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Old 06-30-2010, 08:59 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144

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Hello all, I just got finished reading the entire thread that compares Toronto's level of urban decay to Detroit. While I understand that this statement mostly refers to aesthetic aspects of Toronto's urban landscape, I am interested in what can be done in order for Toronto to live up to its full potential. I visited Toronto last summer and was impressed by the vibrancy, diversity, overall feeling of safety, and ease of transport. I do, however, agree with some of the statements regarding Toronto's overall "shabby" appearance in some neighborhoods. It was my first visit to Canada and I was surprised at how "gritty" some of the neighborhoods appeared. What I was also surprised with, however, was how SAFE Toronto felt. I am from the Miami area, so I've learned to equate urban decay with crime. How does Toronto manage to keep crime so low in areas with an appearance that makes one's spidey sense tingle?
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:23 AM
Led
 
Location: Astoria, Queens
146 posts, read 401,226 times
Reputation: 138
It's very wrong to correlate appearance with crime. Yes crime is the result in cities such as Detroit where the lack of employment caused people to move from the city, thus infrastructure suffers due to the lack of upkeep; but I guess for Toronto's sake, it's just old. It doesn't necessarily scream out crime and murder.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:57 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144
It may be wrong to assume that areas with high levels of urban blight/decay are crime ridden, but in many cities in the U.S. this is a safe assumption. Urban decentralization in the post war years led to increasing levels of suburbanization, urban sprawl, and economic disinvestment from central city areas which left residents with less, or lower quality, infrastructure and services. The fact that cities and their surrounding suburbs in the U.S. have separate governments hampers the ability of collective decisionmaking on a metropolitan level. The result is growing levels of disparity between suburbs and the central cities that anchor metropolitan areas. That being said, there are old neighborhoods in the U.S. that look "shabby" but are completely safe, and in some cases, charming. I was just struck by how "gritty" and "run down" some parts of downtown Toronto looked. It didn't bother me at all and, in fact, Toronto is one of the cities that I've been seriously considering relocating to. I just wonder if Canada's more comprehensive social safety net reduces the depravity and desperation that you can see in some cities in the U.S. This might account for the overall level of safety. Not sure. I actually had a homeless person in Toronto try to give me change back when I gave him a two dollar coin (toonie?). Amazing!
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Toronto
287 posts, read 966,763 times
Reputation: 280
Oh God, not again.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:38 PM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144
What? No good? I'm not trying to rehash the Toronto/Detroit comparison at all. I REALLY like Toronto. I'm just fascinated by the subtle differences between cities in the U.S. and Canada and was wondering what factors account for these differences. I've never been to Chicago and I've only visited New York City once, when I was much younger so I have no frame of reference for comparing Toronto to the two cities that it is most often compared to. In any case, I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and I hope to visit some other major Canadian cities to get a better feel for the differences in Canadian and U.S. urbanism.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:24 AM
 
705 posts, read 1,792,975 times
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Toronto is not in decay. It looks gritty in many parts simply because the city is not as wealthy as some of the more glamorous major cities. Its residents are having a relatively stable though not rich life.
My other guess is that Canada seems to be more down-to-earth and don't care as much as America about making its city more appealing. However, it is changing. In downtown as well as other parts of the city, new buildings look much better than those built 10 years ago. Seems Toronto finally realizes that simply being functional is just not enough. You have to be pretty as well.

Poor people are much better protected than in the US, hence the difference in terms of safety. It is meaningless to compare with the US in this respect because Canada always wins hands-down.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144
Yeah, I guess decay may not be the best word to describe what I saw in Toronto. I thought that the gritty areas were integrated with less gritty areas in a seamless fashion which is different than what I'm used to in Miami. Miami's poorer neighborhoods are downright scary and they are often situated right next to brand new, shiny, post modern skyscraper condos that are empty and were only built because of vanity, speculation, and over emphasis on aesthetic beauty rather than functionality. I have been the victim of five burglaries growing up and have seen dead bodies and car jackings. I didn't feel like I had to watch my back in Toronto but I still got the "urban," diverse feel which I really like. I agree, Canada wins hands down in the social safety net category. In the U.S., many people have no concept of the common good or collectivity and this is reflected in our social policy and our paltry safety net.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Canada
2,607 posts, read 1,427,827 times
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The city has not been as upkept is it should be in my opinion. But that is really up to our civic pride.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144
Are Torontonians lacking in civic pride? One of the comments I've seen on this forum is that Torontonians and Canadians in general tend towards indifference/apathy more than people in the U.S. I didn't get that when I was there, but I wasn't there for very long. I also didn't see people that had an amazing amount of pride in their city like you would see in New York for instance (people who think New York is the center of the universe). I thought Toronto was pretty awesome. There may be problems in Toronto, but for the most part you have a city to be proud of. There are neighborhoods in Miami that are unsafe in broad daylight. Take a trip to Liberty City, Overtown, Perrine, Allapattah, Opa Locka, Bunche Park, Carol City, south Hialeah, etc and you'll see what I'm talking about. Even when I watch "the real toronto" on youtube and they go through the "bad" parts of North York, Scarborough, Jane n Finch area, Etobicoke, etc it is tame in comparison. Not to say I'd like to be hanging out in those areas after dark, but I feel like a lot of those dudes are posing for the camera. People in Miami get lit on fire in broad daylight in supermarket parking lots.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:21 AM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 873,591 times
Reputation: 144
Also, I'd like to say that I'll stop talking so much about Miami since this is a Toronto forum. It's just the city I'm from. I also don't want to give the impression that all of Miami is a crime ridden cesspool. There are parts of Miami that are beautiful, tropical paradises. There are amazing restaurants, clubs, art galleries, etc and Miami is changing. Not everyone would say the changes are for the better (i.e. gentrification vs. revitalization/renewal) but at the very least, there are more cultural options than there used to be. In any case, most of these "nice" parts of Miami are for the upper middle class or the rich. Poor residents of the greater Miami region are prisoners of their own neighborhoods. They face crumbling infrastructure, lack of safe and efficient public transit, high violent and property crime rates, no job opportunities, lack of consumer goods (pawn shops, liquor stores, auto shops, strip clubs, fast food, etc), substandard housing, and no police protection. It seems like Canada is light years ahead of the U.S. in providing access to these goods/services for people of modest or low income.
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