People often talk about the advantages of Hamilton becoming a "bedroom community" to Toronto, as house prices rise beyond the affordable there and more transit links are established.
But a city must be more than just a place for people to sleep. A "bedroom community" is just a satellite, forever in the orbit of something much greater, where the principal activities - besides sleeping - are yardwork, grocery shopping, and child-rearing (children, of course, being principally a product of bedroom-related activities).
In contrast, proper cities leverage density, scale, association and extension to realize efficiencies and generate wealth. They are the principal source of wealth, ideas, influence, power and technology in modern society.
In many ways, Hamilton does not currently act, and is not treated, as if it fits into this category of entity. Although we are the ninth largest metropolitan area in Canada, the perception of Hamilton is that it is minor and insignificant.
A failed city with a failed core, we ought to be happy if we just become part of the amorphous sprawl that has grown from the outskirts of Toronto all the way to our doorstep.
But other than Toronto, Hamilton is the only city in the Golden Horseshoe that has a genuinely urban character, and we are by no means a failed city or merely a bedroom community.
Although there are plenty of positive indicators that could make this point objectively, what I see first-hand in this city, and what all of you are seeing as well (after all, you're reading Raise the Hammer right now), are people with drive, determination, intellect, ingenuity and ideas that are working incredibly hard to make this an amazing place to live and work.
There is a large, very motivated group of people, with a strong contingent of young professionals, who have made it their personal mission to improve this city. I think we're starting to see the return on that intense investment of passion, money, and time.
New businesses, ambitious condo projects, startup incubators, activist groups, demo camps, publications, and professional organizations are popping up all over the place. The people who are pouring their hearts and souls into these endeavours are doing so because they believe that Hamilton can be and is more than a bedroom community.
If you want proof, get involved or just look around. If you're more interested in peaceful slumber, I'd suggest taking a look at one of the sprawling suburbs to the east. You're not going to get much sleep here.