Comment 79316

By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted July 07, 2012 at 10:23:19

There are several challenges to putting a grocery store (and we really mean supermarket) downtown.

The first is the obvious one detailed here: politics. Municipal politicians have their campaigns funded by developers. The most expensive input for the product developers build is land. So they prefer unserviced greenfields to fully serviced downtown land and the role of council has developed to assist land speculators in winning their bets rather than best representing the city as a whole (and this is true of most municipalities). The fact that one councillor would suggest the money could better be spent on roads bears this out. Roads open up new greenfield development.

The second is amalgamation. It only requires a cursory look at the Hamilton ward map to show the downtown wards represent a clear minority on council. So when it comes to directing dollars away from sprawl to urban renewal ... well, good luck. It also explains, in part, the failure of two way conversion (note the two way conversion has been north/south and not east/west) and the foot dragging on transit initiatives.

The third is that businesses have concluded they need not service communities as in the past. Economies of scale demands local, smaller, neighbourhood based outlets be closed in favour of big box model outlets. And people--or consumers if you prefer--will get in their cars and expend their own resources for the same services to which they could once walk. So, it is not just grocery stores, but also banks and almost any other retail amenity you could name.

Overcoming these challenges is going to require something greater than the isolated struggles of urban activists fighting the same battles in different cities all over North America.

Permalink | Context

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools