This is a story of Hamilton, but it’s also a story of every major city in North America.
In the postwar era, the modern city embraced what has come to be known as a “doughnut” model of development. Residents were encouraged to move into large, sprawling suburbs that surrounded the city in a ring, and the downtown core was transformed into a commercial/business district. Commuters traveled from their homes in the suburbs to their jobs in the city, using the network of expressways that linked the two.
It seemed like a great idea at the time. Residents lived in spacious, single-family dwellings on quiet streets, benefiting from lower land prices. Retail businesses were grouped together conveniently in plazas and covered malls with giant parking lots and free parking.
To top it off, commuters could jump on the highway and be at work in twenty minutes.
So what happened?
Instead of a panacea, the suburbs turned into a kind of quagmire. The commuters’ much-vaunted mobility was hampered by perennial gridlock. Efforts to expand highways turned into painfully expensive exercises in futility. As fast as construction crews poured more lanes, more cars rushed to clog them, and the goal of sufficient highway capacity receded like a will o’ the wisp.Continued....