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spacing (a small fan letter)
Dawn Danby, 3 Sep 05

bouke_spacing.jpg Every city should have a magazine like spacing singing its praises. Lucky for those of us in Toronto, a team of brilliant, underfunded young writers and photobloggers are scoping out the alleys and ravines of Canada's biggest, most diverse and least romantic city. By covering all elements of life in the public realm, they're turning the urban fabric inside out for our viewing.

Since they spend as much time digging through the archives as they do visualizing the best possible version of the city, spacing's summer issue The History of our Future (no content yet online) has taken a wide look at the positive directions that Toronto could take. It includes several lighthearted scenarios exploring a bright green version of the city, peering decades into the future - including a proposal to transform the SkyDome (the ultimate white elephant stadium) into sustainable housing, and a concept to build a city-wide network of elevated, enclosed bike paths.

Meanwhile, when not critiquing or celebrating urban planning, they're having altogether too much fun with the rest of the city's urban explorers: wandering with the Toronto Psychogeography Society, guerilla gardening, mounting photo exhibitions, throwing 'Ride the Rocket' parties on the subway. They've also released a ludicrously popular collection of 1-inch buttons celebrating the 1950s subway tile art in stations around the city.

Changing a city for the better requires tremendous patience and willingness to engage in bureaucratic wrangling. Positive scenarios can be thin on the ground. So what's especially inspiring about these - and what makes spacing a great model for other cities, in spite of its thoroughly local content - is that they're happy and willing to occasionally ignore the normal paths to change to tell the story of the city as it should be.

(photos, Bouke Salverda)

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I concur... Toronto's a much better place with all the independent media we have.

Posted by: pearl on 3 Sep 05



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