Forget NIMBYs, it’s All About YIMBYs

housing

Anybody engaged with civic action knows the prevalence of NIMBYism, those people who say ‘Not in my Backyard’ and try to stop any progress good or bad. This attitude of blocking anything has led to some cities being left behind while other cities leap ahead. Recently Toronto has seen a rise of people who chant the opposite of No. The ‘Yes in my Backyard’ movemnet is rising and YIMBYism is taking off!

YIMBYs as a whole recognize a simple truth: If we want more people to have housing, we need to build more housing. To that end, they campaign for the reduction or removal of various supply constraints—namely, those land use rules that enshrine the sanctity of the single-family, detached home at the cost of what’s recently been dubbed the “missing middle.”

They want to see more housing built. They want to see market prices fall. They want Toronto to be more Tokyo than Manhattan, more Houston than San Francisco.

Ultimately, they want young people to be able to participate in homeownership and to preserve Toronto as a city for all—not merely as a playground for the rich. And they’re gaining steam.

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How Pressure from Pedestrians and Cyclists Make Better Cities

Depending on where you live you may think streets are for people or for cars. The correct answer is that streets are for moving people and not built for the need of inanimate objects. In an interesting series of videos the Toronto Star’s Christopher Hume examines the different urban design decisions between suburban and urban neighbourhoods. The urban areas that promote cycling and walking are understandably the most vibrant, interesting, and productive (economically and culturally). The impact non-car uses can have on streets is evident and something that every city can benefit from.

Unsurprisingly, Toronto’s most vibrant streets — Queen, College, Bloor — are generally narrow car-slowing thoroughfares lined with unspectacular buildings between two and six storeys tall — hardly the stuff of vehicular convenience. The major interruptions in these mostly intact streetscapes are largely the result of clumsy modern interventions beginning in the 1950s and ’60s. Decades later in what’s now Vertical City, we still have difficulty making buildings work at street level. Architects are slowly learning, but have yet to master the skills of contextualism. They prefer the silence of the vacuum and ignore the public realm whenever possible.

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First Nations Reserves Across Canada to get Toronto Library Cards

books

A fantastic way to share stories and knowledge is through books and public library systems. Unfortunately too many indigenous reserves and communities in Canada don’t have access to a library, which is having a negative impact on knowledge sharing. The Toronto Public Library system will be extending their library services to indigenous communities as part of their Truth and Reconciliation process.

Library services are sparse on Ontario reserves. Of the province’s 207 reserves, only 46 have a library. The average annual budget for each is only $15,000.

Doucette explains that libraries are all about sharing, and this is an easy way for Toronto to do its part. “I think whenever possible we should step up to the plate,” she said.

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3 Things You Can do Now to Improve Your Life

work and smile

Happiness is an elusive thing – one can never have enough and striving for it makes it unattainable. We all want happiness in our, so how can we achieve a happier life? The most obvious answer is to “live in the now” and be thankful for what you have, but there are other things you can do too. These other three things will not only help you be happier they will generally improve your life! SO, if you want to improve your life do these three things:

  1. Talk in person.
  2. Put away your mobile.
  3. Have meaningful goals.

Chasing meaning, not happiness, is what really matters
The quest for happiness doesn’t make us happy. In fact, Emily Esfahani Smith realized that constantly evaluating our own happiness is actually contributing to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Happiness is a fickle emotion, fleeting, based on a moment or an experience. What’s really making us feel sad is not a lack of happiness, it’s lack of meaning, she said.

Smith, author of the new book “The Power of Meaning,” said that after five years of interviewing hundreds of people, she discovered that meaning can be derived in four forms: belonging, purpose, transcendence and storytelling.

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Cats Actually Like Humans

cat

It might seem that your cat dosen’t care about you, but that’s not the case. After years of false allegations that cats don’t care about humans we know have empirical evidence that the opposite is true. Cats actually like humans!

Researchers at Oregon State University offered 38 cats a choice between food, a toy, an interesting smell (catnip, a gerbil) and attention from a human.

Thirty-seven percent preferred food to anything else. Eleven percent liked toys, and one cat was preoccupied with the smells of catnip and gerbils.

But 19 of them — half! — preferred the company of humans above all, choosing them over other entertainment possibilities.

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