Comment 89674

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 21, 2013 at 09:22:22 in reply to Comment 89673

The solutions are to invest pro-actively in things that make Hamilton attractive to a broad range of residents of all income and skill levels, such as LRT, protecting heritage and complete streets. Liveable attractive and interesting cities are in fact the most important infrastructure for attracting investment today.

Apart from LRT, these are cheap and low-risk solutions that make Hamilton an attractive place to live and work, rather than simply as a bedroom community for those who are priced out of Toronto. It is about having multiple attractive urban centres, rather than extremes of expensive mega-city cores, decaying post-industrial cities (like Detroit or Youngstown) and dreary anonymous suburbs and ex-urbs whose main attraction is cheapness and large lots.

One of Hamilton's main advantages is its urban core: it is a real city. However, much of council seems to think Hamilton (and even Hamilton's downtown) should be competing purely on suburban and ex-urban values: cheap single family homes, wide fast streets and no heritage protection that might discourage greenfield type investors.

One of the positive lessons of successful cities like Paris, Portland or New York, is that they don't just submit to negative trends, they proactively act to shape and reverse them. Hamiltonians all too often take a fatalistic and exceptionalist view: bad things are due to some special aspect of the city that we are powerless to change.

p.s. Criticism is an important part of a dynamic urban culture. Successful cities like Vancouver and Paris are full of hyper-critical people engaging in a public debate about what sort of city they want, and pushing the decision makers to act. Consensus is rare, but having high standards and caring about the public realm really makes a difference in the long term. Sometimes I get the impression most Hamiltonians don't really care much about their own city.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-06-21 09:25:27

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