Comment 33168

By Mahesh P. Butani - http://www.MetroHam (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 01:22:59

Really... I don't think the city staffers and politicians have already given up. I saw Harlem, the Bronx and the East Village in New York City in the 80's and - that is what you would really call "giving up".

Our city is not stuck in the status quo. It is just suffering from lack of collective public and private imagination at a very critical phase of its transitioning into the early stages of a regional economy. We don't see this, because we are too caught up in the local blame game.

Strategic errors were made by dismantling the regional structure in our city in the name of efficiencies and parlaying it into a loosely cobbled amalgamation of towns with an appearance of a larger city.

What we have been experiencing in the last ten years is the outcome of that escapade. We may choose to refer to this outcome as a political mess; or choose to call our city, our politicians or council ugly names - None of which will accelerate our growth nor will it make things we don't like disappear any faster.

What we already had in place a decade ago was the structure and potential of 'Polycentricity' - a planning and spatial policy notion, which has been gaining currency over this decade in Europe and other parts of the world.

We dismantled it politically in the name of progress, and we have suffered for it since then.

We still retain the experience and expertise in our communities to build on this notion of Polycentricity to leverage our local economy into an evolving regional one that can distribute economic abundance broadly in the region and absorb many local systemic shocks.

The question is do we have the public and private imagination for making that leap?

Our public discourse would have us believe otherwise -- but already established networks such as the 'Golden Horseshoe Biosciences Network' (GHBN) are proof of the many opportunities waiting to be seized - if we can recalibrate our views of our city via Edward Said's "imagined geographies", and remain focused on the positive.

A look at GBHN's member directory and map can a be refreshing experience for all of us grasping for answers as well as those who seem to have them all.

**** some background on Polycentricity:

Monocentric Versus Polycentric Models in Urban Economics:

Polycentricity and metropolitan governance. A Swiss case study

At Google Books - Preview:
The spatial economy: cities, regions and international trade
By Masahisa Fujita, Paul R. Krugman, Anthony J. Venables

Economics of agglomeration: cities, industrial location, and regional growth
By Masahisa Fujita, Jacques-Fran├žois Thisse

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