U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Canada
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-03-2015, 09:09 AM
 
1,218 posts, read 2,116,479 times
Reputation: 1316

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I think LA is a great place for those who know how to take advantage of what it offers and accept its flaws. It is not a traditional city with 4% dense core and 96% utterly boring suburbs. You can have a highly urban and interesting life in many pockets of the city, which makes it rather unique. It is as different from NYC oR TORONTO as from Houston or Atlanta. Those who think it is just mindless sprawl simply don't know it well enough.

Someone has shown it before that cities like Boston always give people the impression of dense, compact and almost European like when in fact its post war suburbs (that's the majority of the metro area) are even worse than that of Atlanta.

LA is agressively expanding the transit system and downtown is experiencing Americas biggest urban transformation. I am very optimistic about this city and believe it has the most potential among all. Instead of bickering and being so scared of the Olympics, its city council passed the vote to bid for it 15:0. That's how big minded cities do.
I agree there's nothing quite like LA in Canada nor in the US for that matter. It's very much it's own beast. I also think it's quite an interesting city, despite it's never ending sprawl, congestion and the negative stereotypes attached to it. It's like a cluster of a whole bunch of cities that are quite urban, innovative, and vibrant in their own way. I've visited/stayed with friends in Santa Monica, Westwood, West Hollywood, and Manhattan Beach and always had fun. But it's been a while, I wouldn't mind going back to see what's going on.

And just because a city doesn't have a big central core with vast subways connecting it to other areas like Northern/East Coast N.A. or many European or Asian centers, doesn't mean someone should write off a city. Not every city has to be designed like NYC or Tokyo nor does every city has to be a mega city to be great. I'd even argue the quality of life in mega cities declines for the vast majority except for those in the upper echelon. Places like Toronto, Chicago, SF, and Boston are pretty good sized and offer a good urban core and surrounding areas to suit different lifestyle options. I find cities that are 100% high rise condos like Hong Kong or Singapore personally unappealing to live in, but that's my personal opinion. Some people (or likely the majority) love huge suburban homes with lots of rooms and pools. I much prefer low rise buildings and tightly packed housing neighborhoods near the city core. To each their own.

Last edited by johnathanc; 09-03-2015 at 09:48 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-03-2015, 10:08 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,268,124 times
Reputation: 7586
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
I agree there's nothing quite like LA in Canada nor in the US for that matter. It's very much it's own beast. I also think it's quite an interesting city, despite it's never ending sprawl, congestion and the negative stereotypes attached to it. It's like a cluster of a whole bunch of cities that are quite urban, innovative, and vibrant in their own way. I've visited/stayed with friends in Santa Monica, Westwood, West Hollywood, and Manhattan Beach and always had fun. But it's been a while, I wouldn't mind going back to see what's going on.

And just because a city doesn't have a big central core with vast subways connecting it to other areas like Northern/East Coast N.A. or many European or Asian centers, doesn't mean someone should write off a city. Not every city has to be designed like NYC or Tokyo nor does every city has to be a mega city to be great. I'd even argue the quality of life in mega cities declines for the vast majority except for those in the upper echelon. Places like Toronto, Chicago, SF, and Boston are pretty good sized and offer a good urban core and surrounding areas to suit different lifestyle options. I find cities that are 100% high rise condos like Hong Kong or Singapore personally unappealing to live in, but that's my personal opinion. Some people (or likely the majority) love huge suburban homes with lots of rooms and pools. I much prefer low rise buildings and tightly packed housing neighborhoods near the city core. To each their own.
I agree with almost all of this except two minor details:

1) Tokyo is actually more like LA in that it has many business nodes. Not all (or a predominant percentage) shopping/working/entertainment is located at the centre like NYC/Chicago/Toronto. Of course being three times larger Tokyo feels more urban and denser.

2) Cities like SF have already become one of those which are only appealing to the high income earners.

LA is a great city. And you are exactly right it functions more like a collection of many cities/towns. I myself didn't know Beverly Hills/Culver City/Santa Monica/WeHo were separate cities for a long time. LA probably doesn't suit my needs well because I hate driving intensively and would always want to live/work/play within a small walkable area, but it is wrong to dismiss LA as some sort of urban blight easily.

Central LA for example covers the same area and has the similar population as San Francisco, yet LA is blamed for being sprawl while SF is touted as some sort of urban paradise just because SF is a smaller city, when in fact 80% of SF is nothing but boring semi-suburban-ish houses and nothing else. And believe it or not, the transit in LA actually works pretty well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 12:24 PM
 
1,218 posts, read 2,116,479 times
Reputation: 1316
^Your technically right about Tokyo, it's goes in very direction forever with many nodes. But it's almost too big to handle in some ways which makes it interesting at the same time. I remember getting lost in a subway station with 13 exits that felt like the size of Eaton Centre. My point re Tokyo was that cities can and should be different, and shouldn't strive to be like something else. I'm honestly getting a bit bored seeing major world cities because the experience is becoming very much the same with some local twist. Toronto should not want to model itself after city X or Y, and instead grow in a way that is distinct and livable. City planners should have such a vision and sometimes I question whether they do or if they just want property tax dollars. It seems like LA has a plan in place to deal with it's challenges. SF can use more subways IMO but otherwise I think it's a pretty nice place to live, if you can afford it.

Last edited by johnathanc; 09-03-2015 at 12:50 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 01:39 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,268,124 times
Reputation: 7586
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
^Your technically right about Tokyo, it's goes in very direction forever with many nodes. But it's almost too big to handle in some ways which makes it interesting at the same time. I remember getting lost in a subway station with 13 exits that felt like the size of Eaton Centre. My point re Tokyo was that cities can and should be different, and shouldn't strive to be like something else. I'm honestly getting a bit bored seeing major world cities because the experience is becoming very much the same with some local twist. Toronto should not want to model itself after city X or Y, and instead grow in a way that is distinct and livable. City planners should have such a vision and sometimes I question whether they do or if they just want property tax dollars. It seems like LA has a plan in place to deal with it's challenges. SF can use more subways IMO but otherwise I think it's a pretty nice place to live, if you can afford it.
I definitely agree cities should be allowed to grow and prosper in different way - as long as it is on a sustainable manner than increases people's quality of life.

Although Toronto should strive to establish its own identity which is currently lacking, there is plenty of things we can learn from other successful cities. In this aspect, I think Toronto and many of its people have a kind of arrogance - they either think "Toronto is Toronto, we don't want to copy from others" (honestly that means nothing), or consider New York City the only role model. I have seen too much of it.

I know you have been kind of against all the condo boom, but I am liking it so far. Of course there are disadvantages such as making every street increasingly like Bay St between Dundas and Bloor, but I think the general trend is positive - bringing more people to the core and densify downtown and the transit corridors.

Speaking of huge subway stations, People's Square in Shanghai has 20 exits. It is like a maze. It is funny that Toronto worries about confusing people when starting using line 1 and line 2 instead of the old name.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 02:35 PM
 
2,562 posts, read 2,180,745 times
Reputation: 1815
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I definitely agree cities should be allowed to grow and prosper in different way - as long as it is on a sustainable manner than increases people's quality of life.

Although Toronto should strive to establish its own identity which is currently lacking, there is plenty of things we can learn from other successful cities. In this aspect, I think Toronto and many of its people have a kind of arrogance - they either think "Toronto is Toronto, we don't want to copy from others" (honestly that means nothing), or consider New York City the only role model. I have seen too much of it.

I know you have been kind of against all the condo boom, but I am liking it so far. Of course there are disadvantages such as making every street increasingly like Bay St between Dundas and Bloor, but I think the general trend is positive - bringing more people to the core and densify downtown and the transit corridors.

Speaking of huge subway stations, People's Square in Shanghai has 20 exits. It is like a maze. It is funny that Toronto worries about confusing people when starting using line 1 and line 2 instead of the old name.
Ok I've been through Shanghai's subway maze many times. The network coverage is amazing, but the stations are just tooooooo vast. For example, in People's Square station, it literally takes me 10-15 minutes AFTER I enter the station entrance in order to find my way to the platform - no not because I was lost, but due to the sheer scale of the design. Many times, it makes sense to take the subway on map, but in reality, I might as well just walk or bike to my destination because I by the time I walk to the subway station platform in Shanghai I might as well have covered 1/2 or 1/4 of the total distance of my actual journey.

Shanghai, or most other Chinese cities for that matter, is a pretty poor model to follow for Toronto in terms of urban planning.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 02:39 PM
 
1,218 posts, read 2,116,479 times
Reputation: 1316
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I definitely agree cities should be allowed to grow and prosper in different way - as long as it is on a sustainable manner than increases people's quality of life.

Although Toronto should strive to establish its own identity which is currently lacking, there is plenty of things we can learn from other successful cities. In this aspect, I think Toronto and many of its people have a kind of arrogance - they either think "Toronto is Toronto, we don't want to copy from others" (honestly that means nothing), or consider New York City the only role model. I have seen too much of it.

I know you have been kind of against all the condo boom, but I am liking it so far. Of course there are disadvantages such as making every street increasingly like Bay St between Dundas and Bloor, but I think the general trend is positive - bringing more people to the core and densify downtown and the transit corridors.

Speaking of huge subway stations, People's Square in Shanghai has 20 exits. It is like a maze. It is funny that Toronto worries about confusing people when starting using line 1 and line 2 instead of the old name.
I'm not against condos or the building lots of them in downtown Toronto. I think it's great to build up the core but I just think the execution could be better. Maybe I'm asking for too much but I know many feel the same way. If people want to plow tonnes of money into development, then this is great opportunity to "plan out" the city for the long term so to speak. I wish they would put up higher quality structures and focus more on the livability aspect of neighborhoods, including for people with kids and not just singles-focused. I see some of the new developments are looking better though so the voice is being slowly heard.

Late last year I went on a house search. Everywhere was in scope for me including downtown but couldn't find anything that would suit my needs in the core. I'm starting a family so I don't care about late night bars and restaurants and don't want to be in a trashy area. I need 3 bedrooms, access to good schools, child-friendly neighborhood feel and amenities, don't want to pay through the nose rip off maintenance fees, and want walking access to subway and grocery/amenities. I know, I want a lot! I honestly couldn't find what I wanted in the downtown core to suit my needs, at least a piece of property I could afford that wasn't run down completely near a good school district (and there are only a handful in the core). I was further appalled to learn that recently built condos near good schools don't even allow children to attend those schools and they are instead bused out to schools with excess capacity that usually aren't very good. So I ended up focusing on neighborhoods along the subway line up the Yonge line or across the Bloor line around High Park/bordering Etobicoke, neighborhoods close to but not right in downtown. And honestly, I'm quite happy with my decision with North Toronto. Yes, it's a bit "sleepy" but it's very friendly with good schools, and still decently urban as I can walk for anything including the subway, and close to the downtown core if I need it, which is becoming less as my priorities change. Right now if I were single, I'd definitely be downtown but it did not turn out to be the most livable place for me at this time after considering it. I'm sure this is a common scenario for most in major cities across N.A.

Last edited by johnathanc; 09-03-2015 at 03:36 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,144,050 times
Reputation: 3738
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Cost is indeed a concern but the fact the Los Angeles voted for it unanimously shows their confidence in managing it, something we don't seem to have now. As to economic size, both Barcelona and Sydney appear to be of comparable size to Toronto. And both games were successful without financial disaster. yet people choose to focus on Montreal and Athens (which don't really have a good track record of managing their finances). Also I don't see how 2024 is "rushed". It is 10 years away, or 7 years from 2017, when the decision is made. But when a LRT line is taking 10 years to finish, and a 200 meter tunnel taking 3, I am not surprised it felts short. We really can do so little in so much time after all.

But in all honesty, I am not so looking forward to the Olympic Games. I don't see it bring too much economic benefit to Toronto. What bothers me is the prevalent mentality that "we don't ever want it; it is vanity; it costs too much, money should be spent on fixed roads and school" kind of small mindedness. For decades Toronto suffered from this "we don't want any grandeur" small mindedness, and it doesn't seem to be extinct any time soon.
There are some aspects to Toronto that is 'small' minded I would agree but by and large I actually don't agree with your prevailing view that Toronto is 'small' minded.. The Pan Am Games were here and the city hosts large international festivals - TIFF is of obvious note.. Its still an important city to the global economy so i'm not going to jump on this small minded bandwagon just because of the Olympics.. Boston made its choice and I respect it - I wouldn't say its small minded..

Don't forget either and yes - it is the private sector driving this but still, the city and province have approved over the last decade the largest condo construction boom in the western world and the Office development in the city is nothing to sneer at either - is that 'small' minded - I think not so I think some perspective is needed here.

As for Sydney and Barcelona - point taken i'm just not so inclined to a 2024 bid as I would be in the 2030's.. I think we can focus on other things more important to the city than an Olympics.. As for the people of Toronto - I think they are more than ready and receptive to a large event like the Olympics. It takes Torontonians a bit to get on the bandwagon - but I do think the Pan Am games ultimately proved that the citizens of this city are more than 'small-minded'

Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post

Although Toronto should strive to establish its own identity which is currently lacking, there is plenty of things we can learn from other successful cities. In this aspect, I think Toronto and many of its people have a kind of arrogance - they either think "Toronto is Toronto, we don't want to copy from others" (honestly that means nothing), or consider New York City the only role model. I have seen too much of it.
This is really your opinion though Botti - not all of us agree that Toronto lacks an 'identity' - the city is an amalgam of identities - there isn't a prevailing identity.. Perhaps you just haven't found your clique to identify with but there are plenty of those in the city. Toronto has done well for itself over the last 50 years.. Could it do better - that is always a relative scale and there are obviously ways it can but on the whole I think we need to stop and smell the roses from time to time and take stock in what we do have here. Gradual improvements are good and quite frankly, there are plenty of cities that could learn from Toronto as well..

L.A is one of them

http://southpark.la/as-crime-surges-downtowners-worry/

On a final note and just to clarify in my earlier posts - when I spoke of suburban and exurban density re Toronto vs L.A I wasn't trying to place some sort of negative connotation to this with respect to L.A other than to highlight that these two cities do share similar density profiles outside of their cores - more so than most other cities in Canamerica Like S.F for instance that has a strong core density but its suburban densities sort of peter out much quicker than Toronto and L.A.

Last edited by fusion2; 09-03-2015 at 04:41 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-03-2015, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Toronto
12,581 posts, read 11,144,050 times
Reputation: 3738
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
So I ended up focusing on neighborhoods along the subway line up the Yonge line or across the Bloor line around High Park/bordering Etobicoke, neighborhoods close to but not right in downtown. And honestly, I'm quite happy with my decision with North Toronto. Yes, it's a bit "sleepy" but it's very friendly with good schools, and still decently urban as I can walk for anything including the subway, and close to the downtown core if I need it, which is becoming less as my priorities change. Right now if I were single, I'd definitely be downtown but it did not turn out to be the most livable place for me at this time after considering it. I'm sure this is a common scenario for most in major cities across N.A.
My partner and I were faced with a similar situation in that living in Etobicoke presented us with an opportunity to live closer to work, have a larger apartment than what we'd pay for DT yet still within a 5 minute walk to the Islington subway station.. This way, if we want to go DT we can be there in 25 minutes..

All things being equal, we'd rather live DT but sometimes for a variety of reasons there are just more practical options elsewhere. Hey, at least there are some decent restaurants, pubs close by and sometimes just jumping in the car and driving to Ikea, Costco, Walmart, Loblaws etc is just really convenient and not something you can do DT to the same degree. We miss DT but we're in a mode right now where we've enjoyed our time there and now those priorities give way to other more practical one's. We're getting older and settling down I guess lol...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2015, 07:04 AM
 
1,218 posts, read 2,116,479 times
Reputation: 1316
Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion2 View Post

This is really your opinion though Botti - not all of us agree that Toronto lacks an 'identity' - the city is an amalgam of identities - there isn't a prevailing identity.. Perhaps you just haven't found your clique to identify with but there are plenty of those in the city. Toronto has done well for itself over the last 50 years.. Could it do better - that is always a relative scale and there are obviously ways it can but on the whole I think we need to stop and smell the roses from time to time and take stock in what we do have here. Gradual improvements are good and quite frankly, there are plenty of cities that could learn from Toronto as well..
I think what he means when he says Toronto lacks identity is that it isn't as famous or influencial on a worldwide scale. Comparing to LA for instance (to somewhat keep with the topic), LA is a much more well known city. Everyone knows about it's rich and famous Hollywood culture, shopping and entertainment culture, beaches and iconic symbols like the Hollywood sign and walk of fame, and even it's shortcomings like gangsters and traffic jams. This doesn't mean Toronto is not a great city to live - it's safe, Canada's business center, and very multicultural - but it's just not the most popular kid in class, like a NYC, LA or SF. This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, but something I think some locals have trouble comprehending because they mostly haven't lived anywhere else and only know what it's like being the big dog in Canada or think the city deserves more attention. I do find people who come to Toronto for the first time leave with a positive impression as they didn't know much about the city to begin with. I think the city is still building it's identity or profile in some ways and it's moving in the right direction.

Last edited by johnathanc; 09-04-2015 at 07:24 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-04-2015, 07:28 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,268,124 times
Reputation: 7586
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnathanc View Post
I think what he means when he says Toronto lacks identity is that it isn't as famous or influencial on a worldwide scale. Comparing to LA for instance (to somewhat keep with the topic), LA is a much more well known city. Everyone knows about it's rich and famous Hollywood culture, shopping and entertainment culture, beaches and iconic symbols like the Hollywood sign and walk of fame, and even it's shortcomings like gangsters and traffic jams. This doesn't mean Toronto is not a great city to live - it's safe, Canada's business center, and very multicultural - but it's just not the most popular kid in class, like a NYC, LA or SF. This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, but something I think some locals have trouble comprehending (because they mostly haven't lived anywhere else) or want to change because they think the city deserves more attention. I find people who come to Toronto for the first time do leave with a positive impression as they didn't know much about the city to begin with. I think the city is still building it's identity or profile in some ways and it's moving in the right direction.
that's pretty much how I interpret it. When I say Toronto doesn't have a distinct identity, I meant Toronto doesn't automatically remind people of anything (no instant image in the head). It is not culturally significant, and people elsewhere know very little about it (probably less than Vancouver or Montreal). It is like I don't know much about Minneapolis. Honestly before I came to Toronto seven years ago, I knew almost nothing about it. Didn't even know the CN tower - although many may think it is very iconic, it is actually not that famous.

In general I think it is definitely a better place to live than say LA or New York, but that's two completely separate matters. People shouldn't be too defensive about it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Canada
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top