Urban Fold

Toronto Better Off As Recession Slows Growth

The recession and the end of the age of fast-growth will be a good thing for Toronto, argues Christopher Hume.

"A decade and more of prosperity has forever changed the face of the city. In addition to the now usual clusters of new condo towers, Toronto took advantage of the good times to rebuild much of its infrastructure, cultural and institutional."

"But for all the pain it will cause, the death of the growth-at-any-cost economy could be one of the best things to happen to Toronto and Canada."

"Though inevitable, no one would suggest that the transition to the next economy – whatever it may be – will be smooth. But rather than waste the unique opportunity this crisis presents, we must take advantage of it to create smarter ways of city-building."

"For the GTA and the region beyond, the recession could well turn out to be a desperately needed opportunity to slow down and take a second look. In our rush to remake the city, we have grown accustomed to the sort of bad development and second-rate architecture that abounds in these parts."

Full Story: Good times for smart building



Michael Lewyn's picture

wishful thinking

In some ways, slow growth means more sprawl, not less. Cities become less livable as services get reduced, and public transit is usually the first service to get cut. And as cities become more car-dominated and crime-ridden, there's really no reason for people to stay in the city.

Yes, recessions do reduce the amount of new greenfield development. But which is more "sprawling": a growing city with a lively urban center, good public transit, and some greenfield development (like NYC or SF or Toronto over the past decade), or a no-growth city with a dying center city, automobile-dependent suburbs, and somewhat less greenfield development (think Detroit)? The choice for me is an easy one.

Which means that those of us who want to live in a less sprawling, car-dependent society actually have more of a stake in economic growth than does, say, the road lobby.

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