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Session Two

This session is about planning and its limitations, and about some of the forces shaping the future of our cities, ... and of downtown Toronto. It's really contextual information. There are limits to what we should attempt to do with a plan. Our understanding is necessarily limited. Good plan recognize that limitation. The point is illustrated by the impact of planning for the car and by the impact of replacing slums with towers in a park. Neither was successful. It pays to keep that in mind and we think about the future.

And that future is being shaped by broad and deep economic and technological changes. The middle class is disappearing from Toronto (and elsewhere). Employment patterns are changing in often very uncomfortable ways. What can a city do about this? What should we do about it? Technology is one of the big drivers. Self-driving vehicles illustrate what is about to happen. All of the big players in automobiles and in technology are investing in self-driving. It's coming, with implications that are still unclear. Over everything we do is the threat of climate change. Even if Lake Ontario doesn't rise by very much, we must still content with more extreme weather events. And we're not prepared.

It all adds up to a complex urban context. Next week we'll look at the planning apparatus that is currently being used by Toronto. The gap between what we are doing and what we should be doing may be considerable, ... but that' for next week.

Presentation Slides - Session Two (pdf file)


One day I drove along Sheppard Ave. from the Zoo to Yonge St., 4 lanes, wonderful visibility on all sides, could see pedestrians from far off; I wondered why there are accidents on such roads. Compared to downtown Toronto, driving was a dream for these aged eyes and reflexes.

Driverless buses sound ideal - certainly cheaper than subways - hope the future brings them to Toronto!

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May 6 – June 10 (6 sessions) Time: Wednesdays, 10:10 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Location