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Now Magazine: City In The Park

WHAT IF WE STARTED LOOKING AT THE IDEA THAT NEIGHBOURHOODS COULD BE RUN FROM PARKS?

By: MIKE SMITH
Published: DECEMBER 13 - 19, 2007
Source: Now Magazine

I wonder what starts people down the paths of their fascinations city planners, for instance. Childrens blocks? A romantic encounter in an urban square?

My first exposure to planning came unexpectedly. Maybe I was protesting too soon after September 11. And maybe I was mouthier six years ago. A constable was searching my knapsack. But soon he and I were agreeing that policing couldn't make us safe.

Unless you design neighbourhoods so people can care for each other, he said, the police will be forever doing mop-up. His superior silently poured the juice from my lunch onto the street to illustrate the point.

I never expected to write about that in the context of municipal budgets. But as Toronto becomes more cash-strapped, less planned and more heavily policed, one wonders about connections.

The Budget Committee will seek deputations in January, and the confusion of worthy causes is matched by the lack of budgetary flexibility - at least when it comes to current ways of doing things.

Two key facts: most money goes for staff, and councillors feel bound by the fact that most of it ends up in two services that are hard to trim: police and the TTC. What to do? The solution may not be cutting or spending, but restructuring.

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Content last modified on November 08, 2008, at 03:28 PM EST