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Article on the changing face of suburbia features Roger Keil & Sean Hertel

May 12th, 2014

Skyscrapers in the Subdivision,” a new article on NextCity compares the changes confronting suburbia in Montgomery Country, Maryland and York Region, Ontario. MCRI primary investigator Roger Keil and Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group co-ordinator Sean Hertel are featured in author Amanda Kolson-Hurley’s tour of the fast-growing, diverse suburb of Markham.

It’s tempting to view Keil as the anti-Richard Florida, writing Toronto Star op-eds on our suburban future while, several miles away, Florida proselytizes for cities at the University of Toronto campus downtown. But Keil isn’t a Joel Kotkin or Wendell Cox, pooh-poohing evidence of an inner-city revival. He just always frames that revival in a metropolitan and regional context, with one eye on social equity. When I make a joke about fixie-riding hipsters, for example, he seizes on it:

“Who brings [that] bicycle in the bike shop? A truck. Where does the truck bring the bicycle from? It’s carried from a warehouse in the suburbs, which the fixie users in the downtowns never see … All these things, the organic food and fresh-roasted coffee beans, they come from somewhere and are being shipped through these [suburban] metabolic landscapes.” Ignoring those landscapes “creates the illusion that we live in these pods of sustainability” in cities, Keil says.