Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show 2013
“We are in the midst of a new third revolution,” Richard Florida proclaimed at the
in Windsor, Ontario last week, having moved “away from the old auto dependent, energy inefficient sprawling pattern of development onto something new.”
In the well known urban theorist’s schema, this transformation has been engendered by a mass move to the city and the introduction of new technology, but the most “elemental” shift, he argued, has involved the replacement of physical labour with production by the “creative class,” i.e. knowledge workers, science and technology workers, entrepreneurs, artists and the media who will power economic growth to draw us out of recession. In his hour long presentation, Florida advised over 450 government leaders, private sector and non-profit sustainability professionals on need for local governments to create the conditions for the flowering of the “Three Ts”: technology, talent and tolerance, attributes that are essential to the development of sustainable communities, and qualities he feels Canada is blessed with, ranking “eleventh in technology, seventh in talent, and number one in tolerance.”
Florida spoke to the Windsor audience from Florida, connecting via Cisco TelePresence link in a fitting salute to a third of three conference themes—technology and innovation. The first theme, “the culture of leadership” was demonstrated throughout the three day event in countless workshops on topics ranging from the tools of climate change inventory and planning, to the “next frontier” in waste management, to EV infrastructure and innovation on Toronto’s waterfront, meetings in which municipal leaders and activists shared best practice on sustainable development. Leadership in Windsor was also featured at the event, in study tours of local initiatives that have helped the region recover from job losses in the automotive sector, including the Detroit River riverfront restoration project
; the Dr. David Suzuki Public School
, a demo site for energy and environmental technologies; CS Wind Corporation Canada’s
local production facilities, the Unconquered Sun Solar Technologies company
; Kingsville's Remasco Inc.
greenhouse and biomass plant, which is fueled with pellets derived from municipal solid waste; and the Ojibway Nature Centre
, which has worked with species at risk on the Herb Gray Parkway.