Ultrasonic Alarm Call Episode 11: Regina Goes Boom!

This week’s episode isn’t merely a podcast, it’s our submission to the Design Regina process.

The city is out to revamp its Official Community Plan and we’re getting involved. But instead of just filling in the little “Citizen Circle” workbook the city sent us, we recorded our discussions and we’ll be sending in this mp3 as well.

What’s with that look of trepidation, city? It’s not like council is ever going to see more than a point-form summary of what’s offered up by the Citizen Circles, anyway. Don’t worry. Carle’s crazy ideas about how the city should take over parking again, our hand wringing about heritage buildings being demolished, our shared rage about how unaffordable housing has recently become, our discussion of where the zombie apocalypse will begin and what it has to say about good urban form, all of that will wind up as nothing more than a few bowdlerized remarks in a list of hundreds.

But you know who I pity? It’s the poor intern who’s going to have to slog through all those Citizen Circle submissions. At least when they get to ours, they’ll get to listen to some awesome intro and outro music by the Lazy MKs.

Ultrasonic Alarm Call Episode 11 — Regina Goes Boom: At the table, Carle Steel, Vanda Schmockel, Cassie Ozog, Karen Meagher and me as host. Bonus interview with Cookie Madill. Music by the Lazy MKs. Runtime: 45 min 53 sec.

To download, click on the radio above. And when you’ve finished with this, you might want to check out last week’s episode, Signal To Noise, which is a companion piece to the feature on the paranormal in the current issue of prairie dog.

You can also check out our archive of past episodes.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

9 thoughts on “Ultrasonic Alarm Call Episode 11: Regina Goes Boom!”

  1. Best UAC so far. You guys have hit your stride. Everyone worked with each other. Loved how the usual downer crap was smartly paired with realistic positive notes, egged on by the crisp new host. Keep this panel.

    (And it might be my new laptop which has never touched my lap, but the sound quality/level for everyone was perfect this time.)

  2. Thanks for listening, guys.

    Anonymouse: I imagine your new laptop is helping but I think the big change this episode is someone figured out what a “compressor” is for.

    What can I say? We’re learning as we go.

  3. hi, Ultrasonic! I enjoyed your audio citizen’s circle! You made me laugh many times…. and there were some very good ideas.
    A couple of weeks ago, a gallery owner from London, Ontario was just here for the Jack Sures opening, and he was telling me that his gallery, which is now very successful, was an ‘incubation project’ of the city, where the City took 10% gross (whatever it was) from the businesses which opened in empty spaces downtown…. and it worked!

    We, too, tried to figure out the weird capitalization in the ‘vision’ statement! Thanks bunches!

    ps. I have finally figured out that I can listen to this during the very few times when i clean the house!!

  4. Responding here at Paul’s suggestion, rather than on Stephen W.’s later post which got derailed (by a pd columnist, among others), I note the following:
    – Regina has no suburbs; it’s not big enough;
    – “suburb” is misused by Cathedral dwellers to describe every neighbourhood beyond the city centre, usually in a condescending way and with stereotypes of the folks who live “out there” as car- and mall-worshipping right wingers with no artistic taste. This gets old after awhile, and does not win friends or influence people, except negatively.

    One very good reason for living beyond the city centre is that my eavestroughs are not 6 inches from my neighbours’. I also have a decent-sized, sun-exposed garden. I have a yard (admittedly a mucky mess right now), and off-street parking. Green spaces, playgrounds, shopping, a library branch, and a number of restaurants all lie within easy walking distance. Best of all, my neighbours and I don’t think we’re superior beings because of where we live.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Barb.

    First off, I would argue Regina definitely does have suburbs. Colloquially, the word is used to refer to a lot things. It can mean new build on the edge of a city which frequently covers over farmland. It can refer to new build beyond what had been (or still is) an industrial zone. It can also refer to a style of car-focused urban design where garages dominate house fronts, where streets are artificially curvy and have lots of cul-de-sacs and concentric twisty loops, and where sidewalks and cut-throughs are optional.

    That said, you’re right, Regina still has a pretty small footprint and a fairly compact urban form as a result. That’s a strength of our city. For a lot of people who are suspicious of suburbs, it’s something they want to see preserved and so development beyond the city’s traditional boundary can be a cause for worry. And, consequently, a target for wisecracks.

    Meanwhile, one thing I think we haven’t always done a very good job of is distinguishing between suburbanites and suburban design. I understand completely why people would move to our suburbs (my salmon crack in the podcast was meant as a joke). You get the best square footage bang for your buck and if you don’t want to invest in home renos in your first few years of home ownership, a new house on the fringe of a city is the way to go.

    That’s why my parents always bought their homes there.

    The thing is, the kind of suburban design model that has gone up in Regina over the past several decades is car-worshipping. The people may not, but the urban design does.

    (And, incidentally, it has graduated from “mall-worshipping” to “box-store-worshipping”, a decidedly regressive step.)

    And whether you like that style of urban design or not, to quote several of our councillors, “density is coming.” Building the city outward is simply too inefficient and too costly to continue when you consider the size of the country’s infrastructure deficit.

    And I think guys like Kunstler (who Cassie references in the podcast) are right and we’re headed for an economic future where the suburbs will become our new slums. We’re already seeing that happen in parts of the States.

    So, the question is, here in Regina should we let the city sprawl without comment, or insist on a greater emphasis on filling in the footprint we’ve already made?

  6. Thanks, Paul. My issue was with attitude; I give Vanda (on the other post) credit for sensing and feeling maybe the slightest bit uncomfortable about it.

  7. And as I mentioned to anon in that thread, the tone thing is a fair critique.

    For the record, though, the podcast isn’t carefully edited or moderated. And because that was a citizen circle, it was meant to be a spontaneous and candid discussion. So, yeah, maybe there’s stuff that should have been said differently. And with less wine. Or more. Not sure.

    Speaking for myself, if I write something in the paper that’s really snotty, then you can be sure I’ve thought about it so go ahead and give me hell. But on the podcast? Sometimes I might just get carried away and say something stupid, in which case, give me a different kind of hell.

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