living space Archives - St. Stephen's University

Empty Spaces

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments
I am really interested in enhancing living spaces! Like anyone I enjoy a great city street, park or country side. Bad use of land, either poor planning or environmental degradation means less vitality and less health. When it comes to the environment, how we use the land makes all the difference. A sense of tranquility and beauty comes from how we create and preserve art in our human landscapes. These are concerns not just for backroom politicians and civic-minded committees, but for everyone who is currently alive.
Europe has many differences to Canada in the way it uses its land. Almost obvious to everyone is that European land use is more compact because there is little excess land. What is surprising, however, is just how well they often use that little space. Land which is almost always left to the grass in Canada–such as the space between a highway overpass and onramp– is often intensely cultivated in Europe, or is made into a garden of some sort. The sound barriers along highways can often be works of art, instead of dull-grey blocks. I often see factory parking lots here paved with cobblestone and divided by rows of small trees, flowers and hedges. Of course this is not the rule, and some places are ugly and the land is used poorly, but it seems overall that Europe does better than Canada. Perhaps Canada has so much land that we slightly neglect our built-up human spaces?
What I think would be best would be a combination of the European attitude towards space with Canada’s abundant/beautiful landscape. That way we could live better in our improved lot while conserving a greater amount of natural landscape.