Ottawa – Live in the past or plan for the future

Jeffrey Simpson’s editorial for the Globe and Mail.

A decision will be made in the chambers of Ottawa City Council that speaks to whether tomorrow’s city will look like yesterday’s. Cities across Canada make decisions like this all the time. Too many have made the wrong one, as Ottawa might do tomorrow.

At issue is urban sprawl, or the spreading suburbia of single-family housing.

Cities of yesterday planned for and encouraged sprawl.

Developers liked sprawl, because they made more money on single-family dwellings. Families liked sprawl, because it provided space for kids.

Municipal councils liked sprawl, because councillors believed in letting market forces prevail and market forces (developers and consumers) wanted sprawl.

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