Monthly Archives: December 2007

Globe: Reverse commuters represent shift in land use

Interesting to read in today’s Globe and Mail that reverse commuting is turning into a bigger phenomenon than previously thought. According to the article, and contrary to some perceptions — people are still flocking to the suburbs. However, the well-heeled are setting up shop in the urban core — to the extent that transit lines and roadways leaving the city are as congested as those coming in.

What’s really staggering is the level of economic activity and job creation happening in the suburbs, however.

New immigrants are flocking to Canada’s major urban areas but, unlike Mr. McWilliams, they’re choosing to live in the suburbs of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. They’re not only finding cheaper housing but a large pool of potential employers, who have been moving offices and factories to more available land in the suburbs.

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Filed under Montreal, Toronto, Transportation, Urban Planning, Vancouver

The hollowing out of small-town Japan

We’ve witnessed it in Canada and the United States. But the boom for cities globally is often taking place at the expense of, or at least in the place of, once-thriving small towns.

The New York Times points to the situation in Japan, where angry rural voters are a force to be reckoned with politically — responsible in good part for parliamentary volatility over the last several months.

As the article points out, part of the problem in rural Japan is an unwillingness to adapt to new realities:

“Local leaders who have tried to make changes complain of running into a thicket of local interest groups and powerful bureaucrats in Tokyo — both forces against altering the status quo. Norihisa Satake, the mayor of Akita city, the prefecture’s capital, says he has hit such obstacles as he has tried to promote revitalization plans like expanding his city’s port for large Russian ships, luring tourists from Tokyo or even holding a one-day jazz festival.”

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Filed under Japan, Politics