Tag Archives: Portland

Discussion: Are car-free cities possible?

On April 20th, 2014, in the Passing Scene column to your right (or below if you’re reading this on your device), I raised the above question. Peter Woolstencroft was good enough to comment in Facebook, and gave me permission to post his comment below, together with my response. There’s also an exchange with my friend and former student, Dave Danyluk. Here’s the picture I refer to in my response to Peter:

Leipzig6A delivery vehicle in downtown Leipzig, manoeuvring carefully to avoid pedestrians.

Peter Woolstencroft: A car free city is a nice idea, but what happens to the costs of road building, maintenance, and repairs? Who is paying for these expenses? I like the firetrucks and ambulances that go past my house on a paved and well-maintained road. Much appreciated are the trucks that bring goods and services to people in their houses and apartments. In other words, what proportion of road building costs and maintenance are accounted for by gasoline taxes, licenses, vehicle permits, and whatever else motorists generate by way of their economic activity (such as taxes on insurance)?

My response:

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The multilevel governance of urban growth: a cross-national comparison

Last May, I sketched out an idea for a research project that would look at what senior governments could do to ensure that those who make decisions about the growth of North American cities do a better job of respecting the environment. That idea has now matured into a research proposal. In this entry, I’ll summarize the proposal and provide a link to the full proposal.

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In a recent issue of Plan Canada, a house organ for professional city planners, my colleague Andrew Sancton pointed out that, in the establishment of the Ontario Greenbelt, provincial government imposition produced a result that would have been much harder, or maybe impossible, to achieve through regional governance. Urban affairs columnist John Barber, writing in the Globe and Mail, cited Professor Sancton’s findings to suggest that, perhaps, old-fashioned provincial oversight over municipal government makes more sense than all that fashionable piffle about multi-level governance.
“While the hives buzz with talk of European-style ‘subsidiarity’, national urban policy and new ‘governance structures’,” Barber writes, “Prof. Sancton points out that the actual Ontario government has quietly implemented almost all the policies the quasi-constitutional reforms aim indirectly to achieve.” As a long-time, and unrepentant, purveyor of multi-level governance piffle, I guess it’s my turn to speak.

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In a globalizing world, we have to reconsider, not only the way we govern our communities, but also how their governance interacts with the governance of regions and nations, as well as global governance.
By chance or otherwise, I became interested in this topic – and researched and wrote about it – quite awhile before anyone thought of such felicitous terms as rescaling or multi-level governance. As a result a lot of useful data are buried away in publications today’s researchers are unlikely to identify as relevant sources. Therefore, I offer the following bibliographic note, listing the publications in question, together with a brief note for each, explaining its relevance to rescaling, multi-level governance, or the evolving place of cities in a globalizing world. Some of these articles were published as journal articles, others as book chapters, but all are based on original research.
This annotated bibliography does not include my recent publications, such as “Deep Federalism: Respecting Community Difference in National Policy”, which is in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, 39:3 (September 2006) 481–506. In that article, and others recently published or in press, it is clear that the topic has something to do with rescaling.

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