A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘barcelona

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Fredericton, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Riga

  • The city of Fredericton hopes a new strategy to attracting international migration to the New Brunswick capital will help its grow its population by 25 thousand. Global News reports.
  • Guardian Cities notes the controversy in Amsterdam as users of moped find themselves being pushed from using bike lanes.
  • Guardian Cities looks at how many in Athens think the city might do well to unbury the rivers covered under concrete and construction in the second half of the 20th century.
  • The Sagrada Familia, after more than 130 years of construction, has finally received a permit for construction from Barcelona city authorities. Global News reports.
  • Evan Gershkovich at the Moscow Times reports on how the recent ousting of the mayor of the Latvian capital of Riga for corruption is also seem through a lens of ethnic conflict.

[URBAN NOTE] Seven Toronto links: High Park, rent, Sri Lanka, vertical farm, Zizek vs Peterson

  • The cherry blossoms of High Park are expected to start blooming earlier than expected, perhaps reaching peak bloom in a week’s time. blogTO reports.
  • blogTO notes that someone was trying to rent out a bed in an occupied apartment for a rent of $C 600 a month.
  • A Toronto Star investigation reveals the prominence of ghost hotels, enabled by Airbnb, in making the rental housing market that much more difficult.
  • At NOW Toronto, Liam Barrington-Bush considers what renters in Toronto can learn from their activist counterparts in Berlin and Barcelona.
  • Aparita Bhandari wrote at The Discourse about how Sri Lankans living in Scarborough responded to the recent terrible bombings.
  • blogTO writes about the new vertical farm set to be built at University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus.
  • The VICE account of the debate between Slavoj Zizek and Jordan Peterson reveals much.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, New York City, Atlanta, Barcelona, Copenhagen

  • Montréal may yet get a new park to commemorate victims of the Irish famine of the 1840s. CTV reports.
  • CityLab reports on the new spectacular Hudson Yards development in Manhattan.
  • The nightclubs of Atlanta in the 1990s played a critical role in that decade’s hip-hop. VICE reports.
  • CityLab reports that, dealing with a housing crisis, city authorities in Barcelona have taken to finding the owners of empty buildings.
  • Guardian Cities reports on how civic authorities in Copenhagen hope to create an offshore archipelago, a sort of floating Silicon Valley.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, New York City, Atlanta, Barcelona, Verona

  • Huffington Post Québec notes that the iconic Silo no 5 on the Montréal waterfront is now the subject of a redevelopment bid.
  • Emily Raboteau writes in the NYR Daily about life in the metropolis of New York City as it faces the threats of climate change.
  • CityLab remembers Lightning, the African-American neighbourhood of Atlanta displaced by the construction of the stadium where the Superbowl is now playing.
  • CityLab looks at the reasons behind a surge of petty crime in Barcelona.
  • Claudia Torrisi writes< at Open Democracy about the growing strength of the neo-traditionalist right in the northern Italian city of Verona.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Wasaga Beach, Montréal, Barcelona, Narva, Luanda

  • The question of how to develop, or redevelop, the Georgian Bay resort town of Wasaga Beach is ever-pressing. Global News reports.
  • Le Devoir enters the discussion over the Royalmount development, arguing that the city of Montréal needs to fight urban sprawl.
  • Guardian Cities reports on the efforts of Barcelona to keep its street kiosks, home to a thriving culture, alive in the digital age.
  • The New York Times reports on how the government of Estonia is trying to use pop culture to help bind the Russophone-majority city of Narva into the country.
  • This Guardian Cities photo essay takes a look at how the Angolan capital of Luanda, after a long economic boom driven by oil, is rich but terribly unequal.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about her love for New York’s famous, dynamic, Hudson River.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the amazing potential for pulsar navigation to provide almost absolutely reliable guidance across the space of at least a galaxy.
  • Far Outliers notes the massive scale of German losses in France after the Normandy invasion.
  • Hornet Stories looks at the latest on theories as to the origin of homosexuality.
  • Joe. My. God remembers Dr. Mathilde Krim, dead this week at 91, one of the early medical heroes of HIV/AIDS in New York City.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at what, exactly, is K-POP.
  • Language Log notes that, in Xinjiang, the Chinese government has opted to repress education in the Mongolian language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that the risk of war in Korea is less than the media suggests.
  • At Chronicle’s Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda looks at redundancy in writing styles.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the complex relationship of French publishing house Gallimard to Céline and his Naziphile anti-Semitism.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the latest images of Venus from Japan’s Akatsuki probe.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the apparent willingness of Trump to use a wall with Mexico–tariffs, particularly–to pay for the wall.
  • Spacing reviews a new book examining destination architecture.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers what I think is a plausible concept: Could be that there are plenty of aliens out there and we are just missing them?
  • At Strange Maps, Frank Jacobs shares a map of “Tabarnia”, the region of Catalonia around Barcelona that is skeptical of Catalonian separatism and is being positioned half-seriously as another secessionist entity.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that an actively used language is hardly the only mechanism by which a separatist identity can exist.

[URBAN NOTE] On separatism, and on Toronto and Montréal, and Madrid and Barcelona

Catalonia’s declaration of independence today is certainly the sort of event that may have longer-term consequences. Me being a Canadian, I was reminded about something I wrote on Quora about the possible long-term future of Barcelona and Catalonia within Spain. Barcelona may be the capital of Catalonia, but it has also been a traditional economic centre for all of Spain, based on Catalonia’s early industrialization and continued prosperity relative to the rest of the Iberian peninsula. Already, though, there have been signs that some businesses are relocated, CaixaBank for instance moving to adjacent Valencia, one of more than a thousand businesses seeking to preserve their positions within Spain if the split becomes real. If separatism remains a major unsettled force for years, is there a possibility of Barcelona losing this position, perhaps to Madrid, as Montréal likewise lost its position to Toronto in Canada?

Now, even before the rise of Québec nationalism and separatism in the 1960s, Montréal had been declining relative to Toronto. As Jane Jacobs had noted in her provocative 1980 book The Question of Separatism, by the mid-20th century Toronto had been demonstrating greater potential for growth than Montréal, Toronto being part of a wider metropolitan area of prosperous industrial cities that was lacking in a Montréal confined to the island of Montréal and migrants from across Canada making their way to Toronto in volumes that were simply not present in Montréal. The metropolis of a province distinguished from others by its distinctive culture and language, Montréal was becoming a regional centre. The slower pattern of growth in Montréal as compared to Toronto is visible on the below chart.

What is also visible, I think, is how the advent of separatism, raising the possibility that Québec might become a new nation-state independent from Canada, taking its metropolis of Montréal with it, accelerated this divergence. Companies, including financial institutions, which were headquartered in Montréal and of national scope shifted their seats of administration to locations safely within any plausible Canada as quickly as possible. Looking at the skyline of Toronto, for instance, the white marbled-clad tower of First Canadian Place stands out even in the context of the city’s condo boom, in this picture featuring just left of the centre.

Pre-boarding #toronto #torontoislands #skyline #hanlanspointFirst Canadian Place was built to house the bulk of the administration of the Bank of Montreal. A shift west to Toronto may have been inevitable, given Toronto’s growing lead over Montréal, but the prospect of Montréal leaving Canada altogether made it essential for the Bank of Montreal to establish its administration firmly outside of a Québec that might secede at any moment.

The legal headquarters of the Bank of Montreal remains in Montréal, on St. James’ Square.

Bank of Montreal Head Office, nightThe bulk of the activity of this bank, however, remains in the Toronto where it was transplanted to almost four decades ago. The Bank of Montreal was not alone in moving west: other financial institutions, and other companies, also shifted their headquarters and centers of productions to locations more securely located in Canada.

This shift did have a negative effect on Montréal, but the effect was concentrated particularly among the Anglophones of Montréal. Due to a variety of complex historical reasons, including a class structure where Francophones were concentrated more towards the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the relatively greater concern of Québec’s Francophones with the affairs of their own province rather than with wider English Canada, and the substantial post-Quiet Revolution boom in industry and living standards among Francophones, it’s not clear to me that the decline of Montréal as a Canadian economic centre was much noticed by Francophones in Montréal and Québec. So what if the Bank of Montreal moved the bulk of its activities to Toronto if it was replaced by local businesses? The big entrepreneurial boom of “Quebec Inc” that first became notable in the 1980s was able to fill much of the gap left by departing national businesses in earlier years. If Montréal has become more firmly a regional centre within Canada, or perhaps a national centre for Québec alone, I’m not sure that many in Québec necessarily mind this.

The big problem for Barcelona is that, unlike Montréal and the Francophones of Québec, Barcelona and the Catalans are deeply integrated into the rest of Spain. As best as I can tell, from my reading of secondary sources, ethnic boundaries are less significant in Catalonia and between Catalonia and the rest of Spain than between English and French Canadians. There is little to no equivalent of the language-linked class divide that allowed Francophones to be relatively disinterested in the shift of Canada-focused businesses west to Toronto. If anything, the prosperity of Barcelona and wider Catalonia has been deeply linked to wider Spain. Especially if there are protracted problems–an independence achieved but unrecognized and at least initially outside of the EU? prolonged instability in a Catalonia remaining inside Spain–Barcelona in coming decades may well fare much worse than Montréal did. A firmly Spanish Madrid may well prosper, as might other Spanish cities, but that would be sore comfort.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Bloordale towers, St. Regis, Toronto design failures, North Market, books

  • There will be huge changes at Bloor and Dufferin, including one proposed tower a few dozen stories high. blogTO reports.
  • The St. Regis, the former Trump Tower, is set to offer very high-end luxury condos in the Financial District. The Toronto Star reports.
  • In the aftermath of a string of pedestrian deaths, Shawn Micallef notes the design failures of Toronto leading to loss of life.
  • Spacing talks about what the North Market of Toronto can learn from the historic El Born of Barcelona.
  • blogTO notes that an abortive scandal over the placement of a Little Free Library came to nothing in the end.

[URBAN NOTE] Five links about cities, from past Toronto and Richmond to future NYC and Barcelona

  • Scott Wheeler writes about past eminences of Toronto, people like Conn Smythe and Raymond Massey.
  • Joanna Slater writes in The Globe and Mail about the symbolism of Confederate–and other–statuary in Richmond, former capital of the South.
  • Reuters reports on a Vietnamese businessman abducted by his country from the streets of Berlin. Germany is unhappy.
  • Jeremiah Ross argues at VICE that very high levels of tourism in New York City are displacing native-born residents.
  • Looking to protests most recently in Barcelona, Elle Hunt in The Guardian looks at ways to make mass tourism more affordable for destinations.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO lists five things Toronto could learn from Barcelona.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to one paper analyzing the distribution of methane in Titan’s atmosphere, a news item suggesting the survival of some Ediacaran fauna in the deep ocean, and expresses concern about the course of the war in eastern Ukraine.
  • Eastern Approaches considers the political complexities of the Slovak national uprising in the Second World War in modern Czechoslovakia.
  • Far Outliers notes the complaints of Tsar Nicholas I in 1853, on the eve of the Crimean War, about Europe.
  • Joe. My. God. has a photo of the lineup in New York City for the release of the iPhone 6.
  • Language Hat analyses the etymology of the Scots Gaelic word “geas”, as used in Charlie Stross’ laundry novels.
  • Marginal Revolution warns Scotland and the United Kingdom could face a currency crisis if Scotland leaves.
  • The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla examines the final years of the Cassini mission int he Saturn system.
  • Registan examines traficking on the Pamir Highway connecting Tajikistan to Afghanistan.
  • Spacing Toronto has a photo of the CNE’s Orbiter.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle writes at length about why and yhow he writes.
  • Strange Maps shares an early 20th century map of the city of Portland, divided according to moral depravity by social reformers.
  • Torontoist describes Copenhagen’s bicycle skyway.
  • Towleroad notes controversy around a Toronto-based Pakistani author’s children’s book about a child and a gay uncle.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the decline of the proportion of ethnic Russians in parts of Siberia, and suggests Russian sponsorship of the war in Ukraine makes it all the less likely that Ukrainians will care about ethnic Russian concerns post-war.