Comment 63237

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted May 09, 2011 at 10:06:47

I'm no expert.

Merely a Hamiltonian observing over decades.

But as well as agreeing with what Mahesh has put forward, a few thoughts of my own.

Neighbourhoods...especially vulnerable ones...go through phases. They live, they flourish, they don't flourish as much, they die off, they change, they adapt...or they don't, not for a long time...and the cycle continues.

As I say, I'm no expert, but it's pretty clear that even if we're just talking about North America, the suburbanization of our culture has exacted various costs from more urban areas.

I'm old enough to remember King Street East being in a more vibrant state. But then, I'm also old enough to remember a non-suburbanized Greater Metropolitan Hamilton area, with little peripheral expansion in play and only one real shopping center to speak of.

The world we live in now has high expectations. We expect things all glossy-like, and we expect it NOW. Part of this invariably means...especially taking into consideration the relative ages of the observers...that we can only see things as they are, have difficulty in framing context, and just as invariably, tend to be quite condemning of the forces we point to in our demonization. All this is fine and good, but I'm always a little skeptical when more energies are spent on philosophical lynching than gaining genuine understanding and working towards solutions.

'We've' made choices in North America. (Consciously or not, because in the end, we vote with our dollars.) We've decided we've wanted a car-centric culture, we've decided we want a shopping mall/big-box culture, we've decided we want mass consumerism at its most convenient...and most modern. For me, these variables pretty much answer the question 'What happened?!?'

Can King Street East...or Barton Street for that matter...ever find its place in the sun again? Absolutely. And what's most heartening to me is seeing articles like this one. Where, even if what may dominate the discussion at first is sadness and frustration and anger and invective, eventually some cogent observations and some creative suggestions move things along so that even if none of us may be 'movers and shakers', surely our hopeful thinking can only help create the landscape where things are more likely to shift towards that sunlight.

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