Learn From Real Cities

By Jason Leach
Published October 02, 2007

Hamilton Next? More like Hamilton Never.

At least, I hope we never see our city resort to the kind of ideas being presented in this series.

Perhaps the Spectator should take a field trip to Brantford before telling us that we should try to copy their "success" here. The lowest form of political leadership and vision is to take city tax dollars out of the city and use them to build sprawl along a highway. Hamilton¹s future is in its neighbourhoods, education/health institutions, research, inland port, waterfront and downtown core.

The future is already starting to show up on local streets such as James, King, Locke and Ottawa. The growing cluster of tech and internet firms in the International Village is a glimpse of the future. The artists and designers on James North are another group laying a foundation for our future. Any city worth it¹s salt rebuilds from the inside out.

Mayor Fred has grabbed the headlines twice in the past week with brilliant ideas that would help transform our city like no big box store or highway interchange every could: City-wide light rail transit and the creation of a pedestrian piazza downtown at the Gore.

Ideas like this are the future. In fact, in many successful North American cities these ideas were implemented years ago with dazzling results in the form of massive private investment and job creation in the central core neighbourhoods of these cities.

I hope Hamilton is ready to follow the lead of our mayor and make changes now that will bring success in the future. Let's learn from real cities like Boston, Portland, Montreal and those in Europe as we move forward into the twenty-first century.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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