Saturday, May 21, 2005

Unholiest of Violations: The Fate of the 'Mosi-leum'

On the grounds of the Pritchard Estates, the most exotic locale next to the Velvet Lounge has always been the 'Mosi-leum'. Over the span of one year, this realm of soothing greens and mellow beiges was lovingly handcrafted by its once proprietor into an erotic den of high-brow impiety. Right from the time of its completion, the turnstiles never slowed. Visitors of all creed and religion traveled in droves from near and far to experience first-hand and become seduced by this den of debauche. It's murky exploits were only passed in hushed whispers fostering an intrigue and legend that quickly assumed mythic proportions.

However, in an act of historical treachery last week, the wrecking ball struck down the last vestiges of that golden era. Today the place remains a hollowed shell of its former self - silent, sombre and empty. Much like the enchanted Muskoka palaces of old, its charm will live on in the hearts and minds of those who experienced everything it had to offer from its thunderous thrusts of overwhelming delight to the innumerable walks of shame. I'm sure of that.

And with that I bid Constance adieu.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Constitutional Monarchist's Creed.

Who will not sing "God save the King,"
Shall hang as high's the steeple;
But while we sing "God save the King,"
We'll ne'er forget The People!

Robert Burns, Does Haughty Gaul Invasion Threat? 1795

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I Heart Volvo Wagons.

Your one-stop shop for all things Housing Bubble.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Science of Short Sightedness

A rather harsh view of the 'Creative Cities' initiatives sweeping the continent:

"These 'cool city' wannabes are unlikely to be anything other than 'me too' copies of hipper, more alluring places. It would make more sense for these cities to work on the basics--public safety, education, regulations, taxes, sanitation--so they could woo entrepreneurs and cost-conscious homeowners. The amenities will follow once there is a market to consume them."

While I fully agree that great cities are about 'clean and workable neighborhoods, thriving business districts, and functioning schools', the catch is that it's nearly impossible to foster - let alone afford - urban revitalization without a corresponding cultural infrastructure. I'm not talking expensive Gehry inspired art galleries or Libeskind museum's, but rather cities of vision. Cities with cohesive neighbourhoods based on progressive citizen involvement and business districts chalked with a diversity of uses and interrelationship will be the winners. It is this vision which creates excitement and manifests itself into the rebirth of cities like Berlin. Great cities are more than the basics - they're based on creativity and culture born from an active citizenry. And that is something that is certainly not manufactured from City Hall.

The author is right to acknowledge the rue that is municipal economic development today - that big ticket 'ephemeral' items invariably become the 'solution'. However, the back-to-basics 'smokestack chasing' solution suggested is just as pointless. The focus on physical infrastructure improvement as enticement over the past 30 years has ran counter to the economic realities of deindustrialization. It's this failure that spawned the recent rash of ephemeral projects in the first place. The notion that I'm going to move to Gary, Indiana solely for the cheap housing is equally farfetched.

Long-term revitalization salvation is not found in pricey sports arenas, downtown malls and prestige business parks, it's based around community synergy found in the culture, diversity and viability of mainstreets and neighbourhoods. Today's economic growth is generated by people, not Kraft, Acme Industries or the London Knights. It's time municipalities quit wasting money on expedient ribbon cuttings and get around to fostering what really counts.

Thanks be to The Eponym sightings section.