978-0-7748-0238-3 / 9780774802383

The Myth of the North American City: Continentalism Challenged


Publisher:Univ of British Columbia Pr



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About the book:

The continuing tendency to "continentalize" Canadian issues has been particularly marked in the area of urban studies where United States-based research findings, methodologies, and attitudes have held sway. In this book, Goldberg and Mercer demonstrate that the label "North American City" as widely used is inappropriate and misleading in discussion of the distinctive Canadian urban environment. Examining such elements of the cultural context as mass values, social and demographic structures, the economy, and political institutions, they reveal salient differences between Canada and the United States. One of the most important of the many contextual differences is the strong collective sense in Canada which accepts more public intervention in social and economic matters in contrast to the American commitment to individualism. Canadians, consequently, expect a livable central city which is compact and well-served by public transit and which has a fiscally sound local government. To demonstrate these issues, the discussion includes a detailed cross-national empirical analysis of over 300 North American metropolitan areas along some three dozen dimensions, including density, transportation, household change and structure, income and fiscal disparities, and economic structure. Since much urban planning in Canada is based upon the continentalist assumption, this volume should generate a reassessment of policy and encourage the development of a research base to suit the distinctiveness of the Canadian experience. With growing pressures to take a North American view of Canadian policies it is vitally important that the differences delineated in this book are understood, not just for their urban policy implications but for broader purposes as well.

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