Transcript: Small Business, Big Impact | Apr 13, 2015

Steve sits in the studio. He's a man in his fifties with dark brown, slightly curly hair in a neat cut. He wears a dark suit, a white shirt and a contrasting tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads 'The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.'

Steve says MORE THAN 40 YEARS
AGO, AN INITIATIVE IN TORONTO'S
BLOOR WEST VILLAGE BECAME THE
FIRST BIA _ BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT
AREA _ IN THE WORLD.
THE REST, AS THEY SAY, IS
HISTORY, AND BIAs CAN NOW BE
FOUND AROUND MUCH OF THE WORLD.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON THEIR
HISTORY AND PURPOSE:
RAFAEL GOMEZ, PROFESSOR OF
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AT U OF T
AND CO-AUTHOR OF “SMALL BUSINESS
AND THE CITY.”

Rafael is in his forties. He has short, curly, dark hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a black suit, white shirt, a violet tie, and glasses. A slate features Rafael’s book cover on screen.

Steve continues JOHN KIRU, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR,
TORONTO ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS
IMPROVEMENT AREAS.

John is in his fifties. He has short, grey hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a grey suit, a lavender shirt, and a plaid matching tie.

Steve continues WHAT DO YOU CALL IT?
TABIA?

John says TABIA IT IS.

Steve continues THAT'S THE ACRONYM.
GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE FOR
THE FIRST TIME.
NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
YOU WERE HERE ABOUT NINE DAYS
AGO.
WELCOME BACK.
JOHN, I WANT TO START WITH YOU.
IF YOU WANDER AROUND THIS
CAPITAL CITY OF ONTARIO, YOU
WILL SEE BANNERS SAYING WELCOME
TO GREEKTOWN, YOU WILL SEE
BEAUTIFUL PLANTER BOXES ON YONGE
STREET.
WHO PUT ALL OF THOSE THINGS
THERE?

A caption reads ‘John Kiru. Tabia.’ Then it changes to ‘Small Business, big impact. What’s a BIA?’

John says IT'S IN FACT THE
LOCAL SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE AND
PROPERTY OWNERS.
THE MEMBERSHIP IS MADE UP OF
ACTUALLY PROPERTY OWNERS AND
BUSINESS OPERATORS, PEOPLE THAT
HAVE DUG DEEPER INTO THEIR
POCKET ABOVE AND BEYOND THE
TAXES THAT WE PAY TO ALL THE
THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, A
LEVY, AN ANNUAL LEVY THAT THEY
TRANSFORM INTO EXACTLY THAT:
BEAUTIFY, CLEAN UP, AND PUT ON
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS.
THAT IS THE PARAMETERS OF THE
BIA CONCEPT.

Steve says MORE ON THOSE LEVIES
IN A SECOND.
I SUSPECT THE ASSUMPTION IS, THE
CITY PUTS THEM UP.
CITY HALL DESIGNS THEM AND PUTS
THEM UP.
NOT THE CASE?

John says AREN'T WE THE
ULTIMATE PRIVATE-PUBLIC
PARTNERSHIP FOR THE CITY?
ABSOLUTELY IT'S NOT THE CASE.
MOST OF THESE ARE PUT UP BY THE
LOCAL BUSINESS PEOPLE.
WE DO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH
THE CITY.
WE'RE ON CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS.
THEY DO A CAPITAL COST SHARE.
BUT THE ONGOING MAINTENANCE AND
REPAIR IS 100 PERCENT THE
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOCAL BIA.

Steve says YOU DESIGN THEM AS
WELL?

John continues WE DESIGN THEM.
WE HAVE ASSISTANCE OBVIOUSLY
THROUGH CITY DESIGN, PUBLIC
REALM, THERE ARE RESTRICTIONS
AND GUIDELINES WE NEED TO
FOLLOW, SO WE DO WORK WITH THE
CITY VERY CLOSELY.

Steve says THEY HAVE TO SIGN
OFF ON THESE THINGS?

John continues THEY ABSOLUTELY
DO.
ULTIMATELY BIAs ARE AGENTS OF
THE MUNICIPALITY AND SUCH.
THERE ARE SOME RULES OF
ENGAGEMENT, IF YOU WILL, THAT WE
HAVE TO FOLLOW IN ORDER TO
ANIMATE AND MAINTAIN THE STREETS
OF TORONTO.

Steve says SO THAT'S SOME OF
WHAT YOU DO.
WHAT WOULD YOU DESCRIBE, THOUGH,
AS THE BIA'S COR FUNCTIONS?

John says IT CORE FUNCTION
TRULY IS, AND IT'S A LEGISLATIVE
FUNCTION, TO BEAUTIFY, CLEAN,
MAINTAIN, MAKE SAFE, AS WELL AS
TO PROMOTE.
ULTIMATELY THE PROMOTION.
THERE ARE THREE PHASES IN THE
BIA LIFE, IF YOU WILL: THE
BEAUTIFICATION.
ONCE YOU BEAUTIFY, YOU WANT TO
SHOW IT OFF.
SO WHAT YOU DO IS YOU PUT ON IF
HE FEELS TO INVITE -- FESTIVALS
TO INVITE PEOPLE TO ENJOY WHAT
YOU HAVE DONE IN TERMS OF
MAINTAINING AND BEAUTIFYING.
PHASE 3 BECOMES A RETAIL MIX
STRATEGY WHERE YOU MOVE BEYOND
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS AND YOU TRY
TO MAKE IT A DESTINATION ON A
DAILY BASIS RATHER THAN THROUGH
A FESTIVAL.

Steve says ONE MORE QUESTION
BEFORE I GET RAFAEL IN HERE AND
YOU SAY MAKE SAFE.
MAKE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD SAFE.
YOU'RE NOT DOING YOUR OWN
POLICING.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

John says NOT IN THE
STRICTEST OF CONTEXTS BUT
INTRODUCING ADDITIONAL
STREETLIGHTING, SOME OF THE
PEDESTRIAN LIGHTING YOU SEE OUT
THERE MAKES FOR A BRIGHTER
SIDEWALK.

Steve says YOU PAY FOR THAT?

John continues WE PAY FOR IT.
WE PAY FOR THE HYDRO, LANTERNS,
AND ALL OF THAT STUFF.
REMOVING GRAFFITI.
THE PERCEPTION THAT THERE'S
GRAFFITI ON BUILDINGS, ON
PROPERTIES, THERE IS A
PERCEPTION OF IT BEING UNSAFE.
SO BY GETTING ON IT AS A BIA
VERY QUICKLY, IT PROVIDES THAT
COMFORT FACTOR.
THOSE ARE SORT OF THE SAFE
INITIATIVES.

Steve says RAFAEL, YOU WROTE
THE BOOK ON THIS.
GIVE US SOME OF THE BACKGROUND
HERE.
HOW DID ALL OF THIS COME TO BE
IN THE FIRST PLACE?

A caption reads ‘Rafael Gomez. University of Toronto.’

Rafael says SURE.
I WOULDN'T SAY I WROTE THE BOOK.
IT'S ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE
THE BOOK.
PEOPLE LIKE ALEX LING.
THE STORY STARTS IN 1966 IN
TORONTO.

Steve says I THINK WE HAVE A
PICTURE OF HIM WITH THE FORMER
MAYOR THERE.

A slate features a black and white picture that portrays Alex Ling holding hands with a woman in her sixties right in front of a store by the name of Ling’s.

Rafael says THAT'S A
GREAT PICTURE.
THAT STOREFRONT IS EXACTLY THE
SAME.
IT'S IMMACULATE.
LIKE A TIMEPIECE.

Steve says WHERE IS IT?
WEST END OF TORONTO?
PEOPLE LIKE ALEX LING, WHY WERE
THEY IMPORTANT?

Rafael says 1966, AN
IMPORTANT PHENOMENON OCCURRED.
THE SUBWAY EXTENSION.
WHEN EAST AND WEST, EAST TO
WOODBINE, I THINK, AND WEST TO
KEELE.
BEFORE THAT, THERE WAS A
STREETCAR THAT WENT ABOVE BLOOR
STREET.
AND STREETCARS ARE VERY GOOD FOR
THE SMALL BUSINESSES AT THE TIME
BECAUSE THERE ARE FREQUENT
STOPS, YOU COULD SEE THE STORE
FRONTS.
AND SO THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT
AFFECTED THOSE BUSINESSES ON
BLOOR STREET WEST WHERE ALEX WAS
LOCATED, A LOT.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY
“AFFECTED,” YOU MEAN NEGATIVELY,
BECAUSE ALL THE PEOPLE ARE GOING
UNDERGROUND?

Rafael says AND THE STOPS
ARE FAR APART.
THEN TWO DAYS FROM THE OPENING
OF THE SUBWAY IN FEBRUARY 1964
WAS THE OPENING OF YORKDALE.
FIRST --

Steve says SHOPPING MALL,
NORTHWEST END OF THE CITY.

Rafael continues FIRST
SHOPPING MALL OF THE KIND WE'VE
BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO IN CANADA.
PEOPLE GOT USED TO DRIVING
FARTHER TO GET THEIR AMENITIES
AND THE BUSINESSES STARTED TO
FEEL IT.
WHAT ALEX DID, THERE WAS A
VOLUNTARY BUSINESS ASSOCIATION.
YOU WOULD SAY WHAT'S NEW ABOUT
BIAs?
I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
BUSINESSES CAME TOGETHER AND
THIS IS INNOVATION?
YES.
BECAUSE PRIOR TO THAT,
EVERYTHING WAS ON A VOLUNTARY
BASIS.
WE KNOW WHEN THINGS ARE
VOLUNTARY, YOU ARE SUBJECT TO A
VERY BAD ECONOMIC PROBLEM: THE
FREE RIDER PROBLEM.
AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE PAY INTO
IT.
ALEX'S GENIUS WAS TO SAY WE HAVE
TO HARNESS TOGETHER AND COMPEL
PEOPLE, ALTHOUGH WE'LL DO IT
DEMOCRATICALLY, WE'LL VOTE ON
IT.
BUT ONCE YOU VOTE, YOU HAVE TO
PAY IN.
ONCE EVERYBODY STARTED PAYING
AND ONCE ALL THE BUSINESSES
STARTED TO REALIZE THEY'RE NOT
COMPETITORS BUT THEY'RE COMMON
TO THAT AREA AND THEY HAVE A
COMMON STAKE IN EVERYTHING, THAT
THE WHOLE STREETSCAPE TURNED
AROUND AND IT BECAME A
DESTINATION NOT LONG AFTER ALEX
COMPELLED BOTH HIS BUSINESS
OWNERS TO GET ON BOARD AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT AND THEN PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT.
IT TOOK A LOT OF ACTORS TO GET
THIS IDEA OF MANDATING A TAX, A
VOLUNTARY TAX -- THIS MANTRA WE
HAVE THAT SMALL BUSINESS ARE
REACTIONARY AND WANT LOWER TAXES
THAT YOU MIGHT HEAR FROM SOME
SPOKESPERSON FOR BUSINESS?
I WON'T NAME THEM.
IT'S NOT TRUE.

Steve says YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF
BUSINESS.

Rafael says I DIDN'T SAY
THAT.

Steve continues I'M READING BETWEEN
THE LINES.
THAT'S WHO YOU MEAN, RIGHT?

Rafael says THE MANTRA
THAT WE NEED LESS INVESTMENT AND
TAXES.
THAT IS NOT THE CASE.
BUSINESSES IN THAT AREA REALIZED
WE NEEDED MORE INVESTMENT IN OUR
STREETSCAPE AND NEED TO ATTRACT
CUSTOMERS.

Steve says LET'S DO A COUPLE
OTHER NAMES AS WELL.
YOU MENTIONED ALEX LING.
HOW ABOUT NEIL McLENNAN?
WHAT WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIM
IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS?

Rafael says THEY WERE
BOTH ON THE STRIP AND I THINK
TOGETHER THEY WERE ABLE TO RALLY
BUSINESS OWNERS WHO WERE VERY
SPENT CAL.

A new picture appears on screen. It’s the photo of a store names McLellan Jewellers.’

Steve says THERE'S McLELLAN
JEWELERS.

Rafael says THAT'S IT.
ANOTHER CLASSIC STOREFRONT.

John says HE WAS THE FIRST
PRESIDENT OF THE BIA, ONE OF THE
MAJOR COGS IN MOVING FORWARD.
ALEX PRIDES HIMSELF IN SAYING,
“I WAS MORE THE INCUBATOR.”
AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THIS
INNOVATIVE, CHALLENGING, TAXING
POWER WAS OUT THERE AND A NUMBER
OF PEOPLE TOOK OPPORTUNITIES TO
TAKE LAWSUITS AGAINST IT,
ET CETERA.
SO WHERE ALEX PRIDES HIMSELF IS,
HE WAS ACTUALLY THE ONE THAT
HELPED NURSE IT THROUGH THOSE
TRYING YEARS.
MR. McLELLAN IS ONE OF A
COUPLE AND I BELIEVE YOU HAVE
ANOTHER NAME ON YOUR LIST.

Steve says BILL WHITEACRE.

John continues Q.C.
AND THERE THEY ARE, ACTUALLY.

A slate shows a picture of three men in their sixties, all of them wearing in tuxedos at an event.

Steve says THAT'S MISTER WHITEACRE
IN THE MIDDLE AND ALEX LING ON
THE RIGHT?

John confirms THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says I'M GUESSING THAT'S
BOB BUNDY, RIGHT?
WAS HE PLANNING COMMISSIONER IN
TORONTO ABOUT 30, 40 YEARS AGO?

John says EXACTLY.
HE SAW A BUNCH OF THAT THROUGH.
WILLIAM WHITEACRE WROTE THE
PIECE OF LEGISLATION, HE TOOK IT
THROUGH THE PROCESS.
MAYOR DENNISON AT THAT TIME TOOK
THE FILE AND HE, AND I'M
QUOTING, HE SAID TO WILLIAM
WHITEACRE, HE SAID LOCAL
BUSINESS PEOPLE WANT ME TO TAX
THEM MORE?
AND EFFECTIVELY THAT IS THE
KERNEL OF THE IDEA BEHIND
BIAs.

Steve says LET'S GET INTO THAT.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO PAYS HOW
MUCH TAX TO WHOM, WHEN -- I
MEAN, THERE HAS GOT TO BE A LOT
OF COMPLICATION UNDERNEATH ALL
OF THIS.
HOW DID THAT ALL GET RESOLVED?

A new caption reads ‘Small Business, big impact. How BIAs work.’

Rafael says I'LL SET OUT
IN PRINCIPLE AND JOHN CAN GIVE
YOU THE DETAIL.
THIS IS INTERESTING IN TERMS OF
TAXATION AND WHAT WE CAN
TOLERATE AS A SOCIETY.
WE HAVE TO INVEST IN PUBLIC
GOODS.
WHEN YOU LIVE IN AN URBAN
ENVIRONMENT, THINGS DEPRECIATE.
IF YOU'RE NOT INVESTING, YOU'RE
ACTUALLY LOSING AND FALLING
BEHIND.
THE BIA LEVY WORKS IN PRINCIPLE
BECAUSE THE MONEY GOES RIGHT
BACK TO THE BUSINESS OWNERS.
THERE'S NO SLICING OFF.
EVERY PIECE OF MONEY THAT GOES
INTO A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA
GETS PLOWED ABOUT A BEING INTO
THE BIA ITSELF AND IT CHOOSES
WHAT TO INVEST IN AND WHAT TO
USE THE MONEY FOR.
SO IT'S A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND
THEY HAVE A HOLD ON THE MONEY.

Steve says LET ME UNDERSTAND
THAT.
A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS MEANING ALL
THE OWNERS SHOW UP AT A MEETING
AND A SHOW OF HANDS OR WHAT?

Rafael says IN THEORY,
YES.
THERE ARE GENERAL MEMBERS'
MEETINGS, VOTES HAVE TO HAPPEN.
NOTHING HAPPENS IN A CLOSED DOOR
ENVIRONMENT.
AGAIN, THESE ARE KIND OF
EXTENSIONS OF CITY GOVERNANCE,
SO YOU HAVE TO HAVE PUBLIC
MEETINGS AND YOU HAVE TO VOTE ON
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ABOUT
BUDGETING.
BUT JOHN CAN TELL YOU MORE
PARTICULARLY ABOUT HOW THE LEVY
IS FINANCED.

John says EFFECTIVELY THE
BIA IS A GEOGRAPHIC AREA,
DESIGNATED GEOGRAPHIC AREA
THROUGH A MUNICIPAL BY-LAW.
THERE'S AN ELECTION.
PEOPLE HAVE TO VOTE A BIA IN.
THERE IS A POLL THAT'S DONE BY
THE MUNICIPALITY.
ASSUMING EVERYTHING MEETS THE
CRITERIA OF THAT POLL, THEN A
BIA IS ESTABLISHED, A GEOGRAPHIC
AREA IS SET FORTH.
WE KNOW WHAT THE ASSESSMENT OF
THAT, COMMERCIAL INVESTMENT,
COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL ASSESSMENT
OF THAT AREA IS IN THE WHOLE,
AND IF YOUR PROPERTY REPRESENTS
1-1000th OF THAT TOTAL
ASSESSMENT, YOU PAY 1-1000th
OF THE PRESCRIBED LEVY THAT'S
COLLECTED FOR THAT YEAR.
THE BILL, THE BILLING, IF YOU
WILL, COMES IN YOUR TAX BILL, AS
A PART OF YOUR BUSINESS TAX, AND
IT IS THE LANDLORD, THE PROPERTY
OWNER, THAT ACTUALLY GETS THE
BILL, BECAUSE WE NO LONGER HAVE
BUSINESS OCCUPANCY TAX.
PRIOR TO '98, WHEN THERE WAS A
BUSINESS OCCUPANCY TAX, A BIA
LEVY WOULD BE CHARGED DIRECTLY
TO THE BUSINESS.
HOWEVER, SINCE THE CHANGE OF
THAT LEGISLATION, IT NOW GOES TO
THE PROPERTY OWNER, AND THE
PROPERTY OWNER HAS EVERY RIGHT,
WITHIN LEGAL PARAMETERS, TO PASS
IT DOWN TO HIS TENANTS.

Steve says HOW MANY BIAs IN
TORONTO?

John says 81.

Steve continues ARE THEY IN
BASICALLY EVERY CITY IN THE
PROVINCE?

John says BASICALLY EVERY
CITY, EVERY TOWN, THERE'S OVER
300 ACROSS THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO, SOME 700 ACROSS CANADA,
ABOUT 1500 BIDS AS THEY'RE
REFERRED TO IN THE U.S., AND
THEY GO WORLD WIDE.
THE KERNEL OF AN IDEA
ESTABLISHED IN BLOOR WEST
VILLAGE IS ONE OF TORONTO'S BEST
EXPORTS.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK,
RAFAEL, IT HAS CAUGHT ON SO
MUCH?

Rafael says I THINK A
VARIETY OF REASONS.
I WAS TRYING TO TRACK THE
DIFFUSION OF BIAs IN THE BOOK.
IT WAS PRETTY FAST FOR THE TIME.
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, WAS ONE
OF THE FIRST JURISDICTIONS TO
PICK IT UP AFTER BLOOR WEST
VILLAGE DID.
THEN ONTARIO AND FLORIDA WERE
DOING A LOT OF WORK TOGETHER.
THEY WERE BOTH GROWING VERY
FAST.
FLORIDA WAS A STATE GROWING VERY
FAST, ONTARIO WAS A PROVINCE
GROWING VERY FAST.
BACK THEN THE TORIES WERE
COLLABORATING.
SOMEHOW THAT IDEA FROM TORONTO
MIGRATED TO ST. PETERSBURG,
FLORIDA.

Steve says I THINK MISTER DAVIS
LIKED TO SPEND TIME IN FLORIDA.

Rafael says IT WORKED
WELL IN CITIES THAT HAD
ESTABLISHED MAIN STREETS THAT
WERE STILL DESTINATIONS BUT WERE
SEEING THAT BUSINESS TRAFFIC
ERODE.
LATER IT MOVED TO PLACES THAT
YOU THINK UNEXPECTEDLY WOULD
NEVER TAKE ADVANTAGE OF, LIKE A
SUBURB, STRIP MALL, FOR EXAMPLE.
BUT AGAIN THE ISSUES WERE THE
SAME.
STRIP MALLS BENEFITED AT A TIME
WHEN THE SUBURBS OF TORONTO WERE
GROWING VERY FAST.
BY THE LATE '80s, EARLY
'90s, THAT HAD STOPPED AND THE
GROWTH WAS HAPPENING OUTSIDE THE
416 AND THOSE MALLS STARTED TO
SUFFER, THE EARLY MALLS BUILT IN
THE '50s AND '60s AND '70s.
BIAs SUDDENLY WERE EXPANDED TO
INCLUDE, YOU KNOW,
BEAUTIFICATION FOR A SERIES OF
STRIP MALLS OVER A MUCH WIDER
FOOTPRINT.
IF YOU LOOK AT ONE OF THE BIAs
IN SCARBOROUGH, KENNEDY ROAD
BIA, IT SPANS WHAT WOULD BE TWO
OR FOUR ALONG BLOOR BUT IT'S
ONE.
IT'S A DESTINATION FOR PEOPLE
WHO WANT FURNITURE OR COMPUTERS
OR ETHNIC DINING.
YOU HAVE IT ALL IN THIS VERY
LONG STRIP OF KENNEDY ROAD IN
EAST SCARBOROUGH.

Steve says GOTCHA.
THANKS FOR SETTING THE TABLE,
YOU TWO.
SIT TIGHT BECAUSE WE WILL HAVE A
COUPLE OF GUESTS IN A MOMENT.
BEFORE WE DO THAT, TAKE A LOOK
AT THIS INFORMATION AS WE TALK
ABOUT BIAs STARTING IN
ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY AND
BRANCHING OUT TO THE REST OF THE
WORLD, RIGHT BACK AFTER THIS.

A slate titled ‘From Toronto to the world’ appears on screen. It reads ‘The world’s first Business Improvement Association (BIA) started in 1970 with Toronto’s Bloor West Village BIA. In 1974, New Orleans was the first to import the model outside Canada, calling it a Business Improvement District (BID). Today, there are 81 BIAs in Toronto, over 230 across Ontario, and more than 1200 in the U.S.A. BIAs and BIDs now exist around the world, from the U.K. to Japan.’
Quoted from ‘Project Gutenberg.’

Steve says WE'RE GOING TO BROADEN THE
DISCUSSION NOW AND EXAMINE THE
POTENTIAL OF SMALL BUSINESS AS A
TRANSFORMATIVE FORCE FOR CITIES.
JOINING US TO DO THAT:
ADRIANA BEEMANS, DIRECTOR OF THE
METCALF FOUNDATION'S INCLUSIVE
LOCAL ECONOMIES PROGRAM;
THAT'S HER ON THE LEFT.

Adriana is in her mid-thirties. She has long, dark hair and wears a black shirt, a black jacket, and a massive, red necklace.

Steve continues AND CYNDI ROTTENBERG-WALKER,
PARTNER
AT URBAN STRATEGIES;

Cyndi is in her fifties. She has short, blond hair and wears a dark, blue shirt, a black blazer with a silver chain necklace and trick glasses.

Steve continues WE WELCOME BACK
RAFAEL GOMEZ
FROM THE U OF T AND JOHN KIRU
FROM THE TORONTO ASSOCIATION OF
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREAS.
THANK YOU FOR COMING IN AND
JOINING OUR CONVERSATION.
CYNDI, TO YOU FIRST.
HOW MUCH DO YOU SIGN ON TO THE
NOTION THAT IF IT'S GOOD FOR THE
BIA, IT'S GOOD FOR THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD, IT'S THEREFORE
GOOD FOR THE CITY, IT'S
THEREFORE GOOD FOR THE ETCETERA,
ETCETERA.

A caption reads ‘Cyndi Rottenberg-Walker. Urban Strategies.’ Then it changes to ‘Small Business, big impact. Scale matters.’

Cyndi says
THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.
NOTHING IS ABSOLUTE.
THERE'S A ROLE BIAs PLAY IN
COMMUNITY WHICH IS GROWING.
THE CITY, AS WE CAN SEE, EVERY
TIME WE WALK OUTSIDE THE DOOR
WE'RE TRANSFORMING OUR
TRADITIONAL MAIN STREETS,
TURNING THEM INTO MUCH DENSER
RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES.
BIAs ARE THE CENTRE OF THAT.
IT'S WHERE THE PUBLIC HAPPENS ON
THE COMMERCIAL STREET.
SO LOTS TO OFFER IN TERMS OF THE
STRENGTH THEY BRING TO OUR
COMMUNITIES.

Steve says ADRIANA, WHAT DO YOU
SAY?

A caption now reads ‘Adriana Beemans. METCALF Foundation.’

Adriana says I THINK
THEY'RE IMPORTANT FOR A VIBRANT
NEIGHBOURHOOD AND THERE ARE
INNOVATIONS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
IN TRANSFORMING PRIVATE SPACES
INTO MORE ENGAGING SPACES.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK WE
SHOULD BE PAYING, IF YOU THINK
WE SHOULD BE PAYING, MORE
ATTENTION TO THE ROLE THAT MAIN
STREET BUSINESSES PLAY IN
TRANSFORMING CITIES?

Adriana says I MEAN, I
THINK SMALL BUSINESSES AND MAIN
STREET BUSINESSES ARE CRUCIAL
LOCAL ANCHORS FOR VIBRANT LIFE.
PEOPLE LIVE LOCALLY, SHOP
LOCALLY, IT'S AN AREA OF
INCLUSION, IT'S WHERE YOU HAVE
PEOPLE OF ALL INCOME LEVELS TO
INTERACT.
SO IT'S A REALLY KEY PART OF THE
CITY FABRIC OF THE KIND OF CITY
WE WANT TO BE.

Steve says CYNDI, DOES SIZE
MATTER?

Cyndi says IT
DOES, AND I'M GLAD YOU ASKED
THAT.
IT'S ONE OF THE INTERESTING
THINGS THAT I THINK IS A BIT OF
A CHALLENGE TO THE TRADITIONAL
BIA MODEL ON MAIN STREET AS
BEING THE ONLY MODEL FOR
SUCCESS.
BECAUSE AS I STARTED, WE'RE
TRANSFORMING OUR MAIN STREETS,
INTENSIFYING THEM, BUILDING MORE
RESIDENTIAL.
THAT HAS TO HAPPEN BY A BIGGER
ENTITY.
A BIA CAN'T MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
THAT'S A PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT
ORGANIZATION THAT BRINGS A
PUBLIC AGENDA TO CREATE THESE
MORE COMPLETE AND WALKABLE
COMMUNITIES FORWARD.
SO REALLY WHAT I'M INTERESTED IN
IS WHAT'S THE ROLE OF SMALL
BUSINESS IN THAT FUTURE,
DELIVERED URBAN FAB --
DELIBERATE URBAN FABRIC IN HOW
IT CAN BE A PARTNER IN SUCCESS
AS A FINE-GRAINED SMALL SIZED
REGULAR REPEATING FORMAT OF
FRONTAGES, BUT TO HAVE THAT BE
SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT
DISAPPEAR AS WE START TO CHANGE
THE CHARACTER AND BUILD NEW
BUILDINGS, WHICH ARE INHERENTLY
MORE EXPENSIVE AND MORE
CHALLENGING.

Steve says IT'S INTERESTING YOU
SAY DISAPPEARING, BECAUSE IT
WASN'T THAT LONG AGO THAT
EVERYBODY WAS FORECASTING THAT
THE BIG BOX STORES WERE GOING TO
COME INTO THESE NEIGHBOURHOODS,
THEY WERE GOING TO WIPE OUT ALL
OF THESE MOM AND POP OPERATIONS
AND THAT WOULD BE THE END OF A
PARTICULAR WAY OF LIFE, A WAY OF
DESIGNING CITIES AND SO ON AND
SO FORTH.
THAT HASN'T REALLY HAPPENED?

Cyndi says A
LOT IS POLICY.
IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO BUILD A
COMPLETELY NORMAL BIG BOX ON
MAIN STREET, THERE ARE CONTROLS
IN TERMS OF SIZE, BOTH THE
FOOTPRINT OF THE STORE AND ALSO
THE WAY IT RELATES TO THE
STREET.
BUT BIG BOXES ARE RESPONDING TO
AND BECOMING MORE URBAN IN THEIR
NATURE AND THAT'S APPROPRIATE,
ACTUALLY.
IT'S LIKE EVERYTHING, IT'S AN
ECO SYSTEM, IT HAS TO OFFER THE
STARTUP OPPORTUNITIES THAT
ADRIANA WAS TALKING ABOUT, IT
HAS TO BE ABLE TO FIND SOMETHING
THAT'S FINANCIALLY PROFITABLE SO
IT CAN BE DELIVERED, COMMUNITIES
WILL TALK ABOUT THE NEED AND
WANT TO BE ABLE TO SHOP IN A
REALLY LOCALLY GENERATED
BUSINESSES BUT AT THE SAME TIME
THEY WANT A VARIETY THAT A
DRUGSTORE OFFERS OR THE KIND OF
NEW URBAN FORMAT GROCERY STORES
THAT ARE COMING FORWARD.
I THINK ALL OF IT WORKS AS LONG
AS IT CAN FIND A BALANCE AND
THAT'S REALLY THE KEY AND THAT'S
I THINK OUR CHALLENGE.

Steve says ADRIANA, WAS THAT A
PHASE WHERE EVERYBODY WORRIED
THAT THE BIG BOX STORE WAS GOING
TO WIPE OUT MOM AND POP?

Adriana says I THINK
IT'S STILL A PHASE.

Steve says WE'RE NOT OUT OF IT
YET?

Adriana continues I DON'T
THINK WE'RE OUT OF IT.
WHEN WE LOOK AT BIG BOX STORES
BECOMING MORE BOUTIQUE STORES,
WHAT'S THE IMPACT ON SMALL SCALE
ENTREPRENEURS?
I THINK THAT'S STILL A KEY
CONCERN FOR MANY.

Steve says RAFAEL, WHAT DO YOU
THINK?

Rafael says ONE OF THE
THINGS YOU HAVE TO DISTINGUISH
IS A LARGE URBAN CITY LIKE
TORONTO CAN TOLERATE THE
DIVERSITY.
YOU PROBABLY WANT THAT MIX OF
LARGE BOX STORE SOMEWHERE THAT
WAS OLD INDUSTRIAL LAND AND NOW
HAD NO OTHER PURPOSE AND THE
MAIN STREETS WHERE PEOPLE CAN
GO.
IT'S IN IN THE INTERMEDIATE
AREAS, A SMALLER CITY, WHERE A
BIG BOX STORE CAN HAVE A
DEVASTATING EFFECT BECAUSE YOU
DON'T HAVE THE DENSITY OR THE
AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT CAN MAKE
DIFFERENT CHOICES AND THE BOX
STORE CAN WIPE OUT ALL THE SMALL
BUSINESSES.
IT'S NOT LIKE THE JOBS HAVE GONE
TO BOX STORES.
OVERALL JOB GROWTH IS LOWER IN
THOSE COMMUNITIES WHERE A BIG
BOX DESTROYS INDIGENOUS
ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY.
THE SECOND THING I WOULD SAY IS
JUST GETTING BACK TO THIS IDEA,
WE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED BECAUSE
NOW OUR CITY REALLY TRANSFORMED
THE LAST 20 YEARS, THE
INTENSIFICATION OF URBAN LIVING,
THE CONDOS AND THE BUSINESSES
THAT ARE SET UP AROUND IT.
IF YOU GO BACK 30, 40 YEARS,
WHAT ALEX LING AND THOSE
BUSINESS OWNERS DID WAS QUITE
RADICAL.
THE VIEW OF THE CITY WAS QUITE
DIFFERENT.
SEGMENTED USAGE.
HERE'S WHERE YOU LIVE, HERE'S
WHERE YOU WILL WORK, HERE'S
WHERE YOU WILL SHOP.
IT WAS SEGREGATED FROM EACH
OTHER.
THE SPADINA EXPRESSWAY WAS GOING
TO COME THROUGH AND CLEAN UP THE
OLD NEIGHBOURHOODS BECAUSE THEY
WERE OLD AND RATTY.
WE NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING
MODERN.
JANE JACOBS AND THOSE EFFORTS
PUT A STOP TO IT.
WE REALIZED THOSE WERE THE
NEIGHBOURHOODS CITIES THRIVE ON.
IT'S A PRETTY RADICAL THING THAT
WE DON'T TAKE AS RADICAL NOW, TO
SAVE AND PRESERVE THE SMALL
SPACES FOR NEW IMMIGRANTS THAT
COME TO CANADA.
THAT'S USUALLY THE PLACE THEY
FIND THEIR FIRST JOB IS ONE THEY
CREATED.
I WANTED TO ADD THAT PIECE.

John says THE CITY HAS
BECOME A CITY OF NEIGHBOURHOODS.
WHETHER IT'S ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS
OR THE GEOGRAPHY THAT'S CREATED
IT.
BUT THE IMPORTANT THING IS,
BIAs ARE IN FACT THE LIVING
ROOMS, THE DINING ROOMS, AND THE
KITCHENS OF ALL THOSE CONDO
DWELLERS OUT THERE.
182 CONSTRUCTION CRANES OUT IN
THE AREA I THINK IS THE LAST
REPORT THAT'S OUT THERE.
600, 700 SQUARE FOOT CONDOS.

Steve says DWELL ON THAT.
182 CRANES IN THE SKIES IN
TORONTO ALONE?

John confirms THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says BUILDING NEW
WHATEVER, CONDOS, OFFICE
BUILDINGS, WHATEVER, 182.

John says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve continues THAT'S GOT TO BE
NO. 1 OR NO. 2 IN NORTH AMERICA.

John says I BELIEVE IT IS.
NEW YORK, L.A., DALLAS, AND
CHICAGO COMBINED DON'T HAVE THAT
MANY UP AT THE MOMENT.
I THINK ASIA CERTAINLY SURPASSES
US, THE LARGER CITIES THERE, BUT
WE ARE, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY
EXPERIENCING A BOOM.
THE REAL ESTATE BUBBLES AND ALL
THAT.
THAT'S A TOPIC FOR ANOTHER DAY.
BUT THE REALITY IS, PEOPLE ARE
MOVING INTO THE CITY AND THESE
PEOPLE, MANY OF EUROPEAN
DESCENT, ARE LOOKING TO LIVE THE
WAY THEY LIVED BACK IN EUROPE
WHERE THE STREETS ARE, THE
SQUARES, 600, 700 SQUARE FOOT
CONDOS, THEY NEED THAT EXTRA
SPACE AND IT IS THE PATIOS, IT
IS THE STORES THAT ARE THE
GATHERING PLACES.
MAN IS NATURALLY A SOCIAL ANIMAL
AND WE NEED THAT INTERACTION.
THAT'S WHAT WE AS BIAs PROVIDE
ON THE STREETS OF TORONTO.

Steve says CYNDI, HOW MUCH DO
YOU THINK SMALL BUSINESS CAN
ACTUALLY TRANSFORM AN AREA?

Cyndi says
OH, ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK JOHN MENTIONED THE FACT
THAT IT CREATES IDENTITY.
PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO BE
ASSOCIATED WITH NEIGHBOURHOODS
THAT HAVE IDENTITY.
I THINK IT'S FASCINATING, YOU
KNOW, WE'RE BUSY, KIND OF
PROMOTING DIGITAL COMMUNITY, BUT
AT THE SAME TIME PEOPLE WANT
THAT REALLY PHYSICAL CONNECTION,
AND SO ANYTHING THAT CAN MAKE
YOU FEEL PART OF SOMETHING IS
REALLY IMPORTANT AND I THINK
THAT'S SOMETHING THAT OUR BIAs
IN TORONTO IN PARTICULAR ARE
REALLY SUCCESSFUL, THIS IDEA OF
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
I THINK -- I GUESS THE QUESTION
WILL BE: WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT
GENERATION OF THE ROLE THAT
COMMUNITIES CAN PLAY TO SERVE
NOT JUST OUR IMMIGRANT
POPULATION, WHICH IS A
PHENOMENAL PART OF TORONTO'S
SUCCESS, BUT MILLENNIAL DESIRES,
WHICH ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT,
AND SO I THINK SOME OF THE
THINGS RAFAEL WAS TALKING
ABOUT -- MY KIDS HAVE NOT GOT
DRIVER'S LICENCES, I CAN'T GET
THEM TO GET THEIR DRIVER'S
LICENCE.

Steve says THEY DON'T NEED A
CAR.

Cyndi continues THEY DON'T.
IT'S NOT UNUSUAL.
THEY DON'T SEE THAT AS PART OF
THEIR FUTURE.
I THINK THAT IS AN AMAZING THING
TO PROMOTE THIS KIND OF WALKABLE
COMMUNITY SET OF OBJECTIVES THAT
WE'RE STRIVING TO ACCOMPLISH.

Steve says THAT DOES SAY A LOT,
DOESN'T IT?
I BET YOU EVERYBODY AT THIS
TABLE THE DAY THEY TURNED 16
WENT OUT AND GOT THEIR DRIVER'S
LICENCES.

Cyndi says
ABSOLUTELY.
(Laughter)

Steve says YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR
LICENCE YET?
YOU'RE A MILLENNIAL.

Adriana says I AGE
WELL.

Steve says YOU'D BE THE
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE.
NOWADAYS, I AGREE, THERE'S NO
RUSH ANYMORE IF YOU LIVE IN A
CITY LIKE THIS.
MOST OF THE P.R. WE HEAR IN
TORONTO CERTAINLY THESE DAYS,
THE 80-STOREY CONDOMINIUMS GOING
UP AT YONGE AND BLOOR, BIG
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS THAT HAVE
THE ABILITY TO COMPLETELY
TRANSFORM A NEIGHBOURHOOD,
PEOPLE DON'T NECESSARILY THINK
THAT THAT'S SOMETHING THAT SMALL
BUSINESS DOES AS WELL.
BUT DO THEY?
DO SMALL BUSINESSES REALLY
TRANSFORM NEIGHBOURHOODS IN A
WAY THAT AN 80-STOREY CONDO AND
WHATEVER COMES AROUND IT CAN AS
WELL?

Adriana says I THINK
FOR SURE.
IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE
THAT TORONTO HAS MULTIPLE
NEIGHBOURHOODS AND SOME RESEARCH
SHOWS WE HAVE VARIOUS CITIES
INSTEAD OF ONE CITY.
SO WHO LIVES AND WORKS IN ONE
NEIGHBOURHOOD IS VERY DIFFERENT
IN OTHER POCKETS AND OUTER
SUBURBS OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK THE
WORK WE'RE FOCUSING ON IS HOW DO
WE MAKE -- REDUCE THE BARRIERS
FOR MICRO ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND
LOW SCALE SO MORE LOW INCOME
INDIVIDUALS CAN ENTER THE
ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORLD AND ENTER
IN SMALL SCALE BUSINESS.
WE'RE DESCRIBING BUSINESS AND
MAIN STREET.
THE QUESTION IS, WHAT CAN WE DO
TO REVITALIZE THOSE TOWER
COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE SMALL
TOWNS LIVING IN --

Steve says WHAT DO YOU CALL
THEM?

Adriana continues TOWER
COMMUNITIES.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Adriana explains IF YOU
THINK ABOUT DOWNTOWN, YOU HAVE
ST. JAMES TOWN WHICH IS A HUGE
SET OF TOWERS, BUT IN THORNCLIFF
PARK, IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD, YOU
HAVE OVER 35 TOWERS.
30,000 PEOPLE LIVE MOSTLY IN
HUGE APARTMENT TOWERS.

Steve says THAT'S IN PREMIER
WYNNE'S RIDING.

Adriana continues IT IS.
WE'VE CHANGED THE ZONING TO WORK
ON RESIDENT APARTMENT COMMERCIAL
ZONING SO WE CAN SUPPORT SMALL
SCALE COMMUNITY USE ON THE MAIN
FLOOR OF SOME OF THESE PRIVATE
APARTMENT BUILDINGS BECAUSE I
THINK THAT'S PART OF THE
CHALLENGE ON -- IF YOU DON'T
HAVE MAIN STREETS, WHERE IS THE
ROLE FOR SMALL BUSINESS, WHERE
IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE
WHO WANT TO SET UP SHOP AND
THERE ARE A LOT OF FINANCIAL
BARRIERS PERHAPS ON A MAIN
STREET OR CULTURAL AND SOCIAL
BARRIERS TO GO OUTSIDE YOUR
NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Steve says IN WHICH CASE,
CYNDI, DO YOU EVER WORRY THAT
BIAs ARE LEADING THE WAY IN
SOME NEIGHBOURHOODS AT THE
EXPENSE OF OTHER NEIGHBOURHOODS
THAT DON'T HAVE THEM?

Cyndi says I
DON'T THINK SO NECESSARILY.
I THINK EXACTLY, AS ADRIANA HAS
POINTED TO, WE HAVE A WHOLE
SERIES OF WAYS NOW THAT WE'RE
TRYING TO GET AT THESE SHARED
OBJECTIVES, THESE INFORMAL
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.
IT'S NOT JUST BUSINESS BUT ALSO
THE PUBLIC REALM.
RAFAEL'S BOOK TALKED ABOUT A LOT
OF THINGS I THOUGHT WERE
IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF THE BEAUTY
OF OUR CITIES AND THAT IS ONE
THING THAT BIAs CONTRIBUTE TO.
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS YOU CAN TRY
TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE ACTUALLY
DOING THINGS THAT IMPROVE
QUALITY OF LIFE AND THAT'S
ACTUALLY FUNDAMENTAL.
SO I DON'T THINK IT'S ALL ABOUT
BIAs, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT A
SHARED SET OF INTERESTS THAT A
WHOLE VARIETY OF PLAYERS, LARGE
AND SMALL, CAN BRING FORWARD, A
BIG ROLE IS THE PUBLIC SECTOR
BUT ALSO PRIVATE ENTERPRISE,
MICRO, MINI, AND MACRO.

John says WHERE THE BIAs
COME INTO PLAY IN THIS THING IS
WE BRING OUR MONEY TO THE TABLE.

Cyndi says YES.

John continues THE DAYS OF
WAITING FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO
DO THINGS FOR US WENT THE WAY OF
THE DODO BIRD IN THE 1970s.
THIS YEAR ALONE, TORONTO BIAs,
81, 34 MILLION DOLLARS.
34 MILLION DOLLARS ABOVE AND BEYOND THE
TAXES THAT WE'RE PAYING TO
INVEST IN CITY INFRASTRUCTURE,
INTO WELL-PAYING, YOU KNOW -- WE
LEARN VERY QUICKLY AND THE
MESSAGE WE TRY TO GET OUT IS, AS
MAIN STREET GOES, SO DOES THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
IT INCREASES THE ASSESSED VALUE
OF PROPERTIES IMMEDIATELY AROUND
IT.

Steve says RAFAEL, IT DOES
RAISE THE QUESTION, IF YOU'RE
ONE OF THOSE NEIGHBOURHOODS
WHERE YOU HAVE A GOOD STRONG
BUSINESS COMMUNITY PREPARED TO
PAY THE LEVIES AND MAKE THE
BEAUTIFICATION YOU'VE TALKED
ABOUT, JOHN, GREAT.
IF YOU DON'T, IF YOU'RE IN A LOW
INCOME, I GUESS WHAT THEY CALL
PRIORITY NEIGHBOURHOODS RIGHT
NOW, AND YOU DON'T HAVE THESE
ASSETS, ARE YOU SCREWED?

Rafael says NO.
YOU CAN LEARN FROM THE BIA
MOVEMENT AND THE METCALF AREAS
WORK IN THESE AREAS.
PEOPLE THINK OF SMALL BUSINESS,
THAT'S THE BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM
POLE AND YOU WANT TO ASPIRE TO A
BIG CHAIN.
IT'S THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
YOU HAVE MICRO ENTREPRENEURS
THAT HAVE BUSINESSES IN THEIR
BASEMENTS AND KITCHENS THAT
ASPIRE TO THE SMALL SHOP ON THE
MAIN STREET.
IF YOU HAVE SPACES LIKE -- WE
JUST MENTIONED EITHER IN PARKING
LOTS OR SCHOOL FRONTS THAT
AREN'T USED ON WEEKENDS WHERE
YOU CAN SET UP MARKETS FOR THESE
MICRO ENTREPRENEURS THAT ARE
BUILDING UP TO MAYBE OWNING A
SHOP ON A MAIN STREET, YOU NEED
A COLLEGE-Y VIEW.
YOU CAN TAKE CUES FROM THE BIA
MOVEMENT, COMING TOGETHER,
POOLING RESOURCES, GIVES YOU
MORE VOICE, AND YOU DO THAT AT A
SMALLER LEVEL, MICRO LEVEL.
OF COURSE THE NEXT STEP IS, HOW
DO YOU MAKE A BUSINESS THAT'S
BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN ONE
NEIGHBOURHOOD PERHAPS MIGRATE TO
ANOTHER?
HOW DO YOU GIVE THEM THE SKILLS
AND CAPITAL THAT WOULD ALLOW
THEM TO BECOME A SMALL CHAIN IN
A BIG CITY?
RESEARCH HAS SHOWN LOCAL
INDEPENDENT CHAINS, A CHAIN BUT
IT'S BASED LOCALLY, IS BY FAR
THE BIGGEST EMPLOYER OF LOCAL
CITIZENS AND LOCAL WORKERS.

Steve says IT IS THE CASE,
THOUGH, ADRIANA, THAT SOME
PEOPLE, IN ANY CITY, ARE HOSTILE
TO BUSINESS AND THEY THINK THE
INTERESTS OF BUSINESS ARE NOT
SYNONYMOUS WITH THE INTERESTS OF
THE AVERAGE CITIZEN.
IS THERE A PART OF YOU THAT IS
CONCERNED THAT BUSINESS' VOICE
IN THIS TRANSFORMATION IS TOO
LOUD AT THE EXPENSE OF THE
AVERAGE CITIZEN?

A caption reads ‘Small Business, big impact. Private and Public.’

Adriana says I THINK
THAT'S A NARROW APPROACH TO WHAT
A BUSINESS IS.
THERE'S HETEROGENEITY.
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE KEY
EMPLOYERS, SO FOR ME, I THINK
THEY'RE REALLY CRUCIAL
COMPONENTS THAT WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT, PAYING PEOPLE LIVING
WAGES, THE ROLE SMALL BUSINESSES
HAVE IN DOING THAT AND BEING
HIGH-PERFORMING WORKPLACES,
THEY'RE A CRUCIAL COMPONENT, NOT
JUST AS BUSINESSES THEMSELVES
BUT AS EMPLOYERS, AND BUILDING
SOCIAL CAPITAL IN LOW INCOME
NEIGHBOURHOODS, YOU KIND OF SAY
TO A YOUNG PERSON, GO AND FIND A
JOB, GO PASS OUT YOUR RÉSUMÉ,
IT'S THE SMALL BUSINESSES THEY
GO TO.
THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THEY KNOW
IN THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD.
THAT'S WHERE THEY BUY THEIR MILK
OR NEWSPAPERS OR GET THEIR
HAIRCUT AND GET THEIR NAILS
DONE.
IT'S THE SMALL BUSINESSES THAT
PROVIDE THE SOCIAL CAPITAL THAT
HELP ON ALL LEVELS FROM
EMPLOYMENT, MICRO
ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
THEY'RE CRUCIAL COMPONENTS.

Rafael says I DIDN'T WANT
TO FORGET MY POINT.
SORRY TO BUTT IN.
IT CAN HAPPEN.
IN MY RESEARCH AROUND THE TABLE,
ONE OF THE THINGS I IDENTIFIED
WAS THE TRUE LOCAL MAYOR.
EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD HAS A LOCAL
MAYOR AND IT'S SOMETIMES THE
BARBER SHOP OWNER, SOMETIMES
IT'S THE GROCERY STORE OWNER,
SOMETIMES THE CONVENIENCE STORE
OWNER, THE PERSON THAT'S BEEN
THERE A LONG TIME, KNOWS EVERY
RESIDENT, AND SOMEHOW IS THE
SORT OF HUB FOR A WHOLE BUNCH OF
TRANSACTIONS AND INFORMATION
FLOWS, OR THE RESTAURANT OR
CAFE.
AND THESE LOCAL MAYORS
DISTRIBUTE INFORMATION AND
CHANNEL THAT INFORMATION OFTEN
TO THE LOCAL COUNCILLOR OR TO
THE M.P.
A VITAL ROLE.
I THINK ON THE SMALL SCALE, THAT
ALIENATION PEOPLE FEEL TOWARDS,
WHAT YOU SAID, BUSINESS, IT'S AN
ALIENATION TOWARDS LARGE
STRUCTURES, E.F. SCHUMACHER,
SMALL WAS BEAUTIFUL.
THEY'RE SMALLER AND MORE HUMAN
AT THE SAME TIME.
IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF BUSINESS
AGAINST INTEREST, IT'S SCALE,
YEAH.

Cyndi says
ALSO PARTNERSHIP.
WE HAVE A FEW INTERESTING
PROJECTS.
ONE OF MY PARTNERS FROM A
NEIGHBOURHOOD IN.
THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO CARRY IT
FORWARD AND THE RESIDENT
ASSOCIATIONS, THREE SEPARATE
RESIDENT ASSOCIATIONS CAME IN
PARTNERSHIP WITH THE BIA.
THAT'S WHERE THE SUCCESS WAS.
IT'S COMPLETE.
EVERYBODY FINDS IT TO BE AN
AMAZING EXAMPLE.
IT WAS AN OPPORTUNITY BEING
DRIVEN BY REPLACEMENT OF THE
STREETCAR TRACKS BUT COMPLETELY
REFURBISHED THE STREET, TURNED
MOREOVER TO SIDEWALKS, SO
NARROWED THE TRAVEL WAY FOR
CARS, IT'S A MUCH MORE CYCLE
FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT.
THAT'S ONLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE
BIA HAD THE IDEA OR THE NEED --
I DON'T KNOW THE DETAILS, BUT
MAYBE IT WAS AN ECONOMICALLY
DRIVEN CONSIDERATION.
THE COMMUNITY SHARED THAT NEED
AND TOGETHER THEY WERE ABLE TO
COME FORWARD WITH A SOLUTION.

Steve says AND THEY HAVE GREAT
STREET IF HE FEELS, SUMMER
TIME --

Cyndi continues
ABSOLUTELY.
THAT'S THE CENTREPIECE OF THE
COMMUNITY.
JOHN SAID IT WELL.
IT CAN HAPPEN AT A BIGGER SCALE
TOO.
I REALLY DO THINK -- I THINK OUR
WORLD VIEW WILL CHANGE ABOUT THE
ROLE BUSINESS CAN PLAY IN
DELIVERING WHAT WE'VE
CONVENTIONALLY OR HISTORICALLY
THOUGHT ABOUT PUBLIC BENEFIT,
THINGS LIKE -- I'M VERY INVOLVED
WITH A GROUP IN LIBERTY VILLAGE
THAT ARE DEVELOPING A PROPOSAL
CALLED THE (INAUDIBLE) WHICH IS
AN IDEA TO BRIDGE ACROSS FOUR
DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES WHICH
WOULD BE BENEFICIAL FOR ALL OF
THE BIAs IN THAT AREA SO THEY
WOULD HAVE THIS KIND OF COMMON
SET OF NEIGHBOURHOOD TRADE AREAS
THAT WOULD THEN BE ABLE TO
TRAVEL FREELY THROUGH THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
THAT'S THE KIND OF THING -- IT
CAN HAPPEN IF PEOPLE UNDERSTAND
THAT EVERYBODY CAN BRING
SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO THE
TABLE, AND THAT'S REALLY WHERE I
THINK WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO --

John says RAFAEL'S POINT,
YOU NEED A LOCAL CHAMPION.
YOU CAN'T WILL A BIA.
WE HAVE HAD MANY CASES WHERE
COUNCIL WANT TO HAVE A BIA.
YOU CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT LEADERS.
AND REALLY THE EXPANSION HAS
BEEN THAT A LOCAL BUSINESS
PERSON HAS GONE THROUGH SOME OF
THOSE FESTIVALS IN RONCIE.
WHY CAN'T WE DO THAT IN OUR
NEIGHBOURHOOD?
HE'LL GO BACK AND REALIZE THAT
BY GETTING TOGETHER, THERE IS A
LEGISLATION, PIECE OF
LEGISLATION, THAT ALLOWS YOU TO
COLLECTIVELY WORK TOGETHER TO
ESTABLISH THOSE GOALS.

Steve says YOU DO HAVE TO WORK
WITH THE CITY, THOUGH, TO SOME
EXTENT, RIGHT?

John says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve continues RIGHT OUTSIDE THE
DOORS OF THIS STUDIO IN THE
SUMMER TIME AT YONGE AND
EGLINTON IN THE MIDDLE OF
TORONTO, THEY SHUT DOWN ONE OF
THE MAJOR THOROUGHFARES IN THIS
TOWN FOR BLOCKS AND PLAY MUSIC
AND PEOPLE DANCE IN THE STREETS
AND IT'S A WONDERFUL THING.
BUT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE THE CITY
ON SIDE TO DO THAT.

John says ABSOLUTELY.

Rafael says THAT'S BEEN
ONE OF THE SUCCESSES OF
AMALGAMATION.
THERE HAVEN'T BEEN MANY.
THERE HAVEN'T.
AMALGAMATION, I THINK, HAS BEEN
AWFUL, FOR THE REASON WE TALKED
ABOUT, SCALE, ALIENATION PEOPLE
FEEL.
ONE AREA THAT WAS KEY WAS
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE
SUPPORT THEY'VE GIVEN
COMMUNITIES THAT WANT TO SET UP
BIAs, IT'S BEEN ENORMOUS.
WE HAVE A GREAT ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT TEAM I THINK IN THE
CITY AND YOU CAN LOOK AT THE
CHART IN THE BOOK, BUT THE
GROWTH OF BIAs HAS JUST HOCKEY
STICKED THE OLD AL GORE THING
ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING, BUT IT'S A
HOCKEY STICK LOOK.
WE ADDED TEN BIAs IN THE LAST
YEAR.
PEOPLE ARE LEARNING THE IDEA IS
DIFFUSING TO MORE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
YOUR POINT ABOUT NEIGHBOURHOODS
BEING LEFT OUT.
I THINK THOSE WERE INTRINSICALLY
HARDER TO ORGANIZE.
BUT AS THE PERCEIVED BENEFITS
KEEP GETTING HIGHER AND HIGHER,
MAYBE THOSE NEIGHBOURHOODS WILL
BE THE NEXT TO ORGANIZE.

Steve says ADRIANA, LET ME GIVE
YOU THE LAST 30 SECONDS HERE.
DO YOU THINK THAT OFFICIAL
TORONTO, AND BY THAT I GUESS I
MEAN CITY HALL, THE POLITICIANS,
THE BUREAUCRACY, DO THEY HAVE
SOMETHING TO LEARN FROM THE
EXAMPLE SET BY THE BIAs AND
THIS KIND OF NEIGHBOURHOOD
PARTNERSHIP?

Adriana says I THINK
THERE'S A LOT TO LEARN FROM
INNOVATION, FROM LOCAL SMALL
SCALE, PARTNERSHIPS, PUBLIC AND
PRIVATE FOLKS TOGETHER, AND I
THINK THAT THE CITY, WE SEE LOTS
OF PROMISING THINGS FROM LOOKING
AT ZONING, DEVELOPMENT,
INCUBATORS, THEY WANT TO BE A
WILLING PARTNER FOR THE VIBRANCY
OF OUR ECONOMIC WELL-BEING FOR
THE CITY.

A caption reads ‘Small Business, big impact. theagenda.tvo.org.’

Steve concludes TERRIFIC.
THANKS, EVERYBODY, FOR
PARTICIPATING.
RAFAEL GOMEZ, PROFESSOR THE
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AT THE
U OF T.
WE RECOMMEND HIS BOOK “SMALL
BUSINESS AND THE CITY.”
ADRIANA BEEMANS, THE DIRECTOR OF
THE METCALF FOUNDATIONS
INCLUSIVE LOCAL ECONOMIES
PROGRAM.
JOHN KIRU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF TABIA, THE TORONTO ASSOCIATION
OF BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREAS,
CYNDI ROTTENBERG-WALKER, PARTNER
WITH URBAN STRATEGIES.
GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON TVO
TONIGHT.

Cyndi says THANK YOU.

Watch: Small Business, Big Impact