Often times, we find ourselves discussing happenings in Toronto, but we don’t often get a chance to hear from Torontonians, pertaining to what their thoughts are about Buffalo developments. Considering that Toronto is one of our mega-region neighbors, and is still the fastest growing city in North America, we should be looking for as much feedback as possible when it comes to our own renaissance (success stories and downfalls).
A few days ago, Torontonian Kevin H. sent along an email in response to an article that we posted on a Mall Redevelopment: Toronto Style. Here’s what Kevin had to say:
First, I saw a mention of Buffalo on my twitter feed, from a Toronto City Councillor. That just reminded me I’ve been meaning to send an email.
So let’s start w/that Tweet:
Second, I saw your recent’ish post on the huge development at Square One mall in suburban Toronto.
I also saw the replies.
Its worth saying there are people in Toronto who see only the negatives as well.
There are, of course, negatives to high growth; growing income inequality and homelessness, as well as traffic congestion atop that list.
Not small problems, really important ones in need of attention.
But it amazes how someone can be myopically focused on those to the exclusion of all the good that development brings; or fail to see that there is sufficient wealth to address those woes that come out of it. All it takes is political will.
I contrast that with your site and see many who fail to recognize the virtues of Buffalo both as what it is today, what its future may hold.
I find it interesting in both cases to see people make comparisons to other places they may like, and then say “But we can’t do that here.”
I never do hear the ‘why?’ that should logically follow.
At any rate, I think its great that you offer up some comparisons to how Toronto/Ontario or others around the U.S./world handle challenges. It does and should spark a thoughtful conversation about where your community wants to go; and how different ideas may be adapted to local circumstances.
For instance, the Square One proposal would have its most logical equivalent in something done at the Walden Galleria site (ie a proposal to intensify around a popular mall). A similar proposal would start at the edge, along the main street. It wouldn’t need to be at scale of Square one – it could be 10 storeys etc.
A comparison of B-grade malls (where the mall is past its best before date and likely to be demolished would be, amusingly now that I think of it, Toronto’s Galleria Mall.)
As a final thought, I’d be interested in what’s happening in Buffalo on some fronts, that can be challenging for an outsider to follow.
1) Metro Rail expansion to UB@Amherst
2) Tearing down the Skyway
3) The project to calm/green the Scajaquada
I see all three of those as excellent projects. Though I gather the latter one had some shortcomings in terms of the details.