Comment 16451

By statius (registered) | Posted December 31, 2007 at 00:05:16

To say "we can't seem to figure out in Hamilton that the lack of surface parking in Toronto is the reason why its downtown is successful and home to the most valuable real estate in the country" is complete bollocks. Anyone who knew Toronto in the 70's, 80's, and 90's can recall that the city, during those decades of unprecedented growth, was absolutely rife with surface parking lots. Of course they disappeared as the city densified. But the success of this densification process in no way relied on their presence/absence. Classic post-hoc fallacy.

Further, I know how beloved the Lister Block is in this city, but is it really worth it? It is absolutely mediocre (maybe submediocre) pre-war small city North American commerical architecture. Hardly anything to distinguish it at all from the countless hordes of such buildings which have been torn down without tears in cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, etc. over the decades (yes, indoor shopping arcades did exist before the Lister). Give us a bit of decoish terracotta detailing and suddenly we think we're in possession of the Chrysler Building or Selfridges.

The truth of the matter is that Hamilton, given its relative size and wealth, should start taking cues from cities like Manchester and Liverpool, where decaying Victorian hulks in the city centre have been pulled down to allow for the erection of exciting pieces of contemporary architecture which make a genuine contribution to the cityscape. Mind you, I would rather have the crumbling shell of the Lister than another parking lot, but if preservationist tactics prevented something serious from taking the Lister's place, that would surely be an injustice to the city.

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