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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 25, 2010 at 20:31:05
It's capital, plain and simple. If you have lots of power, influence and capital (either landholdings or the means to acquire them), it makes a hell of a lot of sense to push for whatever option uses the most capital, takes the least work and provides the most reliable returns. The providers and consumers of the goods and services, as well as community members, though, require something far different: a large variety of small, affordable spaces in which to experiment - studios, stores, workshops galleries, appartments, cafes etc.
Guess which one is represented by a block of shop-fronted heritage buildings, and which one is represented by a Taco Bell.
Want to empower the people of Hamilton to create a better city? Try empowering the people themselves. We have more un-or-under-employed skilled workers than we know what to do with, and more idle factories and storefronts idle than we can handle, and the few places (ie: the Imperial Cotton Centre etc) which have been given over to less profitable but more productive groups like artists and artisans have been a tremendous success.
How about free rent in a few of the many empty shops in Jackson Square to whoever can create the most comfortable spaces for people to simply chill, rest and gather? Somewhere that patrons could drink their coffees, read their newspapers and scratch their lotto tickets that's more pleasant than the food courts or hallway benches? A few discarded furnishings from swanky offices in the towers, some volunteers, and perhaps even some musicians and local art. A few dedicated people could do this without spending a single dollar, and anyone familiar with any neighbourhood in the lower city could probably name 10 places where something like this off the top of their head.
"Today, the notion of progress in a single line without goal or limit seems perhaps the most parochial notion of a very parochial century." — Lewis Mumford
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