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There is two fundamental flaws with Chris Hume’s argument that Brampton does need a downtown. The first being that Hume’s discounts municipal identity over regional identity and the second being that a vibrant suburban Brampton downtown can encourage a higher, more sustainable density, living and working around the somewhat manufactured centre of the municipality. You can read Chris Hume’s article below at the Toronto Star.

Chris Hume’s: Downtown Brampton and other illusions
It is true that the GTA and Southern Ontario work as one economic entity driving the Canadian financial and manufacturing sectors. Each municipality is a cog in the machine that make it all work. Yet we cannot discount the importance that a vibrant, working downtown has on municipalities, especially the tenth biggest city in Canada. Identity is important for a municipaity, it gives the city purpose and drive. A bedroom community then has something to aspire to and work toward. People feel belonging which generates positive emotions and tangible productive results. Read any literature on identity and cities and we begin to understand the importance of belonging.

In some ways I felt that Hume’s was encouraging this car centric municipality with it big box stores, reliance on the automobile, and abundance of single family homes. As a Intern Architect, I cannot  condone these unsustainable developments. A downtown core that focuses and reduces the scale of the city back down to the pedestrian and encourages a commercial centre could allow for future development of transit alternatives, higher density condo living, and move away from annexation of the next subdivision just outsides Brampton’s borders.

I normally agree with much of what Hume’s writes, however not today, Brampton needs what Mississauga has begun to undertake. Mississauga has worked hard to create a downtown core, hopefully the Downtown21 plan will be realized reducing the current scale of the downtown to a more pedestrian friendly core. I can envision a future for Mississauga thanks to the Downtown 21 plan where a Light Rail option traverses the Mississauga core to GO Train stations alleviating traffic. Imagine having a commercial centre within a Brampton downtown alleviating some of the pollution caused by community to Toronto. Imagine a strong identity for Brampton that helps its influx of new immigrants integrate and feel Canadian, Bramptonian, and a part of a community. Imagine the future Mr. Hume, it will be better with a municipal downtown core… maybe they can have a hockey team too!

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Great News!

I just completed my Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Environmental Design! I will be returning back to Toronto soon and will be looking for internship to become a registered architect!

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Whatever happened to having an opinion?

Why is it such a crime to say something bad about Israel’s handling of Palestine and Lebanon? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Yes, some comments border on “inflammatory” and “racist,” but this is the problem of controversial topics such as this one. Having an opinion that goes against the grain can illicit anger. This doesn’t mean that any negative opinion is invalid, it just means there is need for a healthy debate. Let me put this in perspective, I was reading on Google News a couple interesting stories from different newspapers. The one I would like to comment on is that McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario has banned student organizations from using the term “Israeli Apartheid,” which I agree with. I want to highlight through this news item that it is alright to talk negatively about Israel or Palestine, just choose your words carefully.

I looked up in a major dictionary the meaning of apartheid because honestly I did not know if English definition covered what was happening in Israel and Palestine. My verdict was no, there are similarities to, however it is not an apartheid. I think it is quite wrong to label Israel’s handling of Palestine as an apartheid as it takes away the power and historical meaning that the word carries to the South African struggle. What is happening is Israel and Palestine is wrong, there is no question about it. When people are dying, on both sides, we know it’s wrong. Palestinian supporters have every right to demonstrate in universities including McMaster, however they do not have the right to misleadingly label it. It does nothing for the Palestinian cause and paints a slightly warped picture. I think the problem was poor word choice more then the whole idea of Palestinians suffering being incorrect. I would call what is happening an “Israeli Occupation.” Until there is a proper and agreed upon definition of what Gaza and West Bank are then they are territories that aspire to be independent. Therefore, they are occupied by Israel.

International Politics is a precarious game. I can say these controversial things and get away with it because I am just student on a blog who will be read by few. I am not the head of country who has trading relationships and voting blocks from Israel or Palestine. I am not a university administrator who hopes to attract students from these countries/territories. I do not want to protect myself from scrutiny I am free to say what I want. Still I pick my words carefully. I do not want to misrepresent the situation. I believe that Israel’s handling of the occupied territories is terrible. I wish Israel would stop creating settlements because it helps no one. I wish Palestinians would stop firing rockets into Israel because its countervalue strategy is not working to instill enough fear.

Maybe it’s time the United Nations did what is was suppose to do and put a stop to this. If it can’t because of the security council vetoes, than maybe its time that it went the way of the dinosaurs… or League of Nations.

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