Taking the stage to deliver a keynote address at the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) inaugural Toronto Symposium, renowned urbanist Richard Florida wasted no time in proclaiming his admiration for Toronto, celebrating his adopted city as a global leader in urban renewal and the arresting of urban sprawl. Yet, for all of Florida’s enthusiasm about Toronto, the speech diagnosed a cresting urban crisis, proving to be an alarming call to action rather than a celebration of the city’s accomplishments.
Beyond the interventions that Sampson describes, we need an urban policy that is attuned to this new reality—and that can help to change it. What we need is a new growth model that is as ambitious and as far-reaching as our post-World War II commitment was to creating a middle class. We need to re-knit the safety net and ensure that everyone has access to good, family-supporting jobs that are the equivalents of my father’s factory job.
America’s future can be even better than its past. But the key to getting there — to reigniting innovation, spurring long run prosperity and rebuilding our sagging middle class — lies in strengthening and empowering our system of cities, our greatest asset of all.
City comptroller Scott Stringer and urban thought leader Richard Florida gave back-to-back speeches on the future of New York City. The pair spoke at Onramps of Opportunity: Building a Creative + Inclusive New York, an event co-sponsored by Stringer’s office and N.Y.U.’s School of Professional Studies Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities.
The Ontario government was right to raise its minimum wage, and to introduce legislation that would peg future increases to inflation. But the new legislation should also take into account the significant differences in costs of living across the province. It should include provisions to index the minimum wage on a geographic basis.