Urban Design Panel Resigns En Masse Over City Government’s Handling of Design in Downtown Ottawa

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A great story coming out of Ottawa this week. All seven of the members of a committee assembled by the local government to weigh in on architecture in the city, the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel, have banded together and decided to resign en masse in a form of protest over the city’s handling of architecture and design decisions. They complain that the city has done no research when it comes to creating new buildings, instead just throwing them up as needed, only turning to thoughts about design as an burdensome step in the process. The city argues that they can’t pass each and every government-contracted building through the panel’s hands, or dig through competition entries just to find the right architect. But the panel certainly hasn’t seen it that way and has instead tried to get their complaints heard with this mass resignation.

“This resignation is really a way, and the only way we’re aware of, to bring attention to what is a pretty serious problem,” said Rick MacEwan, one of the seven. “What we’re trying to do is humiliate the city slightly with this resignation, to say: ‘You’re following a wrong path and you ought to change course.'”