In a crowd of authors and journalists like Jim Kunstler, Gord Hume, Clive Doucet and Alfred Holden of the Star, the surprise of the Ontario Heritage Conference was how Adam Vaughan, a rookie city councillor from Toronto, stole the show with his intelligence and wit. I tried an experiment in live twittering the conference, and as a result my notes are a series of short zingers. For those not following Twitter, I reproduce some of the best here, most from Adam Vaughan but a few from others at various panel discussions:
Vaughan: We are not at war with the car, it is a war against a stupid idea from fifty years ago.
Kunstler: The future is not about our preferences, it has its own agenda.
Vaughan: hyperdensification is as big a problem as suburban sprawl. Tall buildings are moncultures.
Kunstler: There is a scale between the house and the tower, Paris is all seven stories and it is a nice place.
Doucet: Look at Havana. All the tall buildings were abandoned, because elevators have to run. all the time. We will do it too.
Kunstler: (on the Bilbao effect) City councils are bending over and picking up the soap for the starchitects, it is tragic and perverse.
Vaughan: if you build an economy you don't necessarily get a city, but if you build a city you will get an economy.
Doucet: Cities that endure are cities where people want to live. But we gave it all away to the developers, they are locusts.
Vaughan: Centralization sucks. The reality is that we should decentralize taxing and decision making back into the community.
Kunstler: we have to undo the influence of Frederick Law Olmstead, he is not a model for small urban spaces.
Glenn Murray: just because we love IKEA doesn't mean we should welcome big boxes.
Avi Friedman: we are living at a time of a perfect storm. Of opportunity.
Vaughan: The arts are recession-proof; they are always broke.
Kunstler: (quoting) New ideas first get ridicule, then face violent opposition, then become accepted wisdom.
More from Ontario Heritage Conference:
Jim Kunstler is an Optimist, Really.