York hub for transit solutions to urban sprawl

It’s really very simple; either we kill sprawl or sprawl will kill us. The Government of Ontario has accepted this reality and last week the minister of public infrastructure renewal, David Caplan, released a discussion paper, “Places To Grow: A Growth Plan For The Greater Golden Horseshoe,” wrote Christopher Hume (BA ’73 Glendon) in the Toronto Star July 22. The paper talks about strengthening public transit, even extending the subway to York University. It proposes the creation of a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority and the provision of 2 cents per litre of provincial gas tax.

Another Star story reported that, starting Sept. 7, major improvements to GO’s 407 Bus Rapid Transit service will include the linking of York University to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. “Really, what it does is finishes connecting that east-west link,” said GO managing director Gary McNeil. “We connected Hamilton to Markham by bus but didn’t connect to the east end. Now we have a rail link on the lake shore and we have a mid-GTA link through [Bus Rapid Transit].” York University is the hub for GO’s bus service – the way Union Station is the focal point for trains – with the tolled 407 as the spine that connects east to west by bus. “When you figure it has a student and employment base of more than 50,000 people, it [York University] really does become focalized,” said McNeil. “It’s probably one of the largest concentrations of people in the GTA other than the downtown core. It’s a very important area.”

I AM Canadian is wrong marketing message

Amid speculation that a major corporate overhaul is in the works at the venerable brewer, The Globe and Mail’s Richard Bloom asked marketing experts what they would do to kick-start its flagging flagship Canadian brand for a July 22 story. Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, made three suggestions. No. 1: Revisit the whole advertising approach. The problem they have right now is their current advertising agency misunderstood the concept of the I AM campaign. The concept is I AM, not IAM Canadian. The I AM in its original form was a statement of what made a 19-year-old male a personality that was different from parents, friends and other people. I AM this! No. 2: Repackage it. Make the bottle and the label part of the continuity but wake it up. Right now it’s boring “mass” and something that I’d stay away from because Corona or Heineken are much more exciting. No. 3 is: They’ve got to get their PR machines rolling. This means rejigging everything from sponsor promotions to buzz marketing. You want to wear a badge that says “special, different” not “mass”.

Middleton also commented in a Toronto Star story July 22 about a potential merger between Canada’s last remaining major family-owned brewery and the makers of Coors Light. “The devil is in the details,” said Middleton. The biggest beneficiaries of a Molson-Coors’ merger is likely to be Canada’s growing micro-breweries, he said, predicting their market share could easily double to 20 per cent within a decade.

The marketing professor weighed in as well on the battle of the razor blades, in a July 22 National Post story. Gillette Co. and Schick/Wilkinson Sword Co. are making their pitches to technophiles with the introduction of the vibrating Gillette’s Mach III Power and Schick’s four-blade Quattro. Regardless, it won’t be long before the high-tech pitch loses sway with consumers, said Middleton.”I’m sure the three blade gets closer. I’m sure when you coat it with things it slides and glides. But this is laboratory, miniscule, micro-millimetre stuff. Really, is it going to make that much difference?… It’s all about the pitch.”

Taking a virtual ride on a bicycle

An avid cyclist for 25 years, Don Sinclair‘s love of wheels and wind has him clocking up more than 10,000 km annually, began an online article in the UK’s VeloVision detailing the York University multimedia professor’s recent art project.

Sinclair, who teaches in York University’s Fine Arts Cultural Studies Program, enjoys blending his personal and professional interests. He recently conceived and created Variations/Variantes, a Net art project which was featured in the cutting-edge New Media category at the annual Images Festival in Toronto (April 15-24), reported VeloVision. The project is an interactive visual interface that prompts the user to explore ideas of place from the seat of a bicycle. Variations/Variantes draws on a database containing about 25,000 images, 80,000 Global Positioning System (GPS) data points, and hourly weather data from three local stations. Sinclair collected this data while cycling in and around Toronto from January 2002 to March 2003. He carried a GPS receiver and a digital camera set in time-lapse mode to capture images at one-minute intervals while he rode.

Taking its cue from Sinclair’s experiences as a year-round, all-weather cyclist, the interface provides ways of navigating through different dimensions that together define the experience of place. As Sinclair explains, for a cyclist place is a holistic concept, referring not only to location, but also factors such as wind, temperature and bicycle speed.