Lessons from #GLIDEToronto On Regionalism: Who Are Our “Unusual Suspects?”

The Kix.com team is traveling on the Greater Louisville Idea Development Expedition (GLIDE) this week on its visit to a great North American city – Toronto, Canada.

More than 100 community leaders across numerous sectors from our region are learning first-hand what this marvelous city is doing well and how they might put the successes Toronto has realized into practice to make our region better.

John Tory Photo Louisville Toronto GLIDE Kentucky regionalism

This morning we’ve heard from some phenomenal community leaders, including John Tory.  Tory is the chair of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.  He spoke of our similarities, our differences and the challenges we share.  The common challenge he focused on was the idea of knitting together a true region.  While there is natural inclination to fall back to established boundaries and jurisdictions, Tory said we need to think like businesses do when they consider where to locate.  Businesses look at the total picture and how they can harness all of the resources of a region to succeed.

So how do you work as a region?  Tory said we have to bring people to the table.  So often cities and regions fail to come to the table and collaborate together because it diminishes the value of “turf,” but giving up turf for the greater good is essential.

Tory further emphasized that when you do bring people to the table, you have to establish tables that matter.  You have to put together a table of unusual suspects.  We can’t just have government at the table.  We can’t just have business at the table.  You have to have community non-profits, education, government, business, etc.

Tory indicated that while it can always do better, Toronto does a good job of bringing the unusual suspects together, people who are passionate about building a stronger more prosperous city-region.  Further, Toronto prides itself on the respect for diversity and the “Creative Class.”  While far from perfect, Toronto recognizes it as a cornerstone for success.

Finally, Tory also talked about building a region around ideas as opposed to structures.  Our idea or dream for our region is that we become the Idea Capital of the World.  We can learn a lot from Toronto.

Have an iphone or ipad, download a free GLIDEToronto App to learn more or check out www.loulex.ning.com