Monday, August 9, 2010

Toronto: Let us not end up like Detroit.

Joe Pantalone is fond of saying that if we cut the city's budget by too much we will end up like Detroit. While this is to some extent a valid argument, Pantalone is ignoring the unpleasant truth about Detroit: that it is partly in its current state because it was planned for cars. When a city plans for cars instead of people, it ends up with cars instead of people. Workers drive into the city from more and more distant suburbs until the businesses build business parks close to their workers, completely removing the city from the equation. What is there to keep people in the city at this point? All the street-level shopping has been replaced by decaying malls, the parks have been replaced by parking lots and the cultural activities have moved out to more accessible locations. This is what happens when a city plans for drivers instead of people and this is what George Smitherman seemingly fails to realize. Spacing