Harry Pasternak's background in research, policy development, and facilitating educational sessions with respect to the Public Realm (Public Open Space) and Livable/Usable Cities - Livable/Usable Neighborhoods:
A. As a consultant to the Province Of Ontario, Pasternak was asked to improve the "quality of life" for the tens of thousands on people living in urban developments that had been financed by the Province across Ontario. Pasternak was asked to focus on Metro Toronto; because of the number of issues negatively impacting the Livability of these developments. Pasternak conducted a series of one of a kind primary research projects within the Metropolitan Toronto Region. Included:
1.) A face to face survey of 10,000 residents on their recreational
wants/needs. This is likely the only survey of its kind ever done in
Metro Toronto. The study found that recreational programming in the
city had little to do with what residents wanted/needed - little to do
with their aspirations. (It's unlikely that parks and recreation staff
every ask a cross section of the people they serve - what the people
they serve want/need)
2.) A complex primary research project to evaluated the "best"
children's playgrounds in Metro Toronto. Pasternak asked the Recreation
Directors of the various boroughs in Metro to pick the ten "best"
children's "playgrounds". Pasternak designed the research project's
structure and then administered the only research project ever done on
so-called children's "playgrounds" in Canada. He hired the Ontario
Research Council to collect the data with trained field workers and to
do the preliminary analysis of the data. Time lapse filming was used to
show that so-called children's "playgrounds" have little to do with
children, little to do with play.
[The safety of so-called children's playgrounds (children's ghettos)
is deplorable - 500,000 children are injured falling off
"playground" equipment every year in North America - a further 500,000
injured are injured in collisions with cars going to and from
"playgrounds" every year in North America! Both figures show that
"playground" designers (landscape architects and others) and urban
planners are both incapable of loving children - just love land
A national conference on children's play and "playgrounds" resulted from Pasternak's research. The basic recommendation of the conference attendees (all experts on childhood development, landscape architecture, urban planning, architecture and recreational programming) - stop building so-called children's "playgrounds" and instead initiate the training (and hiring) of full time professional neighborhood play facilitators. The conference attendees also agreed that the traditional play environment for children was the front lawn, sidewalk and road in front of their homes; but, that mindless anti-children, anti-people urban planning had allowed the car free reign - enabled (enables!) the car to "drive" children (and adults) away from this traditional play space - the street. A variety of studies show that the higher the car and truck traffic density and the higher the speed - the fewer social relationships in any neighborhood. Various restrictive bylaws (against kids) were also brought in to make children disappear from the public realm - in addition to making the public realm disappear. More on Pasternak's research and outcomes.
3.) A first of a kind research project to evaluate whether municipal
and provincial tax money, in one of the boroughs in Metro Toronto, was
dis-proportionally spent on upper income neighborhoods versus middle
and low income neighborhoods. The study showed that the rich got most
of the tax money - disproportionately to the middle and low income
taxpaying residents. In other words, taxes collected from the middle
and low income was (is?) being used to support the lavish lifestyle of
the upper income folks - the rich. As a result of this study, the
Province refused a multi-million dollar grant to this borough.
B. As a "teacher" within York University's Urban Studies program, Pasternak facilitated on "Non-Obtrusive Social Research Techniques". He supervised a research group of students who then utilized Pasternak's research techniques. These students, using time lapse photography and other non-obtrusive research methodologies - produced an original primary research piece (unusual for undergraduates - who typically do secondary research only - that is, a literature search). The results of the student's research piece showed that so-called open planned schools were anything but open in practice.
C. Pasternak developed a unique wants/needs waterfront
design/planning questionnaire/survey that was used by the City of
Kingston, Ontario to assist in the planning of City's Waterfront(s).
The outcome of the questionnaire/survey showed that Kingston's
taxpaying residents had a much more sophisticated vision for the City's
Waterfront(s) than either the politicians, the "professionals" working
in the city's planning department or the "waterfront"
consultant hired by the politicians. The council, the city's planning
staff and the
consultant - all thought that a waterfront is all about a 6 foot wide
path - but the taxpaying residents knew it was a lot more than the
simplistic idea of a 6 foot wide path.
D. A built environment consultant, Pasternak advised the Premier of
Ontario on specific built environment issues. As a result, the Premier
turned down a multi-million dollar grant request by a major university
in Ontario. Pasternak research showed that an entire neighborhood
didn't have to be destroyed in order to facilitate the expansion of the
E. Pasternak has extensive experience in facilitating educational
experiences at colleges and universities across Canada - in addition to
his work at York University. As well, Pasternak created The Thousand
Islands Institute - Canada's only independent housing research and
educational centre. Over 3000 inexperienced women and men from across
Canada (and the U.S.A.) attended the Institute's one of a kind 9 day
workshop "The Knack
Of Home Construction" and then went on to building their own custom
dream home - while saving 30 to 50 percent of the cost of construction.
F. Pasternak has appeared on a variety of national and regional
television and radio programs including CTV's Canada AM, CBC's
Michael Enright and other CBC regional programs in Toronto, Ottawa and
Montreal, on a variety of CFRB's programming - to talk about one aspect
or another on the built environment. Pasternak has done television
co-productions with TVO.
G. Pasternak was president of C.A.S.R.E.L. a research and
engineering consortium comprised of: Peter Sheffield and Assoc. -
Structural Engineers, Hansconb-Roy - Quantity Surveyors & Project
Managers, Frank Wolman and Assoc. - Tourism Consultancy, and Pasternak
& Assoc. - Research & Design.
H. Pasternak is the former Director Of Athletics and varsity
basketball coach at Humber College. While at the college, Pasternak was
instrumental in developing the first college program to train grooms
for the thoroughbred and standardbred horse industry - as a result the
annual income for trained grooms doubled. Pasternak was instrumental is
producing North America's first degree program for professionals
entering the various facets of the horse industry - from running riding
centers to training the trainers in riding educational programs .