Friday, January 6, 2012

Toronto's losing its vision

Recently browsing through the website of Canadian magazine The Walrus, I cam upon this article entitled How Toronto Lost Its Groove by John Lorinc. It touches on many of the themes I discussed in my Toronto case study, in particular the city's lack of vision towards its future structure and the lack of investment in public transit. Mr. Lorinc believes that the ongoing delays in infrastructure spending and a decision process hampered by an inefficient political system risk the health of the city's economy. Worst, some misguided efforts like the obsession with high-rises are irreversible in the near future and could further contribute to growing congestion unless city officials seriously rethink their public transit strategy. 

Here's a short excerpt:

"Six decades after the beginning of its epochal postwar transformation, it’s fair to say that Toronto has become a very big city, and a somewhat accommodating city, but not a great city — at least not yet. Which is more than a little strange, because the GTA contains an abundance of talent and energy, tremendous wealth, and intimations of a distinctly Canadian cosmopolitanism. What’s lacking is the will to abandon the story Torontonians have always told themselves, which is that they can’t afford the things big cities need and crave, that they mustn’t exercise the political clout that naturally accrues to large urban regions, and that they shouldn’t manage growth in the intelligent way that the twenty-first century requires.

Toronto, in short, remains the sort of place that plans to build bridges, but then can’t bring itself to pay for them."