Comment 2757

By schmadrian (registered) | Posted December 24, 2006 at 08:19:50

Jason:

Again, I feel like I'm going to be pegged as a nay-sayer and nihilist...especially when the core of what I believe in re: Hamilton is so utterly divergent from just about anything I've read on RTH. Having said that...

-Montreal has three times as many people. I really think that any discussion about comparisons, paradigms, models, should primarily concern Hamilton-equivalents. -Montreal's social history over the past thirty years has been completely different from Hamilton's, especially the way in which 'vibrancy' is expressed. Montreal, its various neighbourhoods, they're locked-down. There's bedrock there. Hamilton doesn't have that. Hamilton is, if you take away the peripheral aspects, dormant. Nobody's cared about what Hamilton is (the downtown) in the same way that most other cities do, Montreal included. (Has anyone really, really taken a good look at the amount of vacant land in Hamilton? Can anyone name another thriving city where so much land has been sitting for as long as it has in Hamilton?!? The 'business as usual' mindset that I've seen proposed as the city's mentality is shameful. Does anyone in Hamilton, anyone who has any say, any input, have any initiative at all to change things? Or do we need an outsider to come in and shake things up?) -I'm beginning to think that eyes were taken off the ball when the 'regional' approach was initiated back in the days of Anne Jones. Why? Well, to go back to my current pet phrase, looking outward is far more 'sexy' than addressing what in almost every case you can cite defines a city, its downtown. Maybe the shift in emphasis to the 'suburbs' was a pendulum-swing, and therefore no surprise at all; from '69 through the mid80s, Hamilton's downtown was entirely changed. As was noted in your previous article (thanks for the link, the heads-up on that one), what was begun with the greatest of intentions (Jackson Square, etc) suffered from a lack of understanding of the complexities of how cities thrive. And you know what? I see the same thing happening now, with so much emphasis on the 'outer limits' (fantasy reference fully and completely intentional), instead of the 'core' needs.

While I was on the bus the other day (yeah, what's new there?!?) I had a bizarre, self-indulgent thought: that someone rents out a large room in Hamilton, sends out invites and holds a symposium. "Hamilton Imaginings: What Could The Future Hold For It, For Us, For You?" Not accredited. Not associated with any organization, any party, any school of thought. Just a chance for 'dreamers and schemers on the loose' to actually discuss stuff in a free-form way.

Crazy, huh?

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