Revitalization

The Greenest Building

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 10, 2010

Congratulations, Brantford: your urban renewal idiocy has now attracted international attention.

Many small towns are experiencing a comeback these days; a combination of aging boomers and the green movement, combined with technology that lets people work just about anywhere make them a viable alternative to urban and suburban life. [...] Smaller cities also have character, walkable main streets, apartments above shops that could be attractive to relocating urbanites.

Then there are towns like Brantford, Ontario, that think old buildings are impediments to progress, and are planning to tear down 41 of them, city blocks worth of them, to make way for...nothing.

Sigh.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted March 10, 2010 at 18:55:44

Joni Mitchell's lyrics addressed a similar situation:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot SPOT Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone...

[Big Yellow Taxi, 1970]

Comment edited by michaelcumming on 2010-03-10 17:56:12

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 16, 2010 at 15:36:19

"Then there are towns like Brantford, Ontario, that think old buildings are impediments to progress, and are planning to tear down 41 of them, city blocks worth of them, to make way for...nothing."

Ryan, if you are so disappointed then why don't you purchase one of these buildings and try and save it? Better yet, why don't all of you stop your whining and hold some sort of collection or fundraising events to raise money, purchase the buildings, and revitalize them into something you think is worthwhile?

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 17, 2010 at 13:08:15

Capitalist, the point is that if the city is concerned about the buildings from a structural safety standpoint then they should've been demolished however if they aren't decrepit (sp?) (and if I'm not mistaken, they weren't) then if the city is actually interested in urban renewal they should have made it their job to ensure those buildings were sold to investors willing to upgrade/renew them, not come up with a plan to bulldoze for the sake of bulldozing.

If the options are put up or shut up, then no forward progress would ever have been made. Just because a person doesn't have the means to do something doesn't mean they should keep their opinions to themselves. The fact that people are talking about it may be enough to cause someone with the capital to do something about it to come forward. Get a grip...

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted March 17, 2010 at 13:26:35

"then if the city is actually interested in urban renewal they should have made it their job to ensure those buildings were sold to investors willing to upgrade/renew them, not come up with a plan to bulldoze for the sake of bulldozing."

There are no investors. That is why the buildings will be coming down.

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 22, 2010 at 12:38:51

The reason people are so mad is because they didn't really look...

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