GTA Suburbs on the Cutting Edge
Although traditionally portrayed as bland outposts on the fringe of the urbanized city centre, Toronto’s suburbs are increasingly being recognized as dynamic centres of growth and innovative change in their own right.
A recent article entitled On the (Cutting) Edge of the Global City examines the evolving development of the GTA’s suburban municipalities. The authors’ findings conclude that the areas outside the city core can no longer be considered homogenous built environments that function as subservient ancillary spaces to the political, cultural, and economic life of downtown Toronto. Rather, suburban centres are demonstrating themselves to be diverse hubs of development and commerce as a result of “dynamic urbanization and modes of urbanism unfurling at the cutting edge of the global metropolis”.
Various trends have contributed to this new form of suburban urbanization. The globalization of suburban economics, in particular the manufacturing and distribution sectors that have largely left the downtown core, are now based along interconnected rail, highway, and airport transportation routes spanning the suburban GTA. The article also looks to the suburbs as hubs of transnational capital, centred around strong ethnic communities and businesses that bring international commerce to the GTA. This intensification and nodal development of suburban downtowns in places like Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, and Markham have led these areas to be called “cities in waiting”.
The article also identifies outstanding issues that remain to be addressed. The need for more transit services to and from suburban centres becomes increasingly prominent as development in these areas continues. Significantly, the authors point out that revitalization of the inner suburbs of Toronto must also be carefully examined. Although urbanization along major avenues within Toronto’s city limits is occurring, this remains in stark contrast with the car-oriented communities found in residential subdivisions off the main roads.
For the full article, please see On the (Cutting) Edge of the Global City, by Jean-Paul Addie & Rob Fiedler (Satellite Magazine, Monday, October 14, 2013)
By: Alexander Suriano