes (including the Pedestrian Plan and the Cycling Plan). Lots of good ideas about measuring better, and measuring more things. Measuring pedestrian, cycling and transit level of service will have a huge impact on how we plan our roads and buildings.
Neither presentation is online yet but you can get a sense of the Transportation directions by looking at the display boards for the Transportation Master Plan.
Overall I think the direction is good. Changing what we measure is a key element of changing the results we get. For decades we have been measuring only traffic level of service, which is based only on maximizing the flow of cars. Measuring the flow of humans, and designing roads not for peak hour but for average of three peak hours, will be a huge step in the right direction.