The core idea is that the scale of our government needs to match the scale of our problems.
No single municipality is going to solve traffic congestion on its own, for example. To the extent the problem can be solved, it will have to be a concerted effort because commuters — whether they take cars or transit — cross borders every day.
But, irony of ironies, now the argument is turning back to a Harris-esque, everyone-forthemselves attitude. People like Florida and former chief planner for the City of Toronto Jennifer Keesmaat [on record as saying, “The facts show that transit is overwhelmingly a local service”] drag out Jane Jacobs to back up their point about the importance of local power, but though few urban planners like to admit it, Jane Jacobs was not actually infallible.
She loved the Annex and Greenwich Village — two places few can afford to live in today — and had little understanding of, or empathy for suburbanites, even though they constitute the vast majority of North American citydwellers. She didn’t much care if people outside of city centres liked how they lived; the best way to live is the way she did.
For Toronto or any other city to think that its political and economic well-being is divorced from that of its suburbs is naive. More people live in Peel, York and Durham Regions than Toronto (and more in Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York than downtown), and it’s sad to see twoway animus between what should be seen as two parts of the same unified whole.
Don’t get me wrong: we can’t be satisfied being car-dependent bedroom communities, and we can’t rely on Toronto’s subways instead of bolstering our own internal transit.
We should certainly debate where it makes sense to work together (transit sure seems obvious) and where more of a local approach is warranted, but wholesale dismissals of regionalism are only going to undermine the long-term success of Toronto and the region. If we want to get better, we’re going to have to start thinking bigger.