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2006 07 31
Creative City: Big City = Small Minds?
The Toronto Star's David Olive took a swipe yesterday at the City's newly released "Strategies for a Creative City" plan. Olive thinks the report is another example of Toronto's inability to make the bold, assertive decisions needed to benefit its future.
A recent example is Imagine a Toronto... Strategies for a Creative City, a report on the need to nurture the artistic talents of the city, commissioned by Toronto and Queen's Park and released Monday.
Prepared over two years by a blue-ribbon panel of 17 experts in the arts, media, business and the non-profit sector, it is the wrong report about the wrong topic at the wrong time.

Is Olive right? Does the Creative City report aim too low?

According to Olive, it seems politicians and designers in the city have worshipped at the alter of Jane Jacobs too long. When we should have been making much needed changes to the city's infrastructure, we were hobbled by an anti Robert Mosses world view that said building city infrastructure is bad. I don't buy his argument. What Jacob did was to make us aware that the forces of industrial modernity did not and indeed could not make cities more livable. Her work bought us the time to build an informed language of development that recognizes the tradition of human use.

Add to Jacob's ideas the improved information management and visualization technologies that allows designers and planners to better understand the city's complex interrelationships, and we find Toronto is now well positioned to make big, effective changes. Small steps are important but the city needs some bold infrastructure projects. For example, now that we seem to have enlivened the formerly moribund waterfront it is time to build that rapid transit link from Union Station to Pearson Airport. When we do that we can get rid of the island airport. It would be redundant.

The Creative City report should be applauded but we do need to make some bold steps to show the world just how creative Torontonians really are.



[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 07/31 at 12:52 PM

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