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Found 36 results

  1. The small town of Triberg, Germany is creating big headlines these days, after its mayor designated a number of difficult or tricky parking spaces for men-only. Mayor Gallus Strobel has risked countless accusations of sexism after marking the town's toughest parking spots with a male or female symbol depending on their level of difficulty. "Men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges... There are also great women drivers who are, of course, most welcome!" Mayor Strobel told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The idea behind this new policy was designed to attract ambitious drivers to utilize more difficult spaces. Parking spaces which are wider, well-lit and close to exits have been painted with female symbols, while narrow, obstructed and awkwardly angled spots have been labeled with male symbols. So far the parking challenge has been met with mixed opinions, however its also increased tourism to the area, as countless drivers have traveled to the small town in order to test their parking abilities. A major study in Britain earlier this year showed that while women might be slower at parking, they are more accurate and have better technique. The survey also suggests men liked to "pose park" by opting to park in a smaller spots, even when a larger spot is available. http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/10/12664764-german-mayor-designates-parking-spaces-just-for-men?lite
  2. http://www.westislandgazette.com/news/28915 Dorval considering options for major facelift City wants public input on its draft of master urban plan Albert Kramberger The Gazette Wednesday, March 14, 2012 The city of Dorval is looking to make a few changes in how it looks - everything from revitalizing its waterfront to giving Dorval Ave. a facelift. The next step in preparing a new sustainable master urban plan is a public consultation set for March 26. The city has prepared a draft of its master plan, a general statement of the direction the city should follow over the next two decades regarding development, zoning and quality of life concerns as well as promoting and encouraging "greener" options. It now hopes to gauge input from citizens before adopting the formal version later this fall, said Mayor Edgar Rouleau. Among its proposals, the city aims to make its waterfront along Lake St. Louis more user-friendly and animated, possibly installing outdoor exercise equipment at Millennium Park. As well, it will consider purchasing select private lands near existing cityowned sites, like the Forest and Stream Club, should they ever come on the market, the mayor said. "There are sites along Lakeshore that may, in five or 10 years, become available and the council should at that time evaluate if it's worthwhile to acquire," Rouleau said of potentially adding to publicly owned space along the lake. "Is it going to expensive? As you know, yes." While the city is also looking at encouraging highdensity residential develop-ment, especially around the Pine Beach and Dorval train stations and along Bouchard Blvd., it will have to be measured in light of respecting the single-family home residential character in much of the city. There is also a goal to reverse an aging demographic trend by attracting young families and immigrants, the latter of which are expected to account for more than 30 per cent of Dorval's population by 2024. As of 2011, Dorval had about 18,615 residents and approximately 8,000 households, with an additional 2,000 housing units envisioned by the city within a decade, including more affordable housing. "Residents want the population to increase, but they don't want to lose that residential sector that we have," Rouleau said. "We're not going to change that, except those few big lots we have, like the one at the corner of De la Presentation and Lakeshore, which will soon be developed," he said. The city also aims to revitalize the commercial area on Dorval Ave. and make it more attractive. For example, by allowing outdoor terraces, and making it safer for both pedestrians and cyclists. A study has already been commissioned to prepare some proposals, the mayor said. "We want it more friendly, but the challenge is that we cannot widen the road," Rouleau said of Dorval Ave. "Whatever we extend, we have to take it from somewhere else. Right now it's two lanes each way with an island in the middle and sidewalks on both sides," he said, adding that perhaps the avenue could be reduced to one lane in each direction with a narrow median strip to allow for something like a bike path.
  3. New York City fears return to 1970s Tue Jan 27, 2009 By Joan Gralla http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...50Q6IH20090127
  4. The jury members are: - Melvin Charney, architect; - Odile Decq, architect and Director of the École Spéciale d'Architecture, Paris; - Jacques Des Rochers, Curator of Canadian Art, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; - Michel Dionne, architect, Cooper, Robertson & Partners, New York; - Raphaël Fischler, urban planner and professor at the School of Urban Planning, McGill University; - Mario Masson, landscape architect and Division Manager, Service du développement culturel, de la qualité du milieu de vie et de la diversité ethnoculturelle, Ville de Montréal; - Alessandra Ponte, associate professor, School of Architecture, Université de Montréal; - Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, landscape architect and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at Université de Montréal. Instructions for prospective entrants (Courtesy of CNW Telbec)
  5. Cataclaw

    Longueuil 2020

    Voici ma vision pour le secteur du bord de l'eau. The situation is simple. We have a high-density area surrounding a transit hub, a good example of transit oriented development... but it is locked in by highways. Furthermore, the "Old Longueuil" area, the real cultural, historical and recreational area of Longueuil is blocked off from this downtown area as a result. Finally, the waterfront is also isolated by autoroute 20. This isn't just some random waterfront either.. this is PRIME space. Just across from Sainte-Helene island and Montreal. There's a reason throngs of people come here to watch the fireworks in the summer! The view is exceptional! Solution : Mettre l'autoroute 20 sous terre ainsi qu'une portion du boulevard Taschereau et réunir le bord de l'eau avec Place Charles-Lemoyne (le "centre ville" de Longueuil) et le secteur du Vieux-Longueuil historique (l'autre "centre ville", et selon moi, le vrai) - Faire de cette région un vrai pole économique, culturel, récréotouristique, etc. Optimistic? Ambitious? Naive? Perhaps... i know this project would be hilariously expensive, but damn, imagine the cohesive and dynamic, livable and exciting Longueuil city center that would emerge! Please give me your feedback... i'm very interseted in hearing what you have to say! Merci beaucoup tout le monde! (Metro Charland named after the Montreal South mayor - Montreal South being the small town originally located on that land, eventually merged into Longueuil. Boul Isidore Hurteau named after the first mayor of Longueuil) AVANT APRES
  6. Investing in infrastructure A question of trust Chicago pioneers a new way of paying for infrastructure May 12th 2012 | CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition FOR decades America has underinvested in infrastructure—even though poor roads, delayed flights, crumbling bridges and inefficient buildings are an expensive burden. Deficiencies in roads, bridges and transport systems alone cost households and businesses nearly $130 billion in 2010, mostly because of higher running costs and travel delays. The calculated underinvestment in transport infrastructure alone runs to about $94 billion a year. This filters through to all parts of the economy and increases costs at the point of use of many raw materials, and thereby reduces the productivity and competitiveness of American firms and their goods. Overall the American Society of Civil Engineers reckons that this underinvestment will end up costing each family in the country about $10,600 between 2010 and 2020. Yet though investment in infrastructure would bring clear gains in efficiency, there is little money around, and all levels of government are reluctant or unable to pile up more debt. Traditional sources of funding, such as the (flat) tax on petrol, have delivered a dwindling amount of revenue as soaring prices at the pump have persuaded people to drive less. The federal government has been unable to get Congress to agree on other ways to generate new sources of funding for transport, to the point where money for new highways has almost dried up. For years America has talked about a federal infrastructure bank, which would blend private and public finance and would yield returns over a long number of years. Various other countries have tried the idea, but it has never caught on in the United States. Barack Obama wants $10 billion in funding as initial capital for a national infrastructure bank as part of his jobs plan. So far the idea has gone nowhere in Congress. In March the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced that his city could not wait for such help from elsewhere and will go it alone. With the speedy approval of the city council he created a new breed of infrastructure finance known as the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT). The trust is not so much an infrastructure bank with money to hand out, but a city effort to match public infrastructure needs to private investors on a case-by-case basis; something more like an exchange. The city will finance the running costs of the trust itself to the tune of $2.5m. Several financial institutions are already lined up to make investments totalling $1.7 billion, among them Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Ullico, Citibank and JPMorgan. The background to this is that Mr Emanuel wants to spend about $7 billion to rebuild the city of Chicago—on everything from streets, to parks, to the water system, schools, commuter rail and the main airport. Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the mayor, says the city cannot ignore the future as it deals with the present. But raising the money needed for new investment, while maintaining the current infrastructure, is a daunting task. The CIT allows Mr Emanuel to tap the private sector for money, rather than just raising taxes and borrowing. The private sector will invest money in projects and get it back in the shape of tolls, user fees, premium pricing or even tax breaks. The first project is an investment of $225m to make city buildings more energy-efficient. This is expected to reduce annual energy costs by $20m, and the savings will then be used to pay back the investors. The CIT will provide some capital, bond financing and grants. It will also offer tax-exempt debt to entice investors. Returns on investment could vary from 3% on tax-exempt bonds to 8% for equity partners. Private involvement should, in theory, improve the quality of projects that get undertaken. A politically-expedient but financially dubious project would be unlikely to generate enough money to interest private investors. Padding, short cuts or shoddy construction are less likely to be tolerated. And city leaders might in turn overcome their aversion to the efficient pricing of public resources such as parking and busy roads. At the moment, investor appetites are keen and the supply of potential projects looks ample. The project is causing some anxiety in Chicago, though. Although the new trust would leave all the resulting investment under public ownership, the city’s recent bitter experience with a bungled 75-year lease of its parking meters under a previous mayor has left residents fearful. And with reason. For example, experience with public-private partnerships shows that cost-benefit estimates can sometimes prove wildly optimistic. When projects go bad—leaving half-built roads and schools—they become a public problem. Private investment might well end up being recouped in higher user fees. Mr Emanuel is well aware that other cities are watching this experiment with interest. The mayor is a hugely ambitious man, who is undoubtedly keen to leave a lasting legacy, and who some believe may want to remain as mayor for a period of Daleyian proportions. He, of all people, will want to build something that other cities will want to copy, not avoid. http://www.economist.com/node/21554579
  7. * Find this article at: * http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1930822,00.html
  8. I haven't seen this article posted anywhere. Given the challenges presented with putting up the Mackay project I suspect this doesn't bode well for future tall development. Megaproject proposals put Montreal at 'major crossroads': founder Lambert http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/think+tank+will+conscience+mayor/2104533/story.html
  9. By Anne Sutherland, The Gazette Benoit Labonté, borough mayor of Ville Marie, will be tabling a motion tonight that will provide for eight days of free parking downtown in an effort to help merchants in these tough economic times. He will propose that city parking meters will be free from 9 a.m. on Dec. 20 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 28. The gross loss of revenue from those metered spots will be $800,000, but Labonté said the net loss to the Ville Marie borough will be between $100,000 and $150,000. “We’re talking about one week in the year to help our tax-paying merchants, a kind of subsidy,” Labonté said. “The message we’re giving to citizens is come downtown to shop and don’t go to the suburbs.” Labonté and his Vision Montreal councillors have a three to two advantage on the borough council, so the motion is expected to pass. --
  10. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/keywords-to-expand-its-montreal-studio-creating-100-jobs-577614131.html MONTRÉAL, Canada and DUBLIN, Ireland, April 29, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Keywords Studios, an international technical service provider to the global video game industry, announced today that it intends to expand further in Montréal, creating 100 new jobs within the next three years. This announcement was made during a visit of The Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Montréal Metropolitan Community, at Keywords headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and after his discussions with Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios. We love the city and we love the quality of the talent we can find in Montréal", commented Mr Day. "Since coming to Montréal in 2010, we've had great results there and we want to continue this success." Keywords offers technical services to the gaming industry. Functional testing and localization testing are the main tasks accomplished in Montréal. Keywords' clients includes the world's best-known developers, among which, to name a few, Ubisoft, WB Games, Zynga, King and Sony. They have worked on thousands of different titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5: Guardians, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Candy Crush, Clash Royale and Mobile Strike. "Keywords' decision to continue to invest in our metropolis illustrates once again Montréal's strength in the video game industry", said The Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Montréal Metropolitan Community, during his visit of Keywords' headquarters, part of his European trip. "What's more, it does highlight the fact that the whole gaming cluster plays a vital role in our economy and that Montréal is the place to be." Montréal International, Greater Montréal's investment promotion agency, has provided support to Keywords Studios over the years. "Along with our government partners, we've been working with Keywords since their arrival in Montréal, stated Stéphane Paquet, Vice President - Investment Greater Montréal at Montréal International. Their reinvestment is most welcome and the whole team at MI look forward to continuing working with Keywords on other projects." "I hope that this most recent announcement is only a first step, added Mr Day, since we are currently studying further more ambitious possibilities for our Montréal studio." Keywords' Montréal studio currently employs around 350 employees.
  11. meme s'ils ne sont pas non plus immunises contre les depassements de couts ou les delais dans les projets, on doit avouer que ca dors pas au gaz, dans la region new yorkaise. moins de deux semaines apres la liberation de milliards de $ en fonds publiques du a l'abandon d'un projet de tunnel sous la hudson river, voila ce qui est sorti ce matin: -------------------------- Let 7 train go to NJ: Mike By TOM NAMAKO Transit Reporter Last Updated: 5:27 AM, November 17, 2010 Posted: 1:20 AM, November 17, 2010 Mayor Bloomberg wants to extend the No. 7 train into New Jersey -- the first time any New York subway train would leave city limits. The mayor's plan would continue the subway line from its stop at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, which is still under construction, to Secaucus, NJ, where it would connect to every New Jersey Transit suburban line. "Like others, we're looking at -- and open to discussing -- creative, fiscally responsible alternatives," Andrew Brent, a spokesman for Deputy Mayor Robert Steel, said last night. The idea, which is still in a very preliminary stage, would be to use the partially built tunnel that would have brought Amtrak and NJ Transit trains to Penn Station before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed it, citing potential cost overruns. The feds and Port Authority had each committed $3 billion to the original project, and that money could go toward funding the No. 7 extension. "Extending the 7 line to New Jersey could address many of the region's transportation-capacity issues at a fraction of the original tunnel's cost," Brent said. The estimated cost would be $5.3 billion -- about half that of the original plan, sources said. The West 34th Street station is slated to open in December 2013. -------------------------- http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/let_train_go_to_nj_mike_TakEl5Qp50CremjgaK17HO si j'ai bien compris, ce projet relirais la nouvelle extention au tunnel du service 7 prevu jusqu'a la 11e avenue et le nouveau tunnel sous la hudson river construit presqu'en totalite, mais maintenant abandonne.
  12. Je sais que Chicago et Montréal sont des villes différentes, et on peut nommées ces différences. Chicago, elle aussi... est une des plus grandes villes dans son pays. vit avec la corruption dans le présent et a vécu la dominance de la mafia dans le passé. on des élus qui sont allés en prison ou q'iraient. appartient à une structure métropolitaine trop bureaucratique. était plus une ville nationale dans son passé mais à progressivement devenu plus régionale. est renommée pour son architecture. essaye de convaincre des grandes conférences internationales de choisir leur ville pour montrer quelle est encore «dans le game.» n'est pas une ville où les gens faut s'installer selon leur profession comme New York ou Los Angeles. fait du rattrapage vis-à-vis ses concurrents, dont New York et Los Angeles. Maintenant je vais prendre le rôle de Simon Durivage (ou Peter Mansbridge, selon vos goûts): Est-ce qu'il y a des leçons pour Montréal, en ce qui concerne la corruption, la bureaucratie et la perte du statut national (Canada)? La raison pour laquelle je pose cette question ce que Chicago est une ville dynamique avec quelques de les mêmes problèmes que Montréal. En ce qui concerne nos problèmes, je trouve qu'on a plus de liens avec Chicago qu'avec Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary. The Second-Rate City? http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_chicago.html Chicago’s swift, surprising decline presents formidable challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel. In the 1990s, Chicago enthusiastically joined the urban renaissance that swept through many of America’s major cities. Emerging from the squalor and decay of the seventies and eighties, Chicago grew for the first time since 1950—by more than 100,000 people over the decade. The unemployment rate in the nation’s third-biggest city was lower than in its two larger rivals, and per-capita income growth was higher. Chicago’s metropolitan area racked up 560,000 new jobs, more than either New York’s or Los Angeles’s in raw numbers and over twice as many on a percentage basis. A rising Chicago spent lavishly to improve itself, investing in a new elevated line to Midway Airport, a major street-beautification program, and new cultural facilities costing hundreds of millions of dollars. The capstone was Millennium Park, a $450 million showplace featuring work by such celebrities as architect Frank Gehry and sculptor Anish Kapoor. The idea was to portray Chicago as a “global city,” and it was successful, to judge from the responses in the national media. As Millennium Park opened (a few years late) in the mid-2000s, The Economist celebrated Chicago as “a city buzzing with life, humming with prosperity, sparkling with new buildings, new sculptures, new parks, and generally exuding vitality.” The Washington Post dubbed Chicago “the Milan of the Midwest.” Newsweek added, “From a music scene powered by the underground footwork energy of juke to adventurous three-star restaurants, high-stepping fashion, and hot artists, Chicago is not only ‘the city that works,’ in Mayor Daley’s slogan, but also an exciting, excited city in which all these glittery worlds shine.” But despite the chorus of praise, it’s becoming evident that the city took a serious turn for the worse during the first decade of the new century. The gleaming towers, swank restaurants, and smart shops remain, but Chicago is experiencing a steep decline quite different from that of many other large cities. It is a deeply troubled place, one increasingly falling behind its large urban brethren and presenting a host of challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel. Begin with Chicago’s population decline during the 2000s, an exodus of more than 200,000 people that wiped out the previous decade’s gains. Of the 15 largest cities in the United States in 2010, Chicago was the only one that lost population; indeed, it suffered the second-highest total loss of any city, sandwiched between first-place Detroit and third-place, hurricane-wrecked New Orleans. While New York’s and L.A.’s populations clocked in at record highs in 2010, Chicago’s dropped to a level not seen since 1910. Chicago is also being “Europeanized,” with poorer minorities leaving the center of the city and forced to its inner suburbs: 175,000 of those 200,000 lost people were black. The demographic disaster extends beyond city limits. Cook County as a whole lost population during the 2000s; among America’s 15 largest counties, the only other one to lose population was Detroit’s Wayne County. The larger Chicago metropolitan area grew just 4 percent—less than half the national average. What little growth Chicagoland had, then, was concentrated in its exurban fringes, belying the popular narrative of a return to the city. And even that meager growth resulted almost entirely from new births and immigrants, rather than domestic migration: over the decade, the Chicago metro area suffered a net loss of more than 550,000 people to other parts of the country. Chicago’s economy also performed poorly during the first decade of the century. That was a tough decade all over the United States, of course, but the Chicago region lost 7.1 percent of its jobs—the worst performance of any of the country’s ten largest metro areas. Chicago’s vaunted Loop, the second-largest central business district in the nation, did even worse, losing 18.6 percent of its private-sector jobs, according to the Chicago Loop Alliance. Per-capita GDP grew faster in New York and L.A. than in Chicago; today, Chicago’s real per-capita GDP ranks eighth out of the country’s ten largest metros. Fiscal problems are commonplace these days among local governments, but Chicago’s are particularly grim and far predate the Great Recession. Cook County treasurer Maria Pappas estimates that within the city of Chicago, there’s a stunning $63,525 in total local government liabilities per household. Not all of this is city debt; the region’s byzantine political structure includes many layers of government, including hundreds of local taxing districts. But pensions for city workers alone are $12 billion underfunded. If benefits aren’t reduced, the city will have to increase its contributions to the pension fund by $710 million a year for the next 50 years, according to the Civic Federation. Chicago’s annual budget, too, has been structurally out of balance, running an annual deficit of about $650 million in recent years. As dire as Chicago’s finances are, those of Illinois are in even worse shape. The primary cause, once again, is pensions, which are underfunded to the tune of $83 billion. Retirees’ future health care is underfunded an additional $43 billion. There’s a lot of regular debt, too—about $44 billion of it. And Illinois, like Chicago, has run large deficits for some time. Despite raising the individual income tax 66 percent and the corporate tax 46 percent in 2011, the state is projected to end the current fiscal year with an accumulated deficit of $5.2 billion. While California has made headlines by issuing IOUs to companies to which it owes money, Illinois has taken an easier route: it just stopped paying its bills, at one point last year racking up 208,000 of them, totaling $4.5 billion. Some businesses have gone unpaid for nine months or even longer. Unsurprisingly, Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state. Unable to pay its bills, it is de facto bankrupt. What accounts for Chicago’s miserable performance in the 2000s? The fiscal mess is the easiest part to account for: it is the result of poor leadership and powerful interest groups that benefit from the status quo. Public-union clout is literally written into the state constitution, which prohibits the diminution of state employees’ retirement benefits. Tales of abuse abound, such as the recent story of two lobbyists for a local teachers’ union who, though they had never held government jobs, obtained full government pensions by doing a single day of substitute teaching apiece. If the state and city had honestly funded the obligations they were taking on, their generosity to their workers would be less of a problem. But they didn’t. As City Journal senior editor Steven Malanga has written for RealClearMarkets, Illinois “essentially wanted to be a low-tax (or at least a moderate-tax) state with high services and rich employee pensions.” That’s an obviously unsustainable policy formula. The state has also employed a series of gimmicks to cover up persistent deficits—for example, using borrowed money to shore up its pension system and even to pay for current operations. At the city level, Mayor Richard M. Daley papered over deficits with such tricks as a now-infamous parking-meter lease. The city sold the right to parking revenues for 75 years to get $1.1 billion up front. Just two years into the deal, all but $180 million had been spent. The debt and obligations begin to explain why jobs are leaving Chicago. It isn’t a matter, as in many cities, of high taxes driving away businesses and residents. Though Chicago has the nation’s highest sales tax, Illinois isn’t a high-tax state; it scores 28th in the Tax Foundation’s ranking of the best state tax climates. But the sheer scale of the state’s debts means that last year’s income-tax hikes are probably just a taste of what’s to come. (Cutting costs is another option, but that may be tricky, since Illinois is surprisingly lean in some areas already; it has the lowest number of state government employees per capita of any state, for example.) The expectation of higher future taxes has cast a cloud over the state’s business climate and contributed to the bleak economic numbers. But that isn’t the whole story. Many of Chicago’s woes derive from the way it has thrown itself into being a “global city” and the uncomfortable fact that its enthusiasm may be delusional. Most true global cities are a dominant location of a major industry: finance in New York, entertainment in Los Angeles, government in Washington, and so on. That position lets them harvest outsize tax revenues that can be fed back into sustaining the region. Thus New York uses Wall Street money, perhaps to too great an extent, to pay its bills (see “Wall Street Isn’t Enough,” page 12). Chicago, however, isn’t the epicenter of any important macro-industry, so it lacks this wealth-generation engine. It has some specialties, such as financial derivatives and the design of supertall skyscrapers, but they’re too small to drive the city. The lack of a calling-card industry that can generate huge returns is perhaps one reason Chicago’s per-capita GDP is so low. It also means that there aren’t many people who have to be in Chicago to do business. Plenty of financiers have to settle in New York, lots of software engineers must move to Silicon Valley, but few people will pay any price or bear any burden for the privilege of doing business in Chicago. Chicago’s history militates against its transforming itself into a global city on the scale of New York, London, or Hong Kong. Yes, its wealth was built by dominating America’s agro-industrial complex—leading the way in such industries as railroads, meatpacking, lumber processing, and grain processing—but that is long gone, and the high-end services jobs that remain to support those sectors aren’t a replacement. Chicago as a whole is less a global city than the unofficial capital of the Midwest, and its economy may still be more tied to that troubled region than it would like to admit. Like the Midwest generally, parts of Chicago suffer from a legacy of deindustrialization: blighted neighborhoods, few jobs, a lack of investment, and persistent poverty. Chicago is also the “business service center of the Midwest, serving regional markets and industries,” Chicago Fed economist Bill Testa wrote in 2007; as a result, “Chicago companies’ prospects for growth are somewhat limited.” It’s easy to understand why being a global city is the focus of civic leadership. Who wouldn’t want the cachet of being a “command node” of the global economy, as urbanists put it? It’s difficult, too, to think of a different template for Chicago to follow; its structural costs are too high for it easily to emulate Texas cities and become a low-cost location. But just because the challenge is stiff doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be tackled. Chicago isn’t even trying; rather, it’s doubling down on the global-city square. Senator Mark Kirk wants to make O’Hare the most “Asia-friendly” airport in America and lure flights to central China, for example. A prominent civic leader suggests that the city should avoid branding itself as part of the Midwest. One of Mayor Emanuel’s signature moves to date has been luring the NATO summit to Chicago. Another reason for Chicago’s troubles is that its business climate is terrible, especially for small firms. When the state pushed through the recent tax increases, certain big businesses had the clout to negotiate better deals for themselves. For example, the financial exchanges threatened to leave town until the state legislature gave them a special tax break, with an extension of a tax break for Sears thrown in for good measure. And so the deck seems to be stacked against the little guys, who get stuck with the bill while the big boys are plied with favors and subsidies. It also hurts small businesses that Chicago operates under a system called “aldermanic privilege.” Matters handled administratively in many cities require a special ordinance in Chicago, and ordinances affecting a specific council district—called a “ward” in Chicago—can’t be passed unless the city council member for that ward, its “alderman,” signs off. One downside of the system is that, as the Chicago Reader reported, over 95 percent of city council legislation is consumed by “ward housekeeping” tasks. More important is that it hands the 50 aldermen nearly dictatorial control over what happens in their wards, from zoning changes to sidewalk café permits. This dumps political risk onto the shoulders of every would-be entrepreneur, who knows that he must stay on the alderman’s good side to be in business. It’s also a recipe for sleaze: 31 aldermen have been convicted of corruption since 1970. Red tape is another problem for small businesses. Outrages are legion. Scooter’s Frozen Custard was cited by the city for illegally providing outdoor chairs for customers—after being told by the local alderman that it didn’t need a permit. Logan Square Kitchen, a licensed and inspected shared-kitchen operation for upscale food entrepreneurs, has had to clear numerous regulatory hurdles: each of the companies using its kitchen space had to get and pay for a separate license and reinspection, for example, and after the city retroactively classified the kitchen as a banquet hall, its application for various other licenses was rejected until it provided parking spaces. An entrepreneur who wanted to open a children’s playroom to serve families visiting Northwestern Memorial Hospital was told that he needed to get a Public Place of Amusement license—which he couldn’t get, it turned out, because the proposed playroom was too close to a hospital! And these are exactly the kind of hip, high-end businesses that the city claims to want. Who else stands a chance if even they get caught in a regulatory quagmire? As Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Roper has noted, “unnecessary and burdensome regulation” puts Chicago “at a competitive disadvantage with other cities.” Companies also fear Cook County’s litigation environment, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called the most unfair and unreasonable in the country. It’s not hard to figure out why Chief Executive ranked Illinois 48th on its list of best states in which to do business. Chicago’s notorious corruption interferes with attempts to fix things. Since 1970, 340 officials in Chicago and Cook County have been convicted of corruption. So have three governors. The corruption has been bipartisan: both Governor George Ryan, a Republican, and Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, are currently in federal prison. A recent study named Chicago the most corrupt city in the United States. But an even greater problem than outright corruption is Chicago’s culture of clout, a system of personal loyalty and influence radiating from city hall. Influencing the mayor, and influencing the influencers on down the line, is how you get things done. There is only one power structure in the city—including not just politicians but the business and social elite and their hangers-on—and it brings to mind the court of Louis XIV: when conflicts do arise, they are palace intrigues. One’s standing is generally not, as in most cities, the result of having an independent power base that others must respect; it is the result of personal favor from on high. One drawback with this system is that it practically demands what columnist Greg Hinz calls a “Big Daddy”–style leader to sustain itself. Another is that fear of being kicked out of the circle looms large in the minds of important Chicagoans. Beginning in 2007, Mayor Daley launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympics. Later, commentator Ramsin Canon observed that Daley “was able to get everybody that mattered—everybody—on board behind the push. . . . Nobody, from the largest, most conservative institutions to the most active progressive advocacy group, was willing to step out against him.” These organizations have good reason to fear reprisal for not toeing the line. When Daley signed his disastrous parking-meter deal, an advocacy group called the Active Transportation Alliance issued a critical report. After a furious reaction by the Daley administration, the organization issued a groveling retraction. “I would like to simply state that we should not have published this report,” said executive director Rob Sadowsky. “I am embarrassed that it not only contains factual errors, but that it also paints an incorrect interpretation of the lease’s overall goals.” Sadowsky is no longer in Chicago. It’s easy to see how fiascoes like the parking-meter lease happen where civic culture is rotten and new ideas can’t get a hearing. Chicago’s location already isolates it somewhat from outside views. Combine that with the culture of clout, and you get a city that’s too often an echo chamber of boosterism lacking a candid assessment of the challenges it faces. Some of those challenges defy easy solutions: no government can conjure up a calling-card industry, and it isn’t obvious how Chicago could turn around the Midwest. Mayor Emanuel is hobbled by some of the deals of the past—the parking-meter lease, for example, and various union contracts that don’t expire until 2017 and that Daley signed to guarantee labor peace during the city’s failed Olympic bid. But there’s a lot that Emanuel and Chicago can do, starting with facing the fiscal mess head-on. Emanuel has vowed to balance the budget without gimmicks. He cut spending in his 2012 budget by 5.4 percent. He wants to save money by letting private companies bid to provide city services. He’s found some small savings by better coordination with Cook County. Major surgery remains to be done, however, including a tough renegotiation of union contracts, merging some functions with county government, and some significant restructuring of certain agencies, such as the fire department. By far the most important item for both the city and state is pension reform for existing workers—a politically and legally challenging project, to say the least. To date, only limited reforms have passed: the state changed its retirement age, but only for new hires. Next is to improve the business climate by reforming governance and rules. This includes curtailing aldermanic privilege, shrinking the overly large city council, and radically pruning regulations. Emanuel has already gotten some votes of confidence from the city’s business community, recently announcing business expansions with more than 8,000 jobs, though they’re mostly from big corporate players. Chicago also needs something even harder to achieve: wholesale cultural change. It needs to end its obsession with being solely a global city, look for ways to reinvigorate its role as capital of the Midwest, and provide opportunities for its neglected middle and working classes, not just the elites. This means more focus on the basics of good governance and less focus on glamour. Chicago must also forge a culture of greater civic participation and debate. You can’t address your problems if everyone is terrified of stepping out of line and admitting that they exist. Here, at least, Emanuel can set the tone. In March, he publicly admitted that Chicago had suffered a “lost decade,” a promisingly candid assessment, and he has tapped former D.C. transportation chief Gabe Klein to run Chicago’s transportation department, rather than picking a Chicago insider. Continuing to welcome outsiders and dissident voices will help dilute the culture of clout. Fixing Chicago will be a big, difficult project, but it’s necessary. The city’s sparkling core may continue to shine, and magazines may continue to applaud the global city on Lake Michigan—but without a major change in direction, Chicago can expect to see still more people and jobs fleeing for more hospitable locales. Aaron M. Renn is an urban analyst, consultant, and publisher of the urban policy website The Urbanophile.
  13. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010 Expropriate Overdale! Demolition: within minutes pulleys, chains and trucks can transform a visual touchstone, place of fabulous living bricks and mortar and vibrant history and memories into a pile of junk to be trucked off. This is the fate that the city has decreed for the Lower Main and one of its most unique and liveliest of spots - the Cafe Cleopatra. What's more shocking is that the city plans to expropriate the properties and simply hand them over to another owner, a practice that's considered ethically dubious at best. If indeed the city proposes to tread in those murky waters, we propose that they set their sights further west. Over two decades ago the city of Montreal allowed landowners Douglas Cohen and Robert Landau to demolish a neighbourhood of about seven buidings buildings housing about 100 people at the corner of Mackay and René-Lévesque. The city could easily have refused them permission to demolish the structures, as most suggested that the buildings be integrated into the larger project that the duo proposed. But Cohen and Landau insisted that their $500 million condo project could never happen unless the entire block was razed. The city blinked and ordered the tenants out and demolished the buildings. Mayor Dore and his assistant John Gardiner suffered a major blow to their credibility and their powerful MCM party started a downhill spiral that ended when they were voted out of power. Meanwhile the owners never kept their promise to build condos on the property. Two decades later the owner Robert Landau has not only failed to build anything on the land but he's created an urban parking hell eyesore where a vibrant neighbourhood once stood. Robert Landau also runs Landau Fine Art Gallery at Mackay and Sherbrooke. Landau's family money comes from the fur business. He opposed the greening of Mackay last year. He has sought to demolish the last remaining structure on the property, which has considerable historic value. Landau has some sort of British accent even though he's a Montrealer. He said in an interview "you know that you can trust us." Get the picture? Landau looks like he'll be alive for a few more years and he seems unable or unwilling to get anything done on the precious downtown block. The city should expropriate and resell the land to someone to build on the land. An indoor parking lot could be incorporated so even those who like to park their cars there could still be accommodated. Montreal's city administration was tricked and betrayed and burnt by the Overdale affair but it can now make things right by some forceful action that it has claimed to be willing to take in much less justifiable circumstances. Mayor Tremblay claims he's willing to use this tool, he should use some wisdom to discern the proper place to use it. http://coolopolis.blogspot.com/2010/02/expropriate-overdale.html
  14. Mayors to release national transit strategy March 5 in Montreal MONTREAL, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Federation of CanadianMunicipalities (FCM) and its Big City Mayors' Caucus will release theirproposed national transit strategy at a news conference on March 5 inMontreal. Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay and Toronto Mayor David Miller will briefnews media from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. << - What: FCM releases national transit strategy - When: Monday, March 5, 2007 - 10:30 a.m. - Where: Hall of Honour, Montreal City Hall, 275 Notre-Dame East, Montreal >> A technical briefing will be held for journalists in French and Englishat 9:30 a.m. in Room #4.100 (4th Floor), Montreal City Hall, 275 Notre-DameEast, Montreal. Journalists may also participate in the briefing by telephone. Call1-866-219-7782 and enter access code 313264 at the prompt. T he NationalTransit strategy document will be available on the FCM website (www.fcm.ca) at9:00 a.m.For further information: Massimo Bergamini, (613) 907-6247, FCM; MauriceGingues, (613) 907-6395, FCM; Darren Becker, Cabinet du maire et du comitéexécutif, (514) 872-6412, François Goneau, Division des relations avec lesmédias, (514) 868-5859
  15. City, 'burbs broker pact 'A win-win scenario' Montreal gets more autonomy and new powers of taxation; island suburbs spared millions in shared costs; property owners to get single tax bill Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay leads Municipal Affairs Minister Nathalie Normandeau (left) and Westmount Mayor Karin Marks to a news conference at city hall. Two deals signed yesterday amend Bill 22, a bid to resolve a power feud between Montreal and the suburbs. LINDA GYULAI AND DAVID JOHNSTON, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Peace was declared yesterday by the municipalities of Montreal Island, and with it comes new tax powers, greater autonomy and special status for the city of Montreal. Mayor Gérald Tremblay, the mayors of the 15 island suburbs and prominent Quebec cabinet ministers announced they had brokered an accord to revamp the agglomeration council that manages island-wide services and has been a source of acrimony since the suburbs demerged from Montreal in 2006. Taxpayers in the suburbs would now receive one tax bill instead of two, while their cities and towns would regain control over maintenance of major roads in their areas and be spared millions of dollars in shared costs with Montreal. And, under a separate deal with Montreal, Quebec agrees to grant a long-standing wish of Tremblay and previous Montreal mayors for more clout and for the power to raise revenue through new forms of taxation. Both deals, signed at Montreal city hall yesterday, provide a package of amendments to Bill 22, legislation that was tabled in the National Assembly last year to resolve a power feud between Montreal and the suburbs. The amendments will be submitted to the National Assembly for a vote before the current session ends late next week. "In every step of this negotiation, we were looking for a win-win scenario," Municipal Affairs Minister Nathalie Normandeau said of the deals. "Today, we can say, 'Mission accomplished.' " Montreal acquires new power to tax assets and property in its territory and to claim royalties for use of resources. The deal also allows Montreal to walk away with $25 million a year in aid from the province starting in 2009, the power to unilaterally set the rate it charges for the "welcome tax" on property sales above $500,000 and a cheque of $9 million a year from the province to cover property tax on the Palais des congrès. The new, potentially sweeping tax power was inspired by the City of Toronto Act, Normandeau said. Using that legislation, Toronto is now creating a personal vehicle tax that it will begin charging car owners this fall. The Montreal deal would overhaul the governance of the downtown Ville Marie borough. It would also bestow status on the city as the metropolis of Quebec, which would be written into the city charter. As well, the deal would allow city council to centralize any borough responsibility in case of danger to health or safety by a majority vote for up to two years. And in response to criticism of the way the city bypassed its independent public-consultation office to approve the redevelopment of Griffintown this spring, the deal would extend the boroughs' power to initiate changes to the city's urban plan to the city council and require such changes to be sent to hearings by the public-consultation office. Tremblay refused to say what new taxes he would create. "We're not going to identify an additional source of taxation today," he said, adding that Toronto spent a year consulting businesses and groups before deciding what new taxes to create. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/index.html
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week Cities Guardian Canada week Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world From the endless scandals of Rob Ford to the endless hits of Drake, Stephen Marche reveals the secret of his hometown’s transformation into the 21st century’s great post-industrial city Toronto’s multicultural waterparks show the true radical potential of the city. Photograph: Alamy Cities is supported by Rockefeller Foundation Stephen Marche in Toronto Monday 4 July 2016 10.43 BST Last modified on Tuesday 5 July 2016 00.04 BST The definitive moment of the “new Toronto” took place, somewhat inevitably, in New York. On the TV variety show Saturday Night Live in May, Toronto’s hip-hop icon Drake played a gameshow contestant named Jared – a cheerful goof with dreadlocks and a red check shirt with a slight Caribbean lilt. The skit, called Black Jeopardy, was a take on the long-running game show Jeopardy, using a series of African American cliches: uncles who wear long suits to church, the cost of hair weaves, the popularity of Tyler Perry movies, and so on. In this matrix of stereotype, however, Jared didn’t quite fit. To the answer: “This comedian was crazy in the 80s with his Raw and Delirious routines,” (clearly indicating the question: “Who is Eddie Murphy?”) Jared instead asked, to the perplexity of all: “Who is Rick Moranis?” When they also didn’t know hockey legend Jaromir Jagr, Jared was stunned: “The man won the Art Ross trophy four years in a row, fam.” Jared is black, but not a kind of black that the host or the other contestants recognised. “I’m from Toronto,” he explained. “Wait, you’re a black Canadian?” the host asked. “Obviously, dog.” The miscomprehension built from there to a confrontation in which Jared angrily demanded: “Why do I have to be your definition of black?” Was the host’s confusion understandable? To Americans, and outsiders in general, the new Toronto and its people can seem disconcertingly familiar and strange at the same time. It’s a city in mid-puberty, growing so rapidly, changing so suddenly, that often it doesn’t quite know how it feels about itself. *** Last year, the increasing population of Toronto passed the declining population of Chicago. Comparisons come naturally. What Chicago was to the 20th century, Toronto will be to the 21st. Chicago was the great city of industry; Toronto will be the great city of post-industry. Chicago is grit, top-quality butchers, glorious modernist buildings and government blight; Toronto is clean jobs and artisanal ice-creameries, identical condos, excellent public schools and free healthcare for all. Chicago is a decaying factory where Americans used to make stuff. Toronto is a new bank where the tellers can speak two dozen languages. You feel a natural ease in time when you touch down from another city; you don’t have to strain for hope here. The future matters infinitely more than the past. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions Toronto’s growth has been extravagant. If you approach from the water, almost every building you see will have been constructed in the past two decades. The city has been booming for so long and so consistently that few can remember what Toronto was like when it wasn’t booming. There were 13 skyscrapers in 2005; there are now close to 50, with 130 more under construction. The greater Toronto area is expected to swell by 2.6 million people to 7.5 million over the next decade and a half. A line has been crossed. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions – and its contradictions are making it interesting. It is, for example, by far the safest city in North America – an extraordinarily law-abiding place by any measure. It also produced Rob Ford, the world’s most famous crack-smoking mayor, a man whose criminality did little to affect his popularity. Other contradictions reveal themselves only on closer examination. Toronto’s dullness is what makes it exciting – a tricky point to grasp. Toronto’s lack of ambition is why the financial collapse of 2008 never happened here. The strong regulations of its banks preventing their over-leverage meant they were insulated from the worst of global shocks. In London and New York, the worst stereotype of a banker is somebody who enjoys cocaine, Claret and vast megalomaniac schemes. In Toronto, a banker handles teachers’ pension portfolios and spends weekends at the cottage. Mist rises from Lake Ontario in front of the Toronto skyline during extreme cold weather. The population of the greater Toronto area is expected to reach 7.45 million by 2031 – and approaching from the water almost every building you see was built in the past two decades. Photograph: Mark Blinch/AP The worship of safety and security applies across all fields and industries. A reliable person is infinitely more valued than a brilliant one. The “steady hand” is the Toronto ideal, and Toronto’s steadiness is why people flock here – and all the people flocking here are making it exciting. That’s why Toronto is the most fascinating totally boring city in the world. The fundamental contradiction of the new Toronto, however, is that it has come into its own by becoming a city of others. In the Canadian context, Toronto is no longer first among equals in a series of cities strung along the railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific. It has become the national metropolis, the city plugged into the global matrix. At the same time, Toronto is 51% foreign-born, with people from over 230 countries, making it by many assessments, the most diverse city in the world. But diversity is not what sets Toronto apart; the near-unanimous celebration of diversity does. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference This openness is unfortunately unique. In a world in which Australia runs “You will not make Australia home” advertisements, Donald Trump is the presidential nominee of a major American political party, and a British MP was killed by a man shouting “Britain first”, Canada has largely escaped this rising loathing for others. A 2012 study, by the chair of Canadian studies at Berkeley, found that “compared to the citizens of other developed immigrant-receiving countries, Canadians are by far the most open to and optimistic about immigration.” The lack of political xenophobia (which must be distinguished from the various crises of integration) has emerged for reasons that are peculiar to the Canadian experience, and not because we’re somehow better people. Toronto’s success in 2016 began in the national near-catastrophe of 1995. The 1995 referendum on Quebec independence brought the country within a photo finish of not existing anymore. In an infamous drunken ramble of a concession speech, the then premier of Quebec, Jacques Parizeau, blamed the loss on “money and the ethnic vote”. I was 19 when he said that, and I knew even then that for the rest of my life, Canada’s future would be built on money and immigrants. I wasn’t wrong. Most Canadian business headquarters had already taken the five-hour drive west. After 95, the rest followed. Montreal decided to become a French-Canadian city. Toronto decided to become a global city. The gaze into the abyss separated English-speaking Canadians from the rest of the Anglosphere. The most important finding from the Berkeley study was that “in Canada, those who expressed more patriotism were also more likely to support immigration and multiculturalism. In the United States this correlation went in the opposite direction.” That’s the key difference between Toronto’s relationship to immigration and the rest of the world. Canada can only survive as a cosmopolitan entity. Blood and soil rip it apart rather than bind it together. With the US border to the south and three brutal oceans on the other sides, Canada is protected, as few places are, from uncontrolled immigration. There are no desperate huddled masses, yearning to breathe free here. Instead we cull the cream of the world and call it compassion. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on their arrival from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters To take the case of the Syrians, the federal government took 25,000 refugees since the Trudeau government came to power last year, which sounds impressive when you compare it to the 2,800 that the US has allowed. It isn’t when you consider the specifics of the case. There are already plenty of Muslim families in Toronto and they are as boring as any other Canadians. In my own existence, the people of Muslim heritage I have known have served some of the following roles: they were my father’s business partners; they have prepared my taxes and my will; they gossiped constantly in the cubicle beside mine at a legal publishing house where I used to work until I had to buy noise-cancellation headphones; they gave me tips on how to pass my special fields examination while I was doing my PhD; they looked after my children at the local daycare centre. So when I heard that 25,000 Syrians were coming, I did not imagine 25,000 poor angry men. I imagined 25,000 accountants and dentists. Which is exactly who has come. Toronto’s multiculturalism no doubt has its crises, and those crises are accelerating. When the province of Ontario (of which Toronto is the capital) announced a new sex education curriculum that included open discussions on homosexuality, recently arrived socially conservative Muslim and Chinese-Canadian Christian parents pulled their children from public school in protest. The premier, Kathleen Wynne, responded with a statement that basically amounted to: “Tough.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, passed in 1982 – the same document that established multiculturalism as national policy – is very clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is un-Canadian. There is a strain of granite in Toronto’s much-vaunted tolerance. More serious are the issues around race and policing, which have consumed the city for the past two years. The carding scandal, in which the police were revealed to be racially profiling the black community, exposed profound problems with our police force, which is in dire need of reform. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College in Toronto. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto police HQ. Photograph: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images This is a story that has been playing out in American cities as well. But Black Lives Matter here has been distinctly Torontonian. Activists protested outside the police headquarters for 14 days, received a meeting with the mayor and the premier, and then disbanded peacefully. There was no hint of a riot, nor even of bad behaviour. Toronto’s activists sought redress for poor government in an entirely orderly fashion, and their demands, which were utterly reasonable, belonged to the best traditions of polite Canadian politics. The activists were pursuing, just like Canada’s motto, “peace, order and good government.” *** On any given morning on the Sheppard subway line in the north of the city, you can sit down in perfect peace and order, although you will find little evidence of good government. As the latest addition to Toronto’s fraying infrastructure, the Sheppard subway is largely untroubled by urban bustle. The stations possess the discreet majesty of abandoned cathedrals, designed for vastly more people than currently use them, like ruins that have never been inhabited. Meanwhile, in the overcrowded downtown lines, passengers are stacked up the stairs. The streetcars along a single main street, Spadina, carry more people on a daily basis than the whole of the Sheppard line, whose expenses run to roughly $10 a passenger, according to one estimate. A critic has suggested that sending cabs for everybody would be cheaper. Canadexit: how to escape the clutches of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage This ludicrous state of affairs – money wasted in one corner of the city while it’s desperately needed elsewhere – is the typical result of Toronto City Hall’s idea of consensus. The council is a pack of hicks and rubes, a visionless amalgam of small-c conservatives and vaguely union-hall lefties, all of them living resolutely in the past. Both sides want to stop what’s happening in the city. The lefties want to slow gentrification, and the conservatives think we’ve all been taxed enough. Of course, when most people think of hicks and rubes in Toronto City Hall, they think of Rob Ford, who died of cancer earlier this year. But Giorgio Mammoliti, councillor for Ward Seven, has proposed a floating casino, a red-light district on the Toronto Islands, and an 11pm curfew for children under 14. He has blamed a few of his erratic comments on a brain fistula he had removed in 2013, but nobody has since been able to tell the difference in his behaviour. Add another contradiction to Toronto’s growing list: it must be the best-run city in the world run by idiots. The current mayor, John Tory, is not an idiot, although he is hardly a figure of the “new Toronto”. He represents, more than any other conceivable human being, the antique white anglo-saxon protestant (Wasp) elite of Toronto, his father being one of the most important lawyers in the city’s history. The old Wasps had their virtues, it has to be said – it wasn’t all inedible cucumber sandwiches and not crying at funerals. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responds the media at City Hall in Toronto, October 31, 2013. Rob Ford served as mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters After the Rob Ford years, the attractions of a “steady hand” have been stronger than ever. Last week, Tory finally took the step of acknowledging that Toronto needs new revenue-generating streams, which took immense political courage even though it is obvious to everyone. Then, almost immediately, he proposed a “net-zero” budget with no new revenue streams – the steady thing to do, the gutless thing to do, the traditionally Toronto thing to do. The cost of having narrow-minded representatives in power is to limit the city. The catastrophic state of transit has had a host of unintended consequences; the explosion of downtown construction is due largely to the fact that commuting from the suburbs has become more or less unendurable. The poor infrastructure is symptomatic of larger problems. Because somewhere deep in its heart Toronto has not planned for growth – because Toronto hasn’t expected to be a real grown-up city – it keeps making the same mistakes. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about the city Billions of dollars are being used to build more subways in suburban Scarborough where ridership will carry, at one stop, an astonishingly low 7,300 people at peak hours. Just last week, it was announced that another C$1.3bn will be spent on the project. It is very easy to blame the political class for this small-minded nonsense, but in their lack of ambition they represent a truth of the city. It is the most diverse city in the world and one of the richest, but it is unclear what its money and its diversity amount to. There is no Toronto sound. There is no Toronto flavour. There is no Toronto scene. There is no Toronto style. Rather there are sounds and flavours and scenes and styles borrowed from elsewhere. At the corner of Spadina and Bloor Street, there is a small series of panels commemorating the activists who prevented the Spadina Expressway – a megahighway into the urban core – from being built in the 1970s. Those activists weren’t wrong. That proposed highway would have destroyed some decent neighbourhoods. But only Toronto would commemorate not building something. It’s proud of what it hasn’t done. *** Go to the waterparks in this city on any hot summer day and you see the true potential of Toronto. The meaning of multiculturalism in Toronto is not theoretical; it is not found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or in the decisions of the refugee board. The meaning of multiculturalism is found in the waterparks, among the slides and fountains, and lazy rivers and wave pools: a collection of various people of various shades speaking various languages, lounging in the shade, drinking overpriced rum drinks, eating greasy food, staring at each other’s naked and tattooed flesh, and shouting at their kids to stop splashing. History in Toronto does not bend toward justice. It bends towards the hot tub. There is something radical about these people leading their quiet lives out together, without much fuss. Are they one people? Does it matter if they aren’t? It is a city whose meaning is not found in shared history but in the shared desire to escape history. It is a light city, a city floating up and away from the old stories, the ancient struggles. Craic addicts and Hogtown heroes: Canada's urban tribes explained Again Chicago makes a good comparison. In Chicago, they once changed the course of the river – one of history’s greatest feats of will and engineering. In Toronto, for a hundred years, the authorities let the construction companies just dump their landfill into Lake Ontario, until it turned into a pile of rubble so large that it attracted deer and coyotes and warblers in migration. So, reluctantly, they turned it into a rather gorgeous little park, the Leslie Street Spit. Chicago has dreams, dreams that mostly fail but sometimes triumph. Toronto keeps any dreams it might have to itself, stumbling into much more reliable happiness. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about it. The question that Toronto faces, the question that its various crises and contradictions pose, is whether the city will rise into a glorious future of a mingled and complicated humanity, an avatar of a singular cosmopolitanism, or whether it will shrink back and be swallowed by the provincial miasma that inveigles it. This is a real question – the city could legitimately go either way. How much longer can Toronto endure its terminal lightness? How much longer can a city so interesting insist on being so boring? Guardian Cities is devoting a week to exploring all things Canada. Get involved on Twitter and Facebook and share your thoughts with #GuardianCanada Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  17. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/23/sane-way-run-megalopolis-urban-governance?utm_source=SFFB Protesters march through the streets of Ferguson in August. Aaron M Renn Thursday 23 April 2015 15.39 BST Last modified on Thursday 23 April 2015 16.57 BST The death of Michael Brown, shot by a police officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri, triggered civil unrest and protests that have yet to subside, with two police officers recently shot in the city. The media has blamed lots of things for the chaos that has engulfed Ferguson, from racism to inequality, but one factor might raise an eyebrow: municipal fragmentation in the St Louis area. There are 90 separate cities and towns in St Louis County alone, which has created a landscape of small, cash-strapped cities pulling on tiny tax bases to finance their governments. The US Justice Department has specifically accused Ferguson of using its police department as a revenue-raising arm, with a racial bias and as such it could be argued that municipal fragmentation played a role in creating the conditions that produced police-community tensions in Ferguson. A few year earlier, in 2010 and 800 miles to the north-east, Toronto elected the suburban politician Rob Ford from Etobicoke as mayor. Ford swept into office pledging to “stop the gravy train” and cut spending, cancelling bike infrastructure and streetcars. His sensibilities appalled urban Torontonians. The urban studies theorist Richard Florida called him “the worst and most anti-urban mayor in the history of any major city”. His mayoralty ultimately collapsed in a wave of scandals, including when he got caught on video smoking crack. People in ​​living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and cultures One of the factors blamed for the Rob Ford phenomenon? Amalgamation, or the consolidation of the city of Toronto with several formerly independent municipalities, including Etobicoke. It is amalgamation that allowed suburbanites to take control of governance over the inner city by electing one of their own as mayor. Welcome to the wonderful world of governing urban regions, where between fragmentation and amalgamation no one actually knows what the right-sized box for local government is or how to change it – but everyone can see the problems of most of the existing governance models. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St. Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters Municipal fragmentation has been criticised for decades. In Cities Without Suburbs, his influential 1993 book, former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk argued that Rust Belt cities in the US failed to succeed in part because they were unable to expand, and found themselves hemmed in by a jigsaw puzzle of independent suburbs. Advertisement But with cities having become central to national governance in the 21st century, institutions like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank are weighing in, too. Both recently sounded the alarm about the risks of urban fragmentation on a global level, for the developed and the developing world. “Often, administrative boundaries between municipalities are based on centuries-old borders that do not correspond to contemporary patterns of human settlement and economic activity,” the OECD observed in a recent report. The thinktank argued that governance structures failed to reflect modern realities of metropolitan life into account. Behind the report’s dry prose lies a real problem. Fragmentation affects a whole range of things, including the economy. The OECD estimates that for regions of equal population, doubling the number of governments reduces productivity by 6%. It recommends reducing this effect with a regional coordinating body, which can also reduce sprawl, increase public transport satisfaction (by 14 percentage points, apparently) and improve air quality. The World Bank, meanwhile, is worried about the way rapid growth in developing cities has created fragmentation there, too. Metropolises often sprawl well beyond government boundaries: Jakarta, for example, has spread into three separate provinces. The World Bank calls fragmentation “a significant challenge in the East Asia region”. Urban fragmentation in Jakarta Urban fragmentation in Jakarta. The urban area covers 1,600 sq km and 12 jurisdictions. Photograph: World Bank/University of Wisconsin-Madison “It’s quite a surprise how much fragmentation there is,” says Judy Baker, one of the authors of the World Bank’s recent report titled East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape. “It’s a challenge for almost every city.” Among the surprising findings of the report is that 135 of the nearly 350 urban regions they surveyed in East Asia had no dominant local jurisdiction. The glaring example here is of course the largest urban area in the world, the Pearl River Delta region in China, a megapolitan region that includes many major cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and others. In Manila in the Philippines, no less than 85 municipalities are involved in the megacity’s governance. Advertisement Planners love efficiency, but even on a piece of paper it can be hard to know what size box to draw. As the OECD put it: “Even if policymakers try to reorganise local governments according to functional relations within urban agglomerations, it is often difficult to identify boundaries between functionally integrated areas.” In plain English: nobody really knows where to draw the lines. And as the Toronto example shows, amalgamation – bringing fragmented government regions together – comes with downsides of its own. Of course, you can put people in the same governmental box, but that won’t necessarily create common ground – instead, it can create a zero-sum, winner-takes-all dynamic. People in living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and even a different culture. They can be, as was famously said of English and French Canada, “two solitudes”. Urbanites who support regional governance frequently assume that means more power, money and resources for the central city. But as Rob Ford so richly illustrated, that’s not always the case. Among those who stand to lose from regional government are minorities. In Ferguson, black residents were already under-represented in government relative to their population. But as a voting block they would find their strength heavily diluted in a merged government: Ferguson is more than two-thirds African-American, while St Louis County plus the city of St Louis together are about 70% white. Unsurprisingly, central cities tend to prefer regional revenue-sharing without giving up political control. Detroit, despite serious financial problems, has viciously fought sharing control over city assets, even where they serve a broader region. Detroit’s convention centre is a good example of the tensions that can arise: it took years to agree renovations to the building, as despite arguing the suburbs should help pay for the building they partly enjoy, the city did not want to cede any control over it. Part of the city’s bankruptcy “grand bargain” involved raising regional water rates to funnel money back into the city while retaining city ownership over a regional water utility. But simply creating revenue streams, via regional cash sharing or consolidation, doesn’t guarantee better governance, as Detroit proves. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Photograph: Alamy Indianapolis is also an instructive case. The city established a consolidated regional government in 1970 called Unigov (which Rusk hailed as a model). Unigov expanded the city’s tax base by amalgamating most of its new, fast-growing suburbs into the city. But the urban region continued to sprawl, eventually going beyond even the newly consolidated boundaries. Today’s growth in Indianapolis is all happening outside Unigov’s borders, and the city now finds itself supporting ageing suburban areas – just like Ferguson in St Louis – that it can’t afford. Consolidated government arguably gave Indianapolis four decades of financial breathing room, but that simply let it put off reform. Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was originally a well-functioning regional governance body, but is now a quagmire of dysfunction. The soaring costs of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s $4.2bn PATH subway station at the World Trade Centre – and a proposal to spend $10bn to replace a bus station – are examples of an agency that has lost its grip on fiscal reality. No perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others If no perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others. The Greater London Authority (GLA) – because of its limited scope mostly focused on transport, public safety and economic development – has focused on doing a few things well. Its focus on transportation is targeted at an area where regional coordination really is crucial. Clearly, transport has to be designed and implemented on a regional basis, at least for major infrastructure. New York’s Port Authority arguably went off the rails in the late 1960s when it expanded beyond transportation and got into the real estate business by building the World Trade Centre. So the best way to start charting a middle ground between fragmentation and amalgamation might be for cities to look for ways to better regionalise transport governance. It won’t be easy, not least because of the common fighting over territory, both geographical and bureaucratic. London’s success with the GLA, compared with how amalgamation set Toronto’s transport planning back a decade or more, shows that creating a regional entity is only half the battle. The real drive is to create regional agreement and consensus . As cities mushroom and fragmentation increases, that consensus is becoming more crucial – and harder to achieve – than ever. sent via Tapatalk
  18. 'Iconic' park will rise from former St-Michel dump Kevin Mio, Montreal Gazette More from Kevin Mio, Montreal Gazette Published on: August 28, 2015 | Last Updated: August 28, 2015 3:32 PM EDT What was once a quarry and garbage dump that has marred the city’s St-Michel district for decades will soon become one of Montreal’s — if not the world’s — most iconic parks, Mayor Denis Coderre said on Friday. The St-Michel Environmental Complex will be transformed into the city’s second-largest park, behind Mount Royal, beginning with several new sections that are to be opened to the public for the first time in 2017, in time for the city’s 375th birthday. The whole project is slated to be completed by 2023, Coderre said. “New York has its Central Park, Paris has its Luxembourg Gardens, London has its Hyde Park. If it is true that the major cities of the world can be recognized by their legendary green spaces, Montreal has certainly not been left out,” the mayor said as he made the announcement standing in front of what will become a 12.5 hectare wooded area and lookout in a few years. “We already have Mount Royal Park, our largest park, and in a few years we will soon have another equally iconic (park) right here,” he said. “This transformation represents one of the most ambitious environmental rehabilitation projects ever undertaken in an urban environment in North America,” Coderre said. “We are building a park out of a site that contains 40 million tonnes of garbage.” The cost of this phase of the project is $33.7 million, which the city is paying for from its capital works budget. The final price tag for the remainder of the work is not known. However, Coderre said whatever money is needed will be made available to complete the project. Once finished, the park will include thousands of trees, a lake, wooded areas, pathways, rest spots, an outdoor theatre and more. Anie Samson, the mayor of the Villeray — Saint-Michel — Park Extension borough and member of the executive committee, said the transformation shows that the impossible is possible. “Today is a big day for us and it is one more step forward toward the realization of our dreams (for St-Michel),” she said. “For the past 20 or 30 years, (residents) had a dump over there. Now it is going to be one of the biggest and nicest parks in the world,” Samson said. By 2017, just over 17 hectares of park space will be open to the public. In all, the park will occupy 153 hectares of the 192-hectare site. “A lot of people are talking about sustainable development, but what does it mean? I think we have a living proof here,” Coderre said. “We are providing today a new definition of how to revitalize an area. Frankly, at the end of the day … a lot of people are inspired by other cities. Trust me, this one will be an inspiration for the rest of the world.” Journalists were given a bus tour of the site Friday morning, which included a drive into the lowest point of the former quarry, which will eventually become the lake. It will be five times as big as Beaver Lake on Mount Royal. The lake will be filled with run-off water from the park and will be treated to make it safe to be used for boating and kayaking, but not for swimming. The second major project is a new entrance way to the park along Papineau Ave. that will include, among other things, a sliding area for winter activities, public spaces and areas where people can rest or play outdoor games such as Frisbee or flying kites. Two other sections already opened to the public will be reconfigured and new entrances constructed. There is already a pathway that rings the entire complex, but this is the first time the public will be allowed onto the landfill site. But how they will get to the park, near the corner of Papineau Ave. and Jarry St., is another question since public transit to the area is far from ideal. Coderre said they are working on a plan to address that issue. “We can have the nicest park, but it has to be accessible,” Coderre said. “We want Montrealers to be able to take advantage of the park so there will be an action plan for public transit, a mobility plan.” One challenge city officials face is how to camouflage the more than 500 wells that dot the site. They serve as monitoring stations for the biogas which is emitted by the buried garbage and the city must find a way to hide them while still allowing them to be accessible to workers for repairs. At the same time, they must prevent vandalism. The biogas is recovered and used as fuel on site by Gazmont, producing enough electricity for 2,000 homes. The company signed a new deal this year to recuperate the gas for 25 years once renovations are completed in 2016. The electricity is sold to Hydro-Québec, with the city getting 11.4 per cent of total sales per year. [email protected] http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/iconic-park-will-rise-from-former-st-michel-dump
  19. Une nouvelle génération de commerçants a choisi de s'établir dans le district Hochelaga-Maisonneuve à Montréal. Pourtant le quartier est loin d'être devenu le nouveau Plateau Mont-Royal, au grand bonheur des commerçants. http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Montreal/2013/04/06/002-hochelaga-maisonneuve-quartier-montreal.shtml Can someone explain to me this "anti-gentrification" rule the mayor mentions?
  20. The whole blogosphere and media in Canada has said a lot of things about two mayoral elections in two of Canada's major cities the past month. Both of them had the guy expected to come in 3rd place, win the elections with a majority of votes, with high voter turnouts as well. Everyone was surprised because a "progressive", brown, unmarried and Muslim guy won the mayoralty in Calgary (of all places) and a "hyper-conservative" fat white guy won the mayoralty in Toronto, which just shatters everyone's stereotypes of both cities. Some say they should have happened the other way around But it seems that the "progressive" Mr. Nenshi is also quite respectful of the taxpayers, which is always very nice to hear of and would be most welcome in Montreal or any city. He has said he has "a lot in common" with Mr. Ford, and has been trying to find ways to cut spending in his city to reduce a planned property tax hike. So I liked this article: As for Rob Ford, I don't think he has actually become Mayor of Toronto yet or at least has done anything, except meet with all the elected councillors to get to know them. Who said things about "angry politics", he seems like he is actually trying to make the council work An interesting, contemporary TO article: This article about spending by TO city councillors is also illuminating: http://www.nationalpost.com/high+costs+council/3780393/story.html Some highlights: I don't think I even want to know what the books look like for Montreal's city council
  21. Today is a day like any other. I got up, got into my car and drove to work. While driving I noticed the unbelievable price increase at the pump!! From about $1.26 yesterday to $1.35 this morning. The barrel price dropped to about $78 this morning and these S.O.B.S. have the balls to increase the price. About 2 or 3 years ago when the barrel hit $147 the price of the liter peaked at about $1.50. Today our CDN $ has gained parity with the US greenback (approx. a 4 or 5% gain from 2 years ago) the barrel is at $78 and they have the audacity to raise the price and the governments say squat!!...Come on enough is enough!! And our Mayor Tremblay wants to add new fuel taxes !!! Holy cow!! :stirthepot::stirthepot:
  22. MONTREAL - Montreal must be the bad-news capital of Canada. That’s the impression I got from an email I received last Saturday from Jean-François Dumas, the president of a Montreal-based media-monitoring service, Influence Communication. Dumas was responding to my column in Saturday’s Gazette. In the column, I speculated that negative publicity outside Quebec about the Pastagate affair may be a factor in what so far has been a disappointing summer tourist season in Montreal. “Pastagate” refers to the furor last February over the unsuccessful attempt by Quebec’s French-language-protection agency to force a Montreal restaurant to add French translations to the Italian names of dishes on its menu. As I mentioned in my column, Dumas’s firm reported less than a week after the story broke that Pastagate had become the subject of 350 articles in 14 countries as far away as Australia, and many more articles in Canada. Dumas’s firm started monitoring media coverage in 2000, And he said in his email that for the first several years, it found that Quebec received “softball” (bonbon) coverage in the international media. Most of it, 58 per cent, was about either Quebec’s culture or its tourist attractions. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “The foreign press essentially praised Quebec for its European character, its dining, its hospitality and its cultural richness and dynamism. “It was even said often that Montreal was an ‘incubator for cultural products and ideas.’ “The only criticism addressed to Quebec concerned its exploitation and exportation of asbestos to developing countries.” That began to change early last year, during the disruptive and sometimes violent student protests against the former Liberal government’s university-fee increases. In the last 18 months, said Dumas, a series of events had “considerably changed” Quebec’s image in the foreign media. “In fact, one might even say that Quebec has become one big news story” in itself — and a mostly negative one. Dumas listed a “Top 15” of the Quebec stories that received the most coverage in international media since the beginning of 2012 (see accompanying list). Except for the papal candidacy of Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, most of the stories were negative. (Pastagate ranked No. 11). And most of them were linked to Montreal. If that doesn’t make Montreal the bad-news capital of Canada, I don’t know what is. I can’t think of another Canadian city that has produced nearly as many big, negative news stories in the same period. The mayor of Toronto is alleged to have smoked crack? Pfft. The actual arrest of Montreal’s mayor only made it to No. 8 on Dumas’s list. A police raid at Montreal city hall just cracked the list at No. 15. In a demonstration of the media version of Gresham’s law in economics, the bad coverage of Montreal has driven out the good. Dumas noted that in the past 18 months, Quebec’s cultural and tourist attractions have lost 65 per cent of their share of international media coverage. And, he concluded, the damage to the images of Quebec in general and Montreal in particular is not good for their economies. “If one accepts that a city, a province or a country is a bit like a brand in foreign media, and that the interest of others helps generate tourism, immigration and investments, I believe that we should seriously question ourselves about the state of our collective assets.” Montreal hoteliers might agree. The latest figures obtained from the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal show that last month, compared with July 2011, the number of nightly room occupations in its 77 member hotels in the metropolitan region was down by 40,000. Top 15 Quebec news stories by volume of international media coverage since January 2012 (Source: Influence Communication) 1. Lac-Mégantic disaster 2. Magnotta case 3. Student protests 4. Helicopter jailbreak 5. Charbonneau inquiry and corruption 6. Quebec papal candidate 7. Metropolis shooting 8. Arrest of Montreal mayor Applebaum 9. Gatineau shooting 10. Explosion at fireworks factory 11. Pastagate 12. Turban in soccer 13. Resignation of Montreal mayor Tremblay 14. Shafia “honour” killing trial 15. Police raid at Montreal city hall [email protected] Twitter: MacphersonGaz © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  23. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/08/12/ford-poll.html#ixzz0wXCBUy1b Rob Ford blew the whistle on all the free perks available to Toronto city councilors: This is exactly the kind of mayor Montreal needed. Too bad.