Comment 28522

By LL (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2009 at 22:57:45

A Smith said:

"If Hamilton started treating businesses "nicely", I know that they would respond by increasing the amount of investment in our city."

Stinson stated pretty directly the "nice" things he wants from Hamilton: attitude, transit, and new economy. Only one of these relates directly with municipal policy, and that's transit. No mention of current tax rates, which presumably are not a barrier to that type of investment.

"New economy" is shorthand for computer jobs. I'm not sure how wise it is to declare manufacturing dead, but high tech investments seem to flow to cities with "progressive" urban planning and quality of life features. Techies are rational people. They don't want to live/work in a city that's poisoning itself.

But these "nice" things are are limited in Hamilton currently, because the sprawl lobby currently gets all the "nice" subsidies for their activities. In a mid-size, non-metropolitan city like Hamilton, it really is a zero-sum gamme. You can have sprawl or you can have a vibrant inner city, not both.

It's unfortunate, because Hamilton really does have all the ingredients for becoming a functioning dense core. You have a lot of neighbourhoods that are sweet already - Corktown, Durand, Kirkendall, Strathcona, North End. You have density and grid pattern streets to efficiently run transit. You have an engineering-focused university to synergise with tech jobs. You already have arts and music scenes. You have a port and rail infrastructure to capitalize on conservation-induced restructuring that is inevitable. You have regions nearby - Halton and Peel - that are gonna bleed jobs hits because their whole industrial base is leveraged on highway spending.

And it's easy to start the process. The GO service is already there. All you have to do is attract more white collar workers from Toronto with quality of life and a "hip" image.

But those damn sprawl companies and those damn councillors!

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