Urban design controls
Design controls have a checkered history. Calgary has a rigorous design review process, and Houston has none whatsoever. Yet, it's hard to argue that one has better or worse buildings. In the hopes of improving architecture and urban design in the downtown core, the city of Ottawa is planning to add a design review to the development approval process. Starting early next year, to get a building permit, all proposals for new buildings must be reviewed by a panel and meet city-developed design criteria. "If development takes place under a clear set of urban design guidelines and design excellence becomes part of urban culture then I think that we will find ourselves living a city that the world envies," says Ottawa architect Ralph Wiesbrock.
Can you realistically impose design criteria on a city?