Silos in Blogs

The Caisse Pop is not a social development agency. They can’t just “take one for the team” because urbanist bloggers would like them to.

The Caisse is “owned” by its customers who are residents in the area. Do the residents in the area want to promote Provencher as a new walking area that will bring people in from the rest of the city? Do the residents want their credit union to do harm to the recent gains on that strip? Do they want to differentiate their neighborhood and attract tourists crossing the foot bridge from the Forks? Or, do they not care at all about what their own credit union does to their neighborhood?

Obviously, if the public demanded that the Caisse ensure that their new building conform to the new style on Provencher so as to promote local business and development and build a strong central area, the Caisse would do so.

The above thinking is pure silo mentality. When we reward managers, leaders, and politicians for decisions that fail to consider the wider community, then decisions will fail to consider the wider community – often, with bad consequences.

H/T: Policy Frog and Rise and Sprawl.

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7 responses to “Silos in Blogs

  1. I encourage you to attend the Caisse Populaire AGM and tell them to build commercial real estate that will, in all likelihood, sit vacant for the next year and act as a drain on the Caisse’s coffers.

    When they tell you to buzz off, tell them to break out of their silo mentality and to think instead about the kids from River Heights who will come to Provencher to buy ice cream on warm Friday nights in July.

  2. I think the fact that the Caisse is investing in the area is a good thing no matter…and mixed-used buildings don;t really appeal too much for me… and to me, the design is a little bland and old, but what can you do? It’s new, and that alone will brighten up Provencher.

  3. Thanks, you’re correct. Three commercial buildings on Provencher and three houses on Dumoulin are being lost, not for something better, with a more intensive use of the land–something that would add to making St. Boniface as a place that is worth crossing esplanade Riel for. Instead, they are being lost for a very, very bland office building on Provencher designed by a McArchitecture firm with a dubious track record, and a giant surface parking lot on Dumoulin.

    If that’s what people are fine with, then fine. But they should understand that it goes against the neighborhood’s recent success in becoming a pleasant and vibrant urban neighborhood. That is why I’m surprised Enterprise Riel and other local “stakeholders” are not publicly bemoaning the net loss of commercial and residential space, or the ugliness of this building . Have fun attracting people to dull, fragmented urban areas.

  4. If people are fine with it, then they certainly do not believe “that it goes against the neighborhood’s recent success in becoming a pleasant and vibrant urban neighborhood.” … because if it was not becoming a pleasant and vibrant neighborhood, then why would the Caisse move there?

    I agree that the architecture is dubious, but I think Enterprise Riel will accept it because of the tenant…I think that with the three anchors of the St. B hospital, and the Caisse office, and the Centre up past Des Meurons, all you need is to ensure that the infill between all three is solid and good….

  5. @kid:

    Thanks for the comments. I’m sorry they were caught by the spam-filter and not put on the site right away.

    I would certainly not show up at an AGM for an organisation for which I am not a member and tell them what to do as if I were some kind of authority figure. Instead, there are better ways of approaching people. Asking if they considered the long-term vitality of the neighborhood and the impact of this design on that is not a bad thing. Asking if they would consider modifying the building to fit within an overall design for the neighborhood is not a bad thing. If they say no, then that’s their decision. However, if these kind of issues are not raised then they do not necessarily impact the project at all. I would certainly have enough common sense not to both show up and demand something right away and then storm out like a small child throwing a temper tantrum. There are ways of discussing matters of disagreement that are collaborative and constructive and do not in any way reflect the kind of silly picture you paint.

    I’ve chaired a few AGMs before and been in several committees, councils, and on the U of M Senate and can tell you that there are two ways of conciousness-raising: 1st is to act as you suggest which gets you nowhere, and the the 2nd is to act rational and constructively which often gets you somewhere. I would imagine that if local stakeholders (like Enterprise Riel, local residents and Caisse members – not bloggers from another location) approached the Caisse and suggested small modifications to the proposal that would improve the neighborhood, that the Caisse would listen and may even work collaboratively with those groups. Boards and managers usually respond very well to constuctive dialogue and would welcome suggestions.

    This post from Rob came at the same time as a post by the Frog that spoke to the same issue: making decisions in isolation. Without a long-term, multi-layered, complex, collaborative plan, decision makers often make decisions that adversely affect the interests of other stakeholders – and they do this not because they are bad people or irrational, but because their actions are measured and rewarded on the basis of metrics unsuited to the complex environment in which they are opperating.

  6. It’s nice to encourage long-term, multi-layered, complex collaborative plans when you’re not the one stuck with the bill.

    What makes you think for a moment that the Caisse Populaire didn’t think about putting in some sort of rental units on the main floor? What if they conducted an analysis and found out that demand was soft at the rental rates that it would take to justify building the additional space on top of what the Caisse Populaire needs for itself?

    I appreciate the ideas examined in this blog, but this particular post is uncharacteristically breathtaking in its arrogance by categorically assuming that the Caisse Populaire failed to consider any of these issues before making a decision to build.

  7. I appreciate the ideas examined in this blog, but this particular post is uncharacteristically breathtaking in its arrogance by categorically assuming that the Caisse Populaire failed to consider any of these issues before making a decision to build.

    Point taken, kid. I suppose that I was looking at the two posts together as an idea and didn’t consider details such as that the Caisse may have considered other factors. I suppose that it is very possible that they did indeed consider these things and I should not assume that they did not.

    More importantly, I think, is that I was responding to the post cited above, which said that “The Caisse Pop is not a social development agency. They can’t just ‘take one for the team’…” This idea is what I was mainly criticizing: the idea that managerial units within society should only consider narrow interests in their planning and that we should encourage them only to consider those interests through reward and incentive metrics. No, I don’t think this means that Caisse should cure World Hunger as a part of building this building. But, they should consider the consequences to their own clients, neighbors, neighborhood, and other stakeholders.

    Anyway, you are correct: I should not assume that they did not consider wider ideas.

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