With Japanese authorities still working to salvage the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, it is worth exploring the institutional fallout of the developed world's last significant brush with nuclear catastrophe. This is the first of a series of articles I will publish on this website as part of Temples of the Atom, a project documenting the wreckage of unfinished American nuclear power stations.
A few weeks ago, those responsible for maintaining the relevance of Toronto's sky needle announced that later this summer they would pioneer a thrilling new attraction. On offer, they say, will be the opportunity to leave the safe confines of its concrete and steel structure and walk—tethered and supervised by experts—to the edge of the roof of the CN Tower's main pod.
This is the second in a series of articles discussing pressurized urban utility networks. The first article provided a general discussion of the presence and possibilities of water distribution systems. This article will elaborate further on one neglected aspect of the water distribution networks that underpin our cities: leakage.
On this website, I have long focused my efforts to revealing the physical spaces contained within underground infrastructure like sewers and utility tunnels, and to countering the general impression of these systems as abstract networks that is promoted by the authorities responsible for their operation and maintenance.
In Calgary, a new chapter is about to be written in the public experience of urban water and wastewater. The City of Calgary's Department of Utilities and Environmental Protection (UEP) has for several years now been developing a public art program to accompany its capital projects.
Back on December 14th, Peter Kuitenbrouwer of the National Post broke the story that the R.L. Hearn thermal generating station in Toronto's portlands was under demolition threat.
Three years ago I had the opportunity to visit a building on Buffalo's south waterfront that for many years had been home to the Freezer Queen manufacturing plant. Freezer Queen's business was frozen foods, and in particular frozen dinners for major grocery retailers like Walmart. While narratives of Buffalo's rise and fall have always focused on big industrial complexes like the steel mills at Lackawanna and the First Ward elevators, the importance of smaller manufacturing facilities like Freezer Queen should not be discounted.
Elevator Alley. Words by Michael Cook, Photographs by Andrew Emond. Published by Furnace Press, November, 2010. Trade Paperback, 8 x 7.5”, 60 Pages, color photos. ISBN 978-0-9772742-2 - $20.00 USD
For the last five years, people in Toronto have been coming together on a cool Sunday in October to dress in blue and trace the former path of the Garrison Creek, sometimes on foot, sometimes on bicycle.
Last Friday, Waterfront Toronto unveiled Sherbourne Common, the latest in a string of connected parks that it has been developing along the city's central and eastern harbour. While the grand opening took place in the nearly completed part of the park south of Queen's Quay, work continues on the north side's sweeping water sculptures and raised biofiltration beds.
Michael Cook is available to speak to your organization about infrastructure history, lost creeks, current conditions, and opportunities for change in our management of and communication about urban watersheds, and to work with teams proposing or implementing such change. Get in touch.