pigeon house

"Architecture has always been the most utopian of all the arts." -Krisham Kumar

People aren't the only animals that build homes and cities. Termites build elaborate heating and cooling systems in their nests. Beavers build dams that provide shelter, but also change the environment around them. Ants build cites with thousands or even millions of inhabitants.

Toronto provides habitat for many types of animals, including pigeons, starlings, seagulls, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, insects, people, cats and dogs. Pigeons historically have lived on cliffs, but they have learned to nest on buildings and other tall structures because of their similarity to cliff forms. We think of nature as separate from cities, but cities are in fact flourishing ecosystems.

"The job of buildings is to improve human relations: architecture must ease them, not make them worse." -Ralph Erskine

Condos have a bad reputation because condos often contribute to gentrification. When a condo gets built near your home, it can drive you out of your neighbourhood, through demolition or rent increases. But condos also have some good effects. They can help reduce urban sprawl by housing people closer together. Condos can help reduce our reliance on cars and roads by providing housing near where people work.

"A man thinks differently in a palace and in a hut" - Ludwig Feuerbach

Condos also tend to be cheaper than other types of homes, allowing a certain amount more people to afford to buy rather than rent their homes. Owning property changes you and your outlook on things. Property leads owners to develop a sense of investment, responsibility and pride in the place they live. It can also develop in owners an empowered sense of citizenship.

Look around and you'll notice that a neighbourhood is made up of many people, those who own and those who do not own property. In different ways these two groups come into conflict over the idea of who has a legitimate right to live in an area, and over who is to be regarded as "desirable" or "undesirable" there. Owning property changes you by placing owners in the role of police in a neighbourhood.

"Homelessness exists not because the housing system is not working, but because this is the way it works." - Peter Marcuse

When property is developed, something must be destroyed to make room. All parts of the city have people and other animals living in them and creating complex neighbourhoods there; but people often insist that the area they want to develop is empty. This has been going on for a long time. For example, when Europeans first came to North America they described it as completely empty and open for colonization, ignoring the many people and who already lived there.