Instead of complaining about the high price of gasoline, this is an opportunity to redesign our cities and shift the priority from cars to pedestrians, from asphalt to tree-lined boulevards, from shopping centres to corner stores. It’s not far-fetched. For fourteen (14) years I was a volunteer community leader in Toronto. As Chair of Y.S.A.R.A, our ratepayer groups were involved in creating a new “city-centre” out of an existing section of the city. The community’s voice was essential in the success of the new city-centre, along with the city planners, and developers.
It took about twenty (20) years for the redevelopment to build-out from the initial planning stages, but it’s been a pleasure living adjacent to the redevelopment and seeing the transition occur there, and here in our residential neighbourhood. My family has options, which meant I wasn’t a chauffeur all the time. My children walked or rode their bicycles to school. My neighbour walked to work in one of the nearby highrises. Other neighbours go to work by subway. I speak to my neighbours. My parents are in their eighties and nineties, and they don’t have a car, but they live in an apartment where they can walk by themselves to the grocery store, or the library, and my mother goes by herself on the subway to her appointments. So, what types of changes are needed to create a city where people can live, work, entertain, and grow old?