Vol. 41, No. 2 (2013)
Publication Date: 2013-05-06
Number of articles: 11
This paper looks at the mutations of urban mobility and practices of consumption in Quebec lower-class neighbourhoods from 1930 to 1980 in a perspective combining everyday practices, citizens' requests and urban planning. It is based on a case study of Saint-Sauveur, a neighbourhood located in Quebec City. We analyze the evolution of the city's and neighbourhood's experience related with mobility and consumption, and also the citizens requests and the reactions of the planning institutions resulting from that evolution. By using oral history, we show that the increased use of the automobile transformed the experience of consumption around 1960 by redefining the relationship of Saint-Sauveur's inhabitants—used until then to walk—to proximity and physical accessibility. The projects of Quebec City's planning institutions resulting from the new context created by that redefinition, highly influenced by a favourable prejudice toward car, met on some points citizen's opposition. Nevertheless, the interventions of these institutions paved the way to a durable transformation of the structure of this old lower-class neighbourhood and, consequently, of the neighbourhood life, a transformation accepted by a large part of its inhabitants.
Between 1890 and 1910, the town of Berlin, Ontario, adopted special-purpose bodies, such as water commissions and park boards, with enthusiasm. Why did Berlin's civic leaders respond to these institutions so enthusiastically? This paper suggests that internal diffusion, fuelled by an argument about municipal capacity, was at work in Berlin at the time. The paper also critically examines two alternative explanations for the town's enthusiasm, one grounded in Wilsonian reform, and the other in elite self-insulation.
This paper examines the discourse Gerald Sutton Brown, the director of the newly created Vancouver Department of Planning, employed between 1953 and 1959. Amidst rapid urbanization and suburbanization, changes in local state governance, and wider debate over the urban future, Sutton Brown began speaking in public to popularize his vision of planning. He regularly compared planning to business, medicine, science, and politics. I argue that his co-optation of language, images, and metaphors drawn from more established professions promoted planning projects and asserted the authority of the planning profession. However, Sutton Brown's rhetorical strategy obscured and depoliticized many of the realities of his high modernist planning program. Even if his discourse proved relatively ineffectual in the face of financial, political, and practical constraints, his rhetoric was important because it demonstrated one way that high modernist ideas could be mobilized to promote significant urban change.