Editorial: Subtle barriers everywhere

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By Jacob Dubé

This week, Ryerson announced they’re receiving $7 million from Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that will go towards making Gould and Victoria streets more accessible and beautifying the space, with construction starting sometime later this year.

The plan for the revamping, in conjunction with the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA), started in 2016.

It includes designs to potentially make Gould Street completely pedestrian, with brick roads and trees everywhere.Anything to make students forget about Gould Street’s old yellow paint job, I guess.

Nobody is saying that they would mind if Ryerson’s main arteries looked a little nicer—I could definitely go with a little less gray concrete as I dodge rats and half-eaten pigeons on my way to work—but the track record for these sorts of things hasn’t been so great around here lately.

Last year, the Yonge BIA installed planters along Victoria Street’s west side. At first glance they could have been an attempt to beautify the space, but in reality their entire goal was to displace a person who was living in that area.

At the start of last semester, near the safe injection site at Victoria and Dundas streets, a large fence was erected, preventing people staying around the area from accessing the space.

The planters and the fences were clearly temporary solutions to limit who uses space on and near campus, but with a multi-year beautification project flush with funding on the horizon, there’s a chance that more long-term actions will be made.

Aggressive architecture can be built right into campus in a seamless way—a string of trees where someone used to take shelter, for example. The new campus might be pretty,and you’ll finally show it off to your parents, but who will it push out

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