Reducing our carbon footprint by investing in architecture.

The recent news that Ottawa is looking to spend a billion dollars on a fleet of electric buses is welcome news. The urban built environment is responsible for about 75% of annual GHG emissions, with buildings accounting for 39% of the total emissions. Converting our public transit system to a zero GHG emissions target is …

Ottawa’s Porsche dealership debacle shows there’s a better way to incentivize desirable urban developments.

“The city should encourage investment in our communities,” writes Architects DCA president Toon Dreessen.  It is easy to lambaste the city council for approving a $2.9 million tax break to a luxury car dealership in one of Ottawa’s poorest communities.   Awarded through a program aimed at incentivizing development in target areas including Vanier, the move …

Letter to the Editor: Contract Fairness

We need to eliminate procurement contract conditions that are unfair and get back to public contracts that are fair and balanced. The basis of a contract is that there is a fair exchange. Usually, this is money for a service or product. When you order a coffee at your local coffee shop, there is an …

Permission for Fun

Ottawa has long held a reputation as a place that fun forgot. People who live here know that there is a lot to love about the city: its history, the Rideau Canal, proximity to parks and rivers, excellent museums and galleries, all of which make Ottawa a great place. More spontaneous fun things are harder …

Putting Ottawa’s Public Properties To Better Use

With a little creativity, government-owned land can help increase affordable housing and enhance our community. In January 2020, the City of Ottawa declared a housing emergency. Tackling this complex problem requires a range of initiatives. But one of the most accessible strategies involves rethinking how publicly owned land can be used to maximize its value to …

How To Achieve A Fair Procurement Process

A level playing field makes for a solid foundation for infrastructure. Procurement, through a Request for Proposal (RFP), is how architects and engineers are hired to design Canada’s infrastructure. This includes exciting new museums and libraries but also the day-to-day infrastructure for offices, renovations, roof rehabilitation, barrier-free washroom upgrades, and thousands of regular projects. But …

Build Us Up: Embracing Social Infrastructure

Our physical infrastructure supports a social infrastructure, which is why design industries need to be involved in those conversations. When people talk about spending to stimulate the economy, governments are often quick to turn to “shovel ready” projects. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the CanInfra Challenge, we have an infrastructure deficit in the …

How Public Washrooms Make For A More Welcoming City

Creating a welcoming environment is no easy task for small businesses. Finding the right space, fitting up the location, and attracting customers are typically top-of-mind concerns. The old real estate saying, “location, location, location” is very true. If your business needs regular clientele walking past your doorway, you need to be in the right place. …