18 August, 2018
For a Much Better Toronto
What do you want for your Toronto? Don’t you aspire for a great city that is livable for you, your family, friends and neighbours? I sure know that is “what” I wish for my Toronto.
And how does that happen? Having led many successful organizations I know it comes from leadership that has a clear inspiring vision and adheres to a few solid core values. Since getting interested in what makes truly special cities I have come to the conclusion that there are four key values that would make Toronto more livable for all.
Sustainable – financially sound, necessary infrastructure, climate change resistant, available affordable housing
Healthy - safe streets, recreation, parks
Inspiring - festivals, libraries, schools, arts
Inclusive - whether you are old or young, male or female, able bodied or not, gay or straight, born in the city or a recent immigrant - Toronto is your home and you feel accepted.
There is a Japanese proverb that I have quoted repeatedly:
“A vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare”.
Unfortunately today Toronto seems to have too many “nightmares”. Too many of our current elected leaders lack the courage, and political will to do what is best. They lack the discipline to make the right decisions based on evidence and proven urban best practices.
If Toronto truly had an inspiring vision and clear core values decisions and investments wouldn’t be the disaster they often are. If we had great leadership we wouldn’t be wasting billions on one-stop-subways and tearing down part of the Gardiner, only to build it back up. We would immediately invest in the Vision Zero initiatives that the Dutch and Danes and have proven are so effective in making streets safe. We would get instep with other major cities to seriously fight climate change. We would invest more in housing and improving city services like libraries, recreational programs, homeless shelters. Yes, I know these things cost money but creating great livable cities require investment. Great cities are never free.
When I pivoted from being a corporate executive to become a self-taught city builder I was described by some as becoming left-wing. I do not believe I am, but I do know for sure that I am progressive:
“a person favouring or advocating for progress, change, improvement, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are”.
I am definitely progressive about creating a city that can truly be the most livable in the world.
So when someone knocks on your door over next few months to ask for your vote ask them what is their vision for Toronto and what values will direct their decision making?
And when you vote for mayor I encourage you to vote for a person who has an inspiring vision, solid values and real city building experience to do a great job leading our city.
For a much better Toronto vote Jennifer Keesmaat for Mayor.
A passionate city builder
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