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McLuhan and the Spadina Expressway

Michael Hardner

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Interesting excerpt on McLuhans involvement resisting the Spadina Expressway in Toronto.  He foresaw that the plan would lay waste to the best parts of the centre of the city.  In the end, the liveable Toronto of neighbourhoods was able to leverage and even arguably make financial hay from being a liveable place, although still only a poor cousin to Montreal's fabulousness :)  It's ok, I live here.

I like how McLuhan makes reference to software (pretty early use of that term) to refer to people metaphorically and hard to refer to expressways.


With some effort I found the film referenced in the article also:


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Inching my way through this documentary, it's interesting to hear someone say "people sense there's something wrong with the expressway idea, but they can't put their finger on it".  That sounds absurd 40+ years later, but you can relate to the mystery by thinking about the first time an iPhone sat in your hand and you looked at it.

You had no sense of the change that was coming to your life, and to the world at that time.  You still don't, fully, but you know a lot more than you did.

Globalism is, in a way, the Spadina Expressway of the current century.  The 'experts' may be right at the advantages but only individuals can weigh the trade-offs.  And the latest capitalist boon has decimated the 'neighbourhood' of middle America, and helped the fast-driving thinkers of the coasts.

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