Use infrastructure investment to stimulate city building, says Siemiatycki

Matti Siemiatycki outside against background of Toronto CN Tower

Professor Matti Siemiatycki is Interim Director of the School of Cities and Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning.

“Beyond transit infrastructure, think city building,” says UTTRI associated faculty Professor Matti Siemiatycki in an opinion piece in The Hill Times.

Siemiatycki is Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Planning and Finance.

He says that recent federal transit infrastructure funding commitments can simultaneously encourage development of “transit-oriented communities” featuring community hubs.

To maximize the value of this massive public spending on transit infrastructure and assist communities in recovering from the pandemic, it is essential that the projects in the pipeline are used as a catalyst for effective city building. One key approach is the development of transit-oriented communities that are healthy, inclusive, and sustainable.

Possible gentrification is a concern that Siemiatycki says “must be addressed through public policy and meaningful community engagement that ensures development takes place without displacement, and that affordability is paramount.”

Looking ahead, Siemiatycki believes that Canada’s large infrastructure investments can serve our cities in multiple ways:

With careful planning and co-ordination, the current wave of rapid transit investments across the country will be an accelerator for the development of resilient, connected communities that are fit for a post-pandemic world.

Read the full article “Beyond transit infrastructure, think city building,” by Matti Siemiatycki, The Hill Times, April 14, 2021. [paywall]

Siemiatycki also comments in “Feds’ infrastructure assessment plan welcomed, but experts caution bumpy road ahead,” The Hill Times, April 14, 2021. [paywall]


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