Comment 108627

By MissingPartOfTheStory (registered) | Posted January 31, 2015 at 11:23:57

In the 1971 suburban Vancouver had a population of about 1 million, and downtown Vancouver had a population of about 400k. By 2001 suburban Vancouver had a population of about 2 million, and downtown Vancouver had a population of about 550k. That's 2x growth vs. 1.375x growth, and another million in suburban sprawl. I wouldn't characterize that as a victory for urbanism.

And yet there's simply no way Vancouver's downtown could be what it is without a couple million people living outside of it, commuting in, and shopping there too.

When you have big suburbs, you have more people moving on the feeder transit lines leading into your downtown, which helps to justify higher order infrastructure costs. Even people that commute by car to downtown will use transit during the day. Toronto couldn't be what it is either without being surrounded by sprawling suburbs feeding into its subway system.

In many large cities, if you look at one particular suburban line of transit leading into downtown transit, and compare it to a main downtown line, you can play funny with math, and claim that the suburban line isn't justified or that it's being subsidized by the downtown line. The downtown line is where the profit is made, and it subsidies the suburan lines, right? Only without the suburban lines leading into the downtown line, it wouldn't have those numbers at all.

If we want to have a growing, dense downtown in Hamilton, we're going to need continued suburban growth and prosperity to support that downtown growth.

Downtowns don't support suburbs, and suburbs don't support downtowns. They support each other. You simply can't look at one part of the city at a time, and that goes for more than Terry Whitehead.

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