“Where are the people?” asked Jane Jacobs.
“Who cares about the people? Look at my wonderful buildings,” she was told.
That answer prompted Jane Jacobs to walk. Her walk served a purpose. The walks held in her name, “Jane’s Walks,” do not.
The purpose of her walks was to find out first hand for herself where people were going as well as why they were going there.
For decades people had a reason to go to Bloor and Bathurst in Toronto.
That reason was Honest Ed’s.
That reason is no longer there.
In its place will be a giant mediocrity. It will be there because that is what The City of Toronto does. It replaces what is original with what is mediocre.
Stated Jane Jacobs in a CBC piece in 1969. “There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUO20–hXw8 .
It certainly will be expensive.
And, yes, it will create jobs.
The jobs it creates, however, will be nothing against the cost of the jobs creating the space has cost.
“That’s the question asked again and again…at public hearings. But they never tell us who will get those jobs. And they never count the jobs that may be lost.”–Jane Jacobs.
The so-called bonus of new housing, parks, all of that is as Jane pointed out in DISTURBER OF THE PEACE, an interview from 1962 with Eve Auchincloss and Nancy Lynch, “the same carrot they always pass out.”
Mind you, THE CITY OF TORONTO is not solely to blame. Mirvish’s son sold the property.
He walks away with his pockets filled. He has a future.
Those who had given their lives to his father’s store have none.
Nor has that corner of Toronto. It’s day is done.
Jane warned long ago that these projects don’t work out, that people do not choose to live in them.
Her last book DARK AGE AHEAD is a warning being ignored by many.
It is not being ignored by me. We are heading into a jobless future where the few will be so highly taxed they will lose all initiative. The many will be so frustrated their rage will be palpable.–Reg Hartt 03/01/2017.