A few months back, Toronto's Deputy Mayor started a political flap, stating on the floor of City Council that downtown was no place to raise kids! “Where’s little Ginny? Well, she’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park,” he exclaimed.
Flap, indeed. Urbanists and parents alike were quick to denounce the comment, including me. In a way though, we might thank the Deputy Mayor for saying candidly what unfortunately many politicians, and many parents, might still think.
I heard similar comments from a Calgary council member years ago while I was leading that city's Centre City Plan. We’re dreaming if we think families will move downtown, the Alderman told me.
As Olympics excitement grows in the first week of the London 2012 Games, we in Vancouver watch with great interest, and occasional feelings of deja-vu. Last week in Atlantic Cities, I wrote about Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics experience with Olympic jitters and the host city funk, and the ability of the Games to change cities through the “power of the collective experience.”