When women get harassed on the street, or at a bar, or on their walk home from work, do you know what we think? We wonder, am I going to get out of this safely? Am I going to walk away from this? Where are my keys if I need to stab someone in the eye? Are there people on the street? Will they hear me? Which way will I run? Solar Plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin. I’m exaggerating, but only so slightly. Does it disturb you that we think like this? That we have to think like this?
An Australian train-safety PSA. (h/t @JamesKoole)
Public space, public amenities and the public good, or corporate colonization? | #onpoli
So I’m driving along the lakeshore this morning and my daughter, who’s loved going to the waterpark and the waterslides and such, notices the signs and landmarks leading to Ontario Place. Which is going to be, if not closed, then transformed into an innovative provincial landmark. In any event, the Ontario Place grounds, Cinesphere, waterpark, rides, attractions and restaurants are out of business this summer for “revitalization.”
Which is a drag, but, well, you know — shit happens.
Not going to talk at length about noise or extravagance or inconvenience, because this isn’t about pissy downtown elitists wanting their peace and quiet or anything, and, well, tourist dollars.
No, for the moment I just want to compare and contrast. If I understand this right, then spending public resources on the public good is a bad thing, so in the name of fighting the deficit and tightening our belts and living within our means, as the austerity prophets like to browbeat us, we’re closing public amenities like Ontario Place. Private events with corporate sponsors up the wazoo, on the other hand, are a good thing — despite whatever noise and inconvenience they may imply, and despite their obvious encroachment upon public space.
(Hey, it brings in money. What are you, some kind of effete downtown socialist?)
- Don Drummond’s austerity medicine: suck it, Ontario | #onpoli
- In defence of the public sphere | #TOpoli #TeamFord
- Plastic bags and governing around the mayor | #TOpoli
- Politics, the charitable sector, and the public sphere | #cdnpoli
- Let’s stop fetishizing “The Market” | #cdnpoli #TOpoli #classwarfare #austerity
- Frank Graves poll: The beginning of the end of progress | iPolitics | #cdnpoli
Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters in Tax-Funded Center | #OccupyWallStreet | AlterNet
“Wall Street’s audacity to corrupt knows no bounds and the cooptation of government by the 1 per cent knows no limits. How else to explain $150 million of taxpayer money going to equip a government facility in lower Manhattan where Wall Street firms, serially charged with corruption, get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law abiding citizens.”
Anyone still not sure about the extent and intensity of the current class war? Anyone still have any doubts about the nature of power in the United States, and why and on whose behalf it is exercised?
Video: Queen West Art Crawl - celebrating the idea of public space
Times like this, with their depressing talk of “taxpayers” and “efficiencies” and service cuts, call for a recommitment to the notions of citizenship and the public sphere.
Earlier this month, a public park was the setting for a public art show, animated by live music, food, and thousands of people strolling, getting some sun, having conversations, and taking it all in.
These are the things that make a city livable. This is what makes a community. This is where the public sphere comes from. Citizenship and leadership should be measured by commitment to this, not by empty slogans about gravy trains or finding efficiencies.
Special thanks to Joel Schwartz and Bret Higgins for letting me use their music.
(Yeah, I know, I should have gotten this done sooner, but, well … learning curve … )
Queen West Art Crawl: This is what makes public space public | #TOpoli
This is what a city with a soul looks like.
This is what civic engagement and community look like.
Why would we listen to anyone who wants to diminish and dismiss this? Why would we pay any attention to those who would sweep this away with empty talk of gravy trains or downtown/suburban divides?
We can do better than that, both in how we conduct ourselves and deal with one another and in how we choose our leaders. This is an example of how.
Sent from my BlackBerry
Team Ford and the deputations at Exec Committee | #TOcouncil #TOpoli
At the end of the day – which is where we almost are – it’s not about the rigged votes or the procedural mudwrestling or the attempts to shorten time for deputants or narrow the window for follow-up questions, pathetic at those are.
I’ve already shared some observations about what’s been going on today, and what it says about the Ford administration’s sentiments about public participation and how they regard people committed enough to come down to City Hall to take part in this exercise (futile though it may be, depending on your perspective). To that, add the tenor of the questions and remarks coming from them and their minions, and it becomes clear that it’s not just about cutting costs and services – it’s about lowering the whole tone of public discourse and diminishing our expectations of ourselves and the institutions of governance per se. It’s degrading the whole notion of citizenship. Someone remind me, again, why we want these people holding public office?
What happens when you design cities around cars
Bad design kills people.
That’s right. It’s not a matter of aesthetics, or of politics, or of opinion. It’s a plain fact: When you design streets solely for cars, people die as a result. The underlying conditions that are responsible for those deaths are rarely or never challenged. The victims often get blamed for their own injuries or deaths.
Not that there’s a lesson in this for Toronto or anything. (h/t @HiMYSYeD)