Comment 31427

By Bass Awkwords (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2009 at 10:51:19

I'm kind of wondering about the euphemism of "employment lands" for areas zoned for industrial development. The industrial sector has been downsizing for some time now. Jobs have lead the rush to low-wage overseas development. Others have been lost to robotics. Either way, industry provides less and less employment as it becomes increasingly efficient.

On the flip side, the service economy is growing, and that includes Wally World. I suspect their proliferation, and the problems that come with them, would be addressed more effectively by improving minimum wages and union organization legislation than by Ban Wally movements.

But whether it's a new medical equipment factory or a big-box cigar store, it's still considered sprawl. Then again, it is kind of silly to imagine Winona as an isolated, self-supporting community when South Ont is essentially one, big urban grid. Was I the only one who laughed at those old Presidents' Choice commercials about condiments manufactured in the bucolic town of Winona, but failed to mention that E.D. Smith's was about 10k away from the Stelco blast furnaces?

Thing is, farming provides employment too, maybe as much as a big box store, while growing tender fruit is still unusual in Canada and dependent on micro-environments such as the north side of the Niagara Peninsula. Global warming may make it less unique, but even so the wine industry and selling fresh fruits have been, and could again be significant contributors to a local, diversified economy, especially when tied to tourism.

I think the notion of "sprawl" and the idea of creating "employment" lands are equally misleading. Sprawl is essentially an accomplished fact where we live, and the idea of segregating employment into separate zones from living, shopping, and recreation, is equally reactive. What we should be working on is maintaining and increasing economic (as important as social) diversity in an environment of increasing density.

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