Monday, December 12, 2011

Magazine Review: Spacing Fall 2011

I have already gone through some of the local magazines in the last while and I have left spacing until last.  It has been the hardest one to review for a variety of reasons.  I always look at this magazine as a blog first and I read it like I would read a blog.  

I bounce around the issue and ignore the pieces that I am not interested in and spend a lot of time on the pieces that I like.  The best blogs are conversations.  The best pieces in spacing invites disagreements and discussions.  This is where the value in spacing lives.  It is the beginning for a larger engagement.

I'll try to explain a little better with some examples.  Last year I was talking about how the best ethnic food is no longer going to be found in traditional ethnic centres (i.e. the best Indian food will not be found on Gerrard street or Italian on College.)  I was not quite sure what that meant.  There is a thoughtful piece about the move of good ethnic eats to suburbia by Sarah Efron.  It attempts to explain the migration of communities from downtown to the suburbs and it does provide a likely story.

This year, a new market started in the Beaches and I wonder how they will survive.  A piece that examines the business of the markets written by Dylan Reid appears using the St Andrew's Market as its case study.  It provides some good background information on how it came to happen and whether it will succeed.  It provides a basis to open a discussion on the viability.  Coupled with the article around whether farmers' markets are just feel good by Shawn Micallef and you begin to get the start of a dialogue.

The rest of the food related articles are similar thought probes that provide the opportunity for action, discussion and mobilization.  It makes we want to get up and be a joiner.  Something I definitely am not.  But then...  I go to the website and try to find a way to become engaged.  It seems that this may just be another magazine with no ability for readers to become more involved.  It is obvious that the people behind spacing are empassioned and informed.  They are doers.  But there is no way for me to find my way into the picture.  I am having difficulty navigating by category and finding pieces that I know must exist on their site.  Hopefully this is a temporary technical problem.

The whole idea just promises so much.  With such smart writing and good ideas, it should be making a bigger impact on our city.  You need to take the mag along with the blog and all the other social media before you can become connected and it shouldn't be as filled with barriers as it is.  Still, pick it up.  It will get you thinking and if that is all it does, then that is enough.

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