"Wright began working in planning in 1974, during a citizen-driven epoch of neighbourhood development. In response to the transition from surface transit to underground subway development along the Bloor-Danforth corridor, Bloor West business owners set up the city's first Business Improvement Area in 1970, and throughout the decade others would follow—an energetic, community-minded time for city planning in Toronto. The 1980s, marked by recession, would be different. Wright recalls one particular development, an office tower at the northeast corner of Queen and Yonge in the mid-1980s, as being particularly momentous. 'It's just a reminder: you look out here—and what are they talking about, like 119 cranes in downtown Toronto or something like that?—and we were absolutely delighted that there would be one crane.'"
"The 1990s and onward, with economic growth and the amalgamation of Toronto proper with its five adjoining boroughs, brought about dramatic changes to city planning. Suddenly, city planners were forced to cooperate with a number of different mindsets—'a much bigger city with much different interests.'"
"'Amalgamation helped us all learn,' Wright recalls. 'There's lessons learned from everywhere, doesn't matter whether it's in Scarborough or Etobicoke or North York. Now we find the commonality of those languages, the commonality of those structural changes that we work with all the time. So, we think differently.'"
"Looking forward, Wright sees citizen engagement and collaboration as essential for city building—the harnessing of social cohesion for momentum."
"'We live in a very interesting, complex, interactive society in which all different kinds of people and influences make us think about where we're going next,' he says, citing the necessity of fostering collaboration between developers, activists, businesses, politicians, media and philanthropists in order to foster positive, and effective, growth."
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original source Torontoist