Also, we need to strive to be more specific. It's great to say we dislike lousy things, but half of us are going to say the modern addition to city hall is a masterpiece and half of us are going to say it's a total disaster. We need to identify the particulars re: why we like or dislike something.
...only against poor, insensitive and architecturally mediocre development.
And we need to be consistent.
Consider the Old Town Design Guidelines: if a project like Northern Junk can satisfy the guidelines so well and still be controversial then we need to question the very purpose of the guidelines. Is the point merely to create more bureaucracy in service of eternal opposition? Or is the point to clarify the environment and lay out the ground rules by which we expect developers to operate? I hope it's the latter.
The prologue doesn't leave much room for doubt:
For many years, design guides for new buildings in historic cities emphasized subservience to the past. Their key message was that design in a historic context must be imitative or meek - the commonly used words were “compatible with” and “subordinate to.” Buildings that followed such guidance often said little about the time in which they were designed – they ignored contemporary values. We are custodians, not curators, of the historic environment. Our city is evolving, it is not a museum object, and we have a duty in the design of new buildings, additions to non-heritage buildings, and new urban spaces to respond to changing ways of working, living and playing. Equally, in our search for contemporary urbanism in Old Town, the latent structures that will answer this call shall respond to the existing urban context and find form that reflects the values of the time in which they are conceived.