Why Toronto's Suburbs are the 'New City'

In the Toronto area, the region's suburbs have evolved in ways that make them fundamentally different from their outdated postwar image. Yet the ways we think and talk about the suburbs haven't kept up with this new reality.
September 27, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Ian Muttoo

"The suburbs have the region’s majority share of population and job growth and are home to major infrastructures such as the airport and universities," say Sean Hertel and Roger Keil. "On these bases suburbia can no longer be considered subordinate to the City of Toronto. But still it is. Prejudices have power over facts – clouding our view of what the suburbs truly have become and why, most importantly, that should matter."

Hertel and Keil, who have been engaged in a three-year effort to develop "new approaches for planning, building, servicing and governing Toronto’s ever-growing and diversifying periphery", have just issued a new report that describes their recommendations for shaping the region's suburbs for their "urban future".  

"The suburbs have become, like the city centres before them, the new arenas for forming and contesting politics, modes of governance, ways of life, and the forms and notions of community," they conclude. "Taken one step further, the suburb has become the new city. And a new kind of city – a 'regional city.'”

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Published on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 in Toronto Star
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