Cities

  • Fire in Fort McMurray: A Proper Response

    In the express aisle checkout at my local independent grocer in Ottawa, a sign popped up this week asking for donations to the Red Cross to help with the Fort McMurray catastrophe. Facebook, now the universal street corner/pool room/beauty salon for the exc...

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  • Changing Politics for a Changed Country

    Saying “government should not” is as simplistic as saying “government should” if there is nothing else that follows. Yes, conservatives believe in limited government. But this requires more than arithmetic requiring the size of government. What government should do, it should do well and enough resources need to be dedicated to those tasks.

    Co-authored by Michael Van Pelt (President), and Ray Pennings (Executive Vice-President) of Cardus, a Canadian think ta...

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  • Relatable Art and Invitational Work

    In contemporary art, I find some of the most highly technical paintings or perfectly exhibited pieces can put up a blockade between the viewer and the artist. These pieces can encourage the view that art is inaccessible and unapproachable to the everyday viewer, rather than engaging and relatable. This causes me to wonder if, instead of fostering the idea that art can only be appreciated by well-seasoned critics, artists could be more generous by intentionally revealing some of the process within their pieces.

    This summer I had the privilege to admire some very famous works of art in person. Michelangelo's David was definitely one of the more iconic. Turning the corner into the gallery, it was pretty hard to miss the 14-foot, shiny marble human figure, e...

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  • My Kind of 'Christian Nation'

    Two weeks ago, Great Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, took heat for calling on Britons to "be more confident about our status as a Christian country." The PM's statements, while constitutionally indisputable, evoked strong comments from many in Britain, including the Archbishop of Canterbury (past and present) and deputy PM Nick Clegg. Cardus senior fellow Jonathan Chaplin, no stranger to this debate, also has comments. You can read those in today's Cardus Daily: Picture if you can a country in which parents had to explain to children what "food bank" meant because a generous and savvy welfare system, working in tandem with well-resourced voluntary groups in support of strengthened families and households, prevented people ever falling so low that they couldn't afford the price of a bag of sugar. Try to conceive of an economy in which the principles of solidarity and justice had begun to transform the landscape of employment rights, corporate structure, investment priorities, and financial regulation.

    This blog was originally published at www.theosthinktank.co.uk and is reposted with permission.

    Two weeks ago, Great Britain's prime minister, David...

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  • Turn your back to them

    It says something that Quebeckers, when faced with a PQ party that offered the religious cleansing of the civil service (just for starters), opted instead to run into the arms of a party so deep in charges of corruption it makes the expulsatory end of a sewer rat smell like a spring daisy. The PQ is dead, long live the Québécois!

    The bitter, nasty, and bigoted campaign run by the Parti Québécois has ended in complete and abject failure.

    It says something that Quebeckers, when faced with a PQ party that offered the religious cleansing of the civil service (just for starters), ...

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  • In Defense of Suburbia

    If you're a millennial or Gen-Yer, like me, there can be a lot of pressure about where you look to settle down. Well, actually there can simply be a lot of pressure about settling down. Period. We're a generation known for "failing" to tick off many of thos...

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  • Walking Away From Omelas

    The only way for Omelas to maintain its stoic happiness is to free itself from guilt. Easy enough, it seems, but for one problem. In the basement of one of the buildings in Omelas is an imprisoned child that everyone living in Omelas must confront. The child is never let outside, is never spoken to, and must sit chained in its own filth.

    In Ursula LeGuin's 1973 short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," we are told of a place where everyone (well, almost everyone) is perfectly happy. The Summer Festival is upo...

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  • Cardus Daily's Greatest Hits of 2013 - Part 1

    10. In February, Peter Stockland interviewed Anne Leahy, Canada's former ambassador to the Holy See, about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. To say you know what is good for people is pretty much the very definition of paternalism. So why not be honest about that and sign up for it? - 'You'll Thank Me Later': Paternalism and the Common Good 8. And our friend Kyle Bennett considered artists as images of the Creator: 

    As a holiday treat, we've put together a list of some of our most popular blog posts from this year. Enjoy!

    ...

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  • My 2013 Top Ten

    And I'm very pleased to offer my own highlights of Cardus's year, as the grateful president of this enthusiastic young outfit. I won't try to be comprehensive—that's what our yearbook is for. Rather, let me share a few of the items that I'm most excited about.

    If you haven't been paying attention, I understand. Everybody wants your attention nowadays, and all of us face a thousand experts shouting a thousand opinions. So I'm grateful you're here, following Cardus.

    And I'm very pleased to offer my own highl...

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  • Panem et circenses

    Although I live to revel in metaphors revealing this city's collapsin infrastructure as harbingers of cultural apocalypse, I think putting all that weight on a single creaky, crumbling, 50-year-old bridge might go a little too far. To those who don't live here, of course, it matters little that Montreal is an island. Those of us who must daily negotiate arterial routes designed by Byzantine madmen are, alas, never allowed to forget it. The Champlain is our main southern escape hatch, the back door in our Aurelian Wall, so to speak.

    A witty friend recently found a parallel in the weakness of Montreal's Champlain Bridge and the fall of Rome.

    Although I live to revel in metaphors revealing this city's collapsin infrastructure as harbingers of cultural apocalypse, I think ...

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  • A Flourishing Detroit Requires More Than an Influx of Cash

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointed to oversee the restructuring of the city's finances. Part of that process has been for the city to declare bankruptcy. That unprecedented strategy received confirmation on Wednesday when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steve Rhodes issued a decision permitting the city to pursue protections that will allow a restructuring of Detroit's debts.

    The city of Detroit continues to be a haunting case study of municipal implosion, economic upheaval, and urban renewal.

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointe...

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  • The Continued Work of Restoration

    The park is a popular place for residents of the neighbourhood and visitors alike. For me, walking the High Line while the sun peaked over the buildings around us was a highlight of our time in the city. It is a unique place that offers both beauty and recreational space to those who use it, while at the same time preserving a piece of the neighbourhood's history.

    One very early morning a few years ago, while my husband and I were visiting New York City, we made our way to the High Line at sunrise. After a ...

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  • Ford Shutdown

    Is this even remotely likely to happen? Not on a bet. Why? Because it would require a major act in the public interest from the very self-interested media outlets that contribute so substantially to Toronto's urban neuroticism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Whether or not Toronto mayor Rob Ford is clinically crazy, he is certainly crazy like a Fox News instant celebrity. For all the crack and vodka he has confessed to consuming, after all, Ford obviously mainlines that most addictive and destructive drug of al...

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  • Honking for Hats

    Even as enormous political thought, energy, and activity were being put into overseeing the kind of hats Quebecers are allowed to wear in various circumstances, I could see nothing but the sea of bumpers of the cars of my fellow citizens: none of us able to move more than an inch or two per hour. In this case, time was the rub. I had just returned to Montreal from Ottawa, a 200 km trip that took me approximately 90 minutes (note to Highway 417 traffic cops: please temporarily forget how to do arithmetic.) Once in Montreal, it took me more than 60 minutes to travel from Cavendish Boulevard to the Decarie service road, a distance of barely two kilometres.

    Being stuck in traffic pinpointed for me what is wrong with Quebec's attempt to legislate a so-called Charter of Values.

    Even as enormous political thought, energy, and activity were being put into overseeing the kind of hats Quebecers are allowed t...

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  • Two Postcards from Canada's Switzerland

    A) Wisdom from friend and Convivium magazine contributor Alisha Ruiss: B) A recent walkabout reflects my building sense of bewilderment:

    Two postcards from Canada's Switzerland, where "neutrality" now means the Québec government will employ its monopoly on the use of force to knock all hats off all heads almost equally.

    A) Wisdom from friend and Convivium magazine con...

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  • An Airport By Any Other Name

    It's summertime and relatives travel for weddings, family gatherings and reunions. Businessmen close up shop and head out on vacation or on various boondoggles that can slither onto the expense account. Students head abroad seeking to broaden their horizons and empty their bank accounts. For many reasons, a lot of people head to the airport.

    Editor's Note: This is excerpted from Fr. de Souza's regular Sea to Sea feature, Convivium August/September 2013.

    It's summertime and relatives travel for weddings, family gatherings and reunions. Businessmen c...

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  • Buying Groceries in Egypt

    In July, however, I gained a new incentive for keeping a close eye on unfolding events: my niece moved to Cairo. She moved not for journalism, nor for Mennonite conflict resolution. She relocated for love. Her fiancé is an Egyptian Eastern Catholic, a minority among minorities. Through her, I'm getting stark reminders that amidst all of the chaos, most Egyptians are just trying to live their workaday lives. The demonstrations in Tahrir Square were successful in ousting Mubarak and moving to democratic elections. The Muslim Brotherhood won that election and Mohamed Morsi took office as president. The terms of the election required that a new constitution be negotiated and, once ratified, there be new elections. Instead, Morsi developed a pro-Islamic constitution that gave him more power and refused to go to subsequent elections. Anti-Morsi demonstrations led to the military ousting Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood responded with demonstrations. The military crushed the demonstrations with violence leading to 1000 dead. The Muslim Brotherhood retaliated against Coptic churches and by marching through the streets of Cairo.

    The world's eyes are on Egypt. Mine are, too—even before the regime change from Hosni Mubarak, there was discrimination and sometimes violence against the minority Coptic Christian population.

    In July, however, I gained a new incentive for keeping a...

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  • 3D Cities: Tower, Slum, and Sprawl

    John Bentley Mays wrote an article in the Globe and Mail in May that featured an interview with Antony Wood, the Executive Director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. According to the article, Mr. Wood suggested that there are really only three major options for the 200,000 or so people that arrive in cities around the world every day. These options are towers, sprawling suburbs, or informal developments (slums).

    [caption id="attachment_2283" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Looking North from the Hamilton GO Centre, early morning, 2012. Photo: Milton Friesen"]...

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  • The Back End of the Golden Goose

    But our general support for the development of our resource extraction sector—and our recognition of the huge benefit such work brings to Canada—shouldn't be equated with uncritical support.

    Cardus is on record—in a number of different places—as seeing Canada's natural resources as a tremendous opportunity for our country and its citizens. We've called Canada "a land flowing with milk and ho...

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  • Bowling with the Church

    Much has been made in the media and in research about income divides and the challenge of "bouncing back" from inheriting challenging conditions. Here I'll not look at upward mobility—ably discussed by Jamie Smith last week—but rather at another major factor in resilience.

    We all love the underdog. Hollywood has always been obsessed with comebacks, stories of resilience: people who come from a difficult situation and, against all odds, achieve what they set out to do. But, of course, the American Dream we see in The Longe...

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