So It Begins

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association of Calgary and the UDI have used their collective heaps of money to un-ironically plan the arrival of Randal O’Toole in town today. Mr. O’Toole is a long-time anti-planner who touts the supremacy of the free market (an inherently unstable system that, according to pure capitalists, has the ability to not only meet our needs for today but provide unlimited growth and prosperity for the future without any regulation or coordination whatsoever) and a key part of the CHBA & UDI’s war against Plan It.

Since he’s in town, the Herald’s opinion section has come up with a new piece to offend the common sense in us all. Before I detract it too much, I should note that they do make one good point in that the city’s approval process for the medium to high-density developments proposed in Plan It need to be seriously overhauled to give priority to the new forms of building.

That doesn’t make up for the completely contradictory argument you’ll see in the following article; notably that they complain that the future is ethereal and unknowable, yet definite policies and concise direction are needed. I guess it doesn’t matter where we go as long as we do so with boldness and decisiveness.

Forgive me for not having faith that those with vested interests in greenfield, low-density, suburban development will somehow magically create a city I want to live in.


Read the story here.

Apparently no planning = smart growth 

Transit is bad, we need more roads.



  1. Guille · March 25, 2009

    The Calgary Herald has been enlightening us lately with their “educated” perspective on Plan It. As such an objective newspaper that they are, they have been describing a one-sided argument for the last few weeks.

    On first place, the article of the Herald relates planning with the technological advances of the last 60 years. It argues that no plan is needed as things change dramatically in 60 years. Apparently, the journalist considers that an interchange or an utility corridor is comparable with an ipod. Infrastructure in the City is placed with 100 years life span. As a result, the introduction of long range plans, is common in every aspect related to urban infrastructure. To clarify a bit more, the position of developers, current shape of Calgary’s urban form and the present environmental footprint, is a direct result of the Uni-City approach adopted in Calgary in 1951 (58 years ago).

    Moreover, Mr. O’Toole claims that he advocates a free market model. I absolutely agree with him. I would like to see a City in which greenfield developers have to pay for their infrastructure. Roads, interchange, access to gas, electricity, water, sewers and other utilities are being provided by the City of Calgary. The lower the density is, the more expensive it becomes to implement such infrastructure. In a complete free market system, the greenfield developers should pay for all those services. However, Mr. O’Toole advocates for a false notion. He advocated for status-quo; for a growth model in which every Calgarian subsidizes the business of Greenfield Developers. He supports urban sprawl, single-family housing as only development alternative and option for Calgary’s population. He calls for environmental disaster in the name of short-term gains for his partners (those who invited him to speak in Calgary). And yes, he still tries to defend for a growth pattern that has reached its end, a vision from the past.


    PS: Houston… seriously? Can anybody claim they want to live in Houston?… If this is true: Calgary, we have a problem.

  2. Derek · March 25, 2009

    The Herald is trying to get even more milage from this guy’s neverending stream of “knowledge”. Read about how he considers the cancer-like spread of unplanned growth to be “smart growth”. Seriously, does he even understand long-term investments, or does he only know “Mommy, I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!” ?

    Moreover, as if the ring roads weren’t bad enough, this gentleman is telling us to build even more roads rather than, you know… trying to use the ones we have. Le sigh.

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