Florida: Smaller Cities Should Focus on Existing Assets

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 29, 2010

In an op-ed published in today's New York Times, Richard Florida rehashes the main argument of his book Who's Your City? but adds advice for smaller cities hoping to capitalize on urban efficiencies:

All successful revitalization efforts focus on upgrading existing local assets - developing better ties among colleges, universities and communities, strengthening business districts, upgrading parks and open spaces, preserving and reusing old buildings and supporting local art and music.

Notably absent from Florida's recommendations: letting heritage buildings decay until they have to be demolished to make room for surface parking, servicing prime farmland far outside the urban boundary to make into industrial parks, and sacrificing urban neighbourhoods to optimize through transport truck traffic.

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 wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Centrist (registered) | Posted June 29, 2010 at 12:14:00

Aiming for a more prominent McMaster presence downtown would be a great start. Reusing old building is another great idea which doesn't only apply to century old buildings. Many of our downtown office buildings built in the 1970s and 80s are more than half empty. The city should entice owners and developers (such as Yale properties) to renovate these towers into condos in order to get more people living downtown.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted June 29, 2010 at 12:28:52

And go after other universities besides Mac. There's plenty to choose from as brantford and Waterloo can attest to.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 29, 2010 at 12:44:54

Office space. We always talk about encouraging businesses in Hamilton by throwing tax money at them for elaborate enticement and crazy "if you build it, they will come" schemes (which failed for Copps Coliseum, for the Discovery centre, and will fail for the Employment Lands).

Rather that building new warehouses out in the middle of nowhere, why doesn't the city redevelop downtown buildings as cut-rate office space? Seems like the simplest way to bring jobs to the city is to give businesses a cheap place to put them, making use of the assets the city actually has kicking around right now.

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 01, 2010 at 23:36:31

Be careful, Centrist, depending on Mac. Seems they're expanding to Burlington, joining a trend with which we are all too familiar. Why is Hamilton encouraging its employers to look elsewhere? Solve that and they will come - and build it themselves.

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