The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “cities

We Won’t Get to the Future if We Can’t Survive the Present

Posted on October 18, 2018

Since the beginning of time people have worried about their future, especially in days of war, transition and rapid change.  But nothing has matched the revolution that technology has introduced and the speed of change is now a light speed.  So, yes, people have a right to be worried. But before we descend too deeply into that madness, perhaps we should be worried about just getting through the present.  We’re not doing well at it.  What’s the source of that information?  Think IKEA. That’s right, a world leading furniture company that annually publishes research reports on how people live in relation to their homes.  If that doesn’t very revolutionary, think again. The most publicized finding of their most recent report involving 22,000 people in 22…

A City’s Potential Stifled By Self-Doubt

Posted on April 24, 2018

The quote holds out hope for what a mid-sized city can become: “These cities have the potential to become leaders of sustainable and inclusive city-building initiatives across Canada.” It’s posted on the website of Evergreen Canada, a group coming to London on May 15-16 to see if we can make the cut as a municipality dynamic enough to carve out a more prosperous and meaningful future for itself. That Evergreen is coming to London at all, in co-operation with numerous local organizations, might be a sign that it values our potential, but it could just as well be a recognition that we are floundering enough as a community that we could use some outside help. It’s tough in a country as spread out as…

Letting Our Cities Take Flight

Posted on March 13, 2018

“It is always easy to create an ordinary city; what is difficult is to create an extraordinary one, peaceful and restful one, smart and tidy, artful and cultivated one.  In short, a livable one,” wrote Mehmet Murat ildan. It makes sense, seems perfectly plausible, and for committed citizens and good politicians should be doable.  Yet many Canadian cities are having trouble achieving it.  Those that struggle inevitably compare themselves to other municipalities elsewhere that seem to have their act together and lament that we lack the resources, leadership or innovation to replicate such success.  There’s a lot of that going around these days in this country, especially among mid-sized cities. Since my time as a member of parliament in Ottawa a number of years…

Cities – Our Future Battleground

Posted on March 1, 2018

Whatever the future holds, the fate of humanity will be played out in our cities. Seem far-fetched?  It shouldn’t.  This much we know.  In the next 100 years, the greatest migration to cities around the world will occur, with some 7-8 billion people becoming urbanites – more than exist on earth right now.  Nothing in history matches this.  Most of this vast movement will take place in developing nations, but the cities of the West won’t be able to escape the remarkable challenges and opportunities that come from this phenomenon. When you think about the greatest challenges facing us at present, they have been emerging mostly in our urban centers for a half a century or more.  Climate change, poverty, wealth creation, jobs, unemployment,…

What’s a City For?

Posted on May 19, 2016

THE IMPOSSIBLE OFTEN HAS A KIND OF INTEGRITY which the merely improbable lacks,” wrote Douglas Adams. Sounds great, but what does it mean exactly? For cities and communities, understanding this distinction is pivotal to assessing themselves. It is why the impossible will always hold greater appeal in our lives. We all know that the things we value most also cost the most – it’s what makes them treasures. Raising children, making marriage work, building a successful business, excelling at the arts, saving the environment, or overcoming mental illness – all of these take effort and loads of it. Why, then, should building a valuable city be any different? If we’re going to go cheap, then we might as well pack it up. Just ask…

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