Missed this in December, but worth a read. Quoting in part:
The problem in Toronto, as in other Canadian cities, is the ideological fixation on cities as centres of political power that can impose utopian visions on voters who mostly want the simple things they have wanted for centuries from their cities — roads that are passable, snow that’s removed, garbage that’s collected, transit that’s functional and water that’s drinkable.
It’s the new urban blight. Across the country, city governments are in varying states of disarray, if not chaos. The range is wide, from the badly governed fiasco in Toronto to outright corruption in Montreal and boondoggle-prone governments in Vancouver, Calgary and other Western cities. Taxes are rising, spending is soaring, but roads are crumbling and the basics often ignored.
How this came to be is not chance. One central reason is the rise of a new urban ideology, one that sees city politics not as a provider of services to voters, but as a new paradigm in which mayors and local politicians become the stewards of some new utopian vision. If Mayors Ruled the World is the title of a new book being endorsed by Toronto-based Richard Florida, a New City guru. The book argues that we award city governments more power and create “muscular mayors.”
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