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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Watchmaker steadies his delicate hand / I want you / For barbeque parties on blood red sands
— Peter Gabriel, And Through the Wire
June 3, 2007
Lack of Civic Identity

An interesting article on the Canada West Foudation’s compares the booms in Calgary and Dublin.

To my eyes, the most interesting part was this:

The rich cultural identity of Dublin is steeped with names that have impacted the world — Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde — giving the city a confidence and maturity in dealing with social change.

The boom there has spawned a healthy public debate about the pros and cons of the new socio-economic reality.

The slightest whiff of economic prosperity has a tendency to give Calgary tunnel vision, often resulting in intoxicating booms and painful busts. Unlike Dublin’s open discussions over the new socio-economic reality, Calgary has pushed forth a dogmatic sense of boosterism, making critical comments appear unpatriotic.

A local geologist stated: “In Calgary, you are what you own. All anyone talks about is owning real estate, their job, cars and stuff. People are becoming very selfish.”

Vancouver, of course, suffers from a similar tunnel vision—perhaps worse, given the derision with which people in live in “Vancouver Vancouver” regard the more suburban areas such as North Vancouver or Surrey. By virtue of not being, simply, Vancouver they are regarded with disdain.

In general, I think Vancouver has not yet defined itself. More accurately, perhaps, this most “livable” of cities has defined itself primarily by what it is not rather than by what it is. Vancouver is not Toronto and it is not American…but what is it?

A friend said last week that Vancouver was becoming like a resort town, where only those who don’t need to but choose to can afford to live in the city while those who must can’t afford it.

I’m not sure this is a healthy future.

Posted by skooter at 2:25 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
This entry is tagged: Alberta, Economics, Ireland, Urban Development, Vancouver

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