Shawn Micallef: In Cities, Innovation is Coming From The Suburbs
For a long time, the economy used to be driven by manufacturing centers and the large scale companies that operated in them. Most of those existed in cities. Now, however, he says that small businesses with less employees based out of the suburbs are driving the economy forward. One of the reasons for this is that these smaller stores and organizations are unique, whereas many of the organizations downtown are becoming extremely alike. "The problem isn't really central rot anymore, it's central ossification or golden ossification," Micallef explains in the interview. "The downtowns are becoming so desirable that they become so overly gentrified [and] they all sort of become the same. That's the new problem with downtown: How do you keep your downtown interesting so it has variety, but the second part is how do you keep if affordable?"
These are the questions he tackles in his Toronto Star column and in Spacing Magazine (which he co-owns). He has also spoken at The Walrus Talks and at TEDx on the suburban-urban divide, and has lectured internationally on what makes cities tick. His books, Stroll and Full Frontal TO are accessible looks at both the city of Toronto, and at the issues facing cities all around the world.