Monthly Archives: December 2008

Large Diverse Pedestrian Friendly Cities May Escape Economic Downturns

Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard, argues that a large city like New York City may have the capability to re-invent itself and thus not suffer the most severe effects of an economic downturn.   He claims that the density of the urban environment contributes to the resiliency of the city’s economy.

Every older city has survived a number of recessions. Boston has been around for almost 400 years despite having few natural advantages except cranberry bogs and a decent harbor. Over and over again, economic shocks challenged Boston’s survival. Time and time again, smart people learning from each other in a dense city have come up with new ways to thrive.

New York still has an amazing concentration of talent. That talent is more effective because all those smart people are connected because of the city’s extreme population density levels. Historically, human capital — the education and skills of a work force — predicts which cities are able to reinvent themselves and which ones are not. Those people who are continuing to pay high prices for Manhattan real estate are implicitly betting that New York’s human capital will continue to come up with new ways of reinventing the city.

Recycling Our Trash Is Not Enough

The Story of Stuff Movie

The Story of Stuff Movie

Even if we recycled 100 percent of everything we used, it still would not be enough to conserve the planet’s resources.  This is because for every box of stuff we recycle it takes seven boxes of stuff to produce it.  We the consumers don’t pay the full cost of what we consume.  The external costs of our consumption are paid by others – by other people in other countries, by animals and by degradation and poisoning of our environment.   All this is according to Annie Leonard in her 20  minute movie called the Story of Stuff.

Maple Leaf Gardens redevelopment by Loblaws is delayed

Loblaws had promised to have a grocery store up and running by now in the building of the old Maple Leaf Gardens.  Local politicians have been approving residential development in the area based on the promise that Loblaws would develop this amenity.  However, city council is powerless to do anything to further this project because it’s private property.    Maybe they will keep part of the skating rink to provide a tie-in with the past and a much needed indoor skating facility in downtown….one can only hope.

It’s not easy to support public space in Toronto

Recently one of my favourite blogs about Toronto, the Torontoist went under a limited publishing schedule and is being discontinued from the Gothamist network.     Also, the same is happening with NewMindSpace which ran innovative events across Toronto.

No To Big Box in Leslieville

It’s an ongoing saga in Leslieville.  The residents are resisting the incursion of big box Wal-Mart.   The OMB ruling will come down shortly.

Regent Park Redevelopment is on track

It will be interesting to see what happens with Toronto’s Regent Park redevelopment over the next few years.

Merry Christmas

Merry consumerist Christmas.