Speaking at the Urban Land Institute symposium on TORONTO this week, RICHARD FLORIDA, urban thinker and professor at the Rotman School of Management & the University of TORONTO’s school of cities, said this city must begin thinking seriously about a new model for growth. <PHOTO ABOVE – University of Toronto>“Once you pass the mark of 5 or 6 million as a metropolitan region, up to that point you can grow by (urban) sprawl, but somewhere you hit a wall and you can no longer grow or scale in the same traditional way.” <Greater TORONTO (GTA) now has a population close to 6-million.>

He also noted that in terms of total economic output, the Greater Toronto Area — including the Golden Horseshoe — is responsible for about “$700 billion” (U.S).  “Which means our … region is equivalent to that of SWEDEN. So we are a city state, a mega region. We are a powerful global city with lots of assets to build on,” he said.On the negative side, Florida pointed out that TORONTO is among the most unaffordable cities in the world. 40% of Torontonians, the “creative class”, make $75,000 to $100,000 annually; 50% of residents earn $30,000 a year. “Our city is not as divided along ethnic lines or along lines of nationality, but it is divided by socioeconomic class, giving us our own kind of spin on poverty,” he told the audience.FLORIDA went on to talk about traffic congestion, the high cost of housing, and the need to invest in public transport.  On the positive side, he said, we are inoculated by a social safety net, “health care that works, public education that works” and a city that compared to others around the world is “relatively safe.”

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