December 28, 2013
by Canadian Architect
Canada Post needs to deliver excellent design if it goes ahead with a controversial plan to replace door-to-door service with community mailboxes, says the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). The RAIC, who advocates for a liveable built environment, says group mailboxes will affect the urban landscape and quality of life of Canadians.
Allan Teramura, RAIC regional director for Ontario North, East and Nunavut, says the impact on streets and green spaces will be significant. “The problem of retrofitting these to existing neighbourhoods is going to be extremely challenging,” he says. “There’s no information provided to date that shows how this will be done in a way that’s acceptable to anyone.”
As the first G-8 country to end door-to-door service, this experiment will receive international attention.
“Architects and urban designers should be involved in the development and planning of such postal nodes,” says RAIC president-elect Wayne De Angelis. “They must be considered as part of the urban fabric just as mail slots and post boxes were considered in the planning of our homes.”
Canada Post’s proposal raises several issues. The shift to community mailboxes may impede progress being made in the sustainability of cities as a good percentage of people will likely drive to collect their mail. And while accessibility in buildings is being improved on many levels, it must be considered how strollers, wheelchairs and seniors will safely reach the community mailboxes in the dark and icy conditions of winter.
For those interested in initiating a conversation about the necessity of Canada Post to implement careful and creative design thinking, RAIC board members across the country are available for comment. For more information, please visit www.raic.org.