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Quick Hits, Volume XX

Mostly (but not entirely) Toronto stuff…

  • Discovered a promising new blog, Avenues. Hans has a recent post where he does what I like to do sometimes -- attend an important public meeting and bring the word to the net. He attended two hearings on Ontario's "Smart Growth" plan. His summary is what I feared from this government: "[It’s] business as usual. It’s all good to talk about building transit infrastructure to direct growth when you have no money for transit infrastructure due to a budget crunch. This is a plan with no real teeth, designed not to anger anyone. I applaud the province for doing it, but there is still so much more that needs to be done, and still several signs that the officials do not understand certain planning issues."
  • Add Avenues to Urban Archi-Texture as the two blogs that I know of that focus on urban planning issues in Toronto. (And Brent is posting again, if you haven't noticed.) James Bow, Brett Lamb, and The Armchair Garbageman get involved from time to time, too.
  • Speaking of Brent, he has a good post up in response to my article on "The Decline of Urban Beauty".
  • On the Waterfront Revitalization, both John Barber and John Sewell slam the slow-moving process today. Wasn't it Tom Jakobek who, during the mayoral campaign, said that all these different agencies are the cause of the problem and should be eliminated for direct and unified responsibility at City Hall?
  • A friend asked me to comment on the 407 trade dispute issue. Eric Reguly has a good column about it today. Among other things, he explains the issues and it seems like both parties in the dispute have reasons (derived from the contracts) to believe they are right, and so I don't think the province is really stepping into unacceptable territory. Anyway, it seems that the Tories sold the 407 for a stupidly low price and with toll restrictions that didn't match their promises. But the Liberals were wrong to promise a reversal when the contracts weren't black and white. In the end, however, I don't care a whole lot -- demand-based tolls have the benefit of discouraging sprawl.
  • Ian Welsh's post on The Economic Cycle of Innovation in Brief is excellent.



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