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Wednesday , 29 March 2017

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Today’s parks symbols of urban vitality, prosperity

A certain well-known Toronto realtor’s opinions aside, there are actually quite a few new parks being built in the city, funded in part by the development charges builders are required to pay. In fact, this summer alone, the city has opened the spectacular new West Don Lands park called Corktown Common, a new park for the Regent Park community, a new bike park at Sunnyside, and a new public park in front of the Don Jail at Broadview and Gerrard (coming soon). Developers in Toronto are required to provide park space, or cash in lieu, as a condition of development, as specified in the Municipal Code. It is because of ... Read More »

Danes testing street lights as smart city infrastructure

If you were a city planner with a desire to maximize your ability to monitor your city’s consumption of resources as well as the movement of its population, what kind of infrastructure would you need to install to achieve these goals? None at all, if your city already has street lighting. The average city’s thousands of street lights and poles, lining every street and lane, are ready made for the job. A group called the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab, or DOLL, is setting up experimental lighting areas in the city of Copenhagen to test future LED lighting that will focus on “smart city solutions.” More than two dozen companies are ... Read More »

Country’s condo markets have reasonable outlook: report

“Reasonable” is the reassuring word for the Canadian condominium market’s outlook in the coming year or so. Two of Canada’s most trusted voices, the Conference Board of Canada and Genworth Canada, the latter being the country’s largest private residential mortgage insurer, teamed up to produce a report on the eight largest condo markets in Canada, and they see mostly smooth sailing ahead. There may be “pockets of higher risk,” but the condo market is no bubble, and there will be no “broad-based national housing downturn.” The reasons for the “relative optimism” of the report are familiar. The economy, though not performing brilliantly in the past two years, is expected to ... Read More »

Headache? Check your cosmetics and cleaning products labels

The sheer number of potentially harmful substances that surround us is staggering, and more and more are added regularly. Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan recently announced that it had gathered new information on 1,340 of 2,700 substances present in consumer products, including food, household cleaners and cosmetics, and children’s toys. The information will be used to update the existing inventory of substances as part of Environment Canada’s ongoing program. Ironically, one of the most dangerous sources of health-threatening chemicals is also the most glamorous: perfume. While the perfume industry plays up the glamour and the “natural” ingredients in various scents—florals, spices, aromatics, citrous—it’s the presence of harmful chemicals that is worrying ... Read More »

Credit changes could let millions into US housing market

The average consumer who pays his bills and uses credit wisely will have a pretty good credit score, though he may not know exactly what it is or even what that means. One’s credit score is like one’s overall health: one doesn’t notice it until there’s a problem. In Canada, a score of 700 is considered average. A perfect score is 900. Anything in between would be acceptable for most borrowing scenarios, but your score would need to drop down to about 620 before you would have real trouble getting a bank loan. You could probably find a willing lender, but you’d pay a premium. This can be illustrated using ... Read More »

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