Have you ever found yourself walking, riding or even driving between two points and an imperative biological urge arises? Is the expression ” hold the phone and get a stone” familiar? I am not sure but it seems that as I get older the pressure and urgency and frequency has increased. I know that when I am with young children, the impulse seems to arrive out of nowhere and they “NEED TO GO, NOW”.
In many great cities that we have visited, public facilities are never more than 500 meters apart. They are well maintained, relatively clean and serve as a ‘port in the storm’ for the immediate and compelling ‘perfectly human’ need. Great cities know that when you have to go the pressing need is preoccupying. When you are supposed to be focused on the remarkable scenery, amazing architecture, beautiful landscape and thinking about how much you love this place – the charm is tarnished by unbearable forces bearing down on your urethra.
I know all the available private facilities in a 2 mile radius of the core and am confident enough to enter and relieve myself without feeling additional purchase pressure (McPee) but not everyone has a map app running in their head. Mothers with children, seniors exploring their city, visitors need facilities and waymaking to feel confident in their urban adventure.
Calgary wants to be a great city, in the list of other great cities. We are growing up and out. At 1.2 million residents we are learning together about diversity, walkability, shared resources, diverse economic engines, arts and culture and the importance of design in justice issues but we don’t talk about this important infrastructure. I am not sure if it is willful blindness or a bodily function paranoia but the loo is woefully absent in our planning and design. With nearly 800 kms of shared pathways, we should be planning for more than 800 facilities that are clean, safe and welcoming. In future posts I am going to explore a two pronged approach creating at great city that can say ” When you come here, we have a place for you to go”.