Illustration by Jane Roy
There are those in London – the city I live in – who say that we should stop speaking so negatively about the city because it just gets to be a downer. And there are others who say to stop pretending things are good because they aren’t and we won’t get anywhere if we can’t address our problems.
The reality is that both are right. The trouble is that often those who want to be positive refuse to apply that energy to dealing directly with the city’s problems, and those who wish to have an honest discussion about London’s difficulties often overlook the solutions that already exist among us and which should be liberated from their present confines.
My new book on London – A Place For Us – attempts to bring these two forces together. It is sincerely time we had a really adult conversation concerning the reality that we might never be the city we once were and that we’ll have to innovate our way into a new identity. At the same time, the governing structures within our community continually fail to sufficiently enhance the strengths we presently possess that can help us forge a new future – young entrepreneurs, start-up capital, the use of the ethnic business advantage, a new generation of sustainable activists, the need to develop our own food security network. All of these and others have been discussed, plotted out, and reported on repeatedly. But the political will isn’t there to resource those efforts and make a conscious choice for the future – building more highrises will not save us. And also fewer Londoners are voting, which merely maintains the present political construct – no hope there.
These are the themes inherent in the book, but they are enhanced by the reality that we already have the solutions in our own community but lack that clear and defining vision that will unleash them.
This is the basis of the talk I had with CBC’s Ontario Morning this week. Just click on the link below.