Some Great Idea: Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto

By Edward Keenan

Since 2010 Toronto's headlines were fed on by means of the outrageous own foibles and government-slashing, anti-urbanist regulations of Mayor Rob Ford. however the heated debate at urban corridor has obscured an even bigger, decade-long narrative of Toronto's ascending as a mature worldwide urban. It increases questions: What position does a mayor play in a city's temperament and self-confidence? Can a bad mayor make a urban larger by way of forcing its electorate to have interaction? What position is there in our new decentralized, international, open-source global for an autocrat?

Edward Keenan serves as senior editor and lead columnist at The Grid journal in Toronto, Ontario. An eight-time finalist on the nationwide journal Awards, he has written for and edited at Eye Weekly, Spacing journal, and The Walrus.

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The fragmented items are, in essence, the views, understandings and intentions of the collaborators, all of whom are confident that their model of the matter is right … The antidote to fragmentation is shared realizing and shared dedication. ’ The solutions, then, are within the strategy, simply because the issues and classes of any tale lie no longer in its end yet within the unfolding of the plot. And, as I’ve argued all through this ebook, the big-picture solutions to Toronto’s present turning out to be pains – not only for the subsequent mayor and the council she or he leads yet for town as an entire – should be came across through turning to these rules that experience outfitted Toronto: growing extra democracy and infrastructure that harness our range and make allowance it to thrive. in lots of methods, the good fortune and vibrancy of relevant Toronto is a functionality of the sluggish, community-level approaches that created these neighbourhoods and supplied infrastructure that allowed a various group to satisfy its personal wishes. the issues confronted within the much less shiny neighbourhoods of the internal suburbs are a functionality of a strategy of vital making plans that equipped neighbourhoods in keeping with what a few engineer’s plan stated a neighborhood may still wish and be at liberty with. humans speak about de-amalgamation of the previous municipalities that make up Toronto as an answer. yet nearby matters similar to transit and policing wouldn't be larger served via de-amalgamation, and the method curious about untangling many of the parts from one another appears much like attempting to positioned the toothpaste again into the tube. At this degree, a de-amalgamation brought on by means of downtown citizens’ resentment at having Rob Ford foisted on them may volume to little greater than the privileged forsaking the bad – a type of reversal of the ‘white flight’ that hollowed out and depressed American towns within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. it's going to even be forsaking the various variety in Toronto’s inhabitants – ethnic, source of revenue, way of life and another way – that has helped make Toronto nice. we're during this jointly, and the strategies to our difficulties are ones we’ll locate jointly. up to amalgamation has created an id difficulty, our id as a various international urban is inside the complete of the recent Toronto, now not in elements of it. So the answer to our conflicts doesn’t lie in partitioning off the warring segments. certainly, on a few significant infrastructural matters, like transit, it’s changing into transparent we'd like extra local coordination around the GTA. That stated, much might be comprehensive through devolving strength over neighbourhood concerns ever towards the neighbourhood point. some of the proceedings we see rising during the amalgamated city’s historical past – less than all 3 post-amalgamation mayors – emerge from a feeling one of the citizenry that their voices and issues aren't heard at urban corridor. developing methods for individuals to extra without delay impact executive on the ultra-local point is critical all over, however it is principally key in neighbourhoods like Woburn in Scarborough, that are either bodily and demographically far-off from the levers of energy and people who wield them.

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