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Practicing what I preach

In yesterday’s post I wrote about happiness vs. satisfaction (among a bunch of other things). And I mentioned that I derive deep satisfaction from the work that I do, which is real estate development. On the back of this post, I received a question from a reader this morning that more or less asked me if I think about the impact of my work on other people’s happiness / satisfaction. Part of the point that was being made was that while it may be a positive endeavor for me, I may be completely destroying the satisfaction, happiness, and lives of others. Do I give this any thought? Lastly, a point was made that very few developers seem to live in their own housing projects, which should tell you something.

I thought these were all very good points/questions and so I’d like to respond to them publicly:

  • I do think carefully about the happiness and satisfaction of others. In fact, part of the reason this work is satisfying is that, in my opinion, it is both challenging and important work. Growing cities require new housing and the reality is that almost all of this housing comes from private developers.
  • This may sound cheesy, but I also care deeply about beauty. This is something that is of course in the eye of the beholder. But I do want things to be beautiful. I want our cities to be more beautiful. And I don’t think we talk about this enough. I mean, just look at the garbage bins we have in Toronto.
  • Some people may not like or appreciate the form that development usually takes in cities such as Toronto, but the housing needs to go somewhere. As a result of restricting development in most areas of the city, we are now forced to highly concentrate development in relatively few areas. Many are reacting to this.
  • There will almost certainly be tensions between incumbents and new entrants when it comes to city building. That’s part of what makes this work so challenging and rewarding. Everyone involved in the building of our cities has to constantly problem solve and manage competing interests. It’s not easy.
  • I am in fact moving into one of our projects (Junction House). I am doing this because (1) I think our team is creating an awesome and beautiful project and (2) I believe that living in multi-family buildings in walkable neighborhoods is a more sustainable (and enjoyable) way to live. I want to practice what I preach.

1 Comment so far

  1. doug pollard

    As an architect, I worked with/for a number of developers and all of them were quite conscious of the impact of their projects on others and all of them were concerned about producing something they could be proud of (we all. however, have different viewpoints on what is beautiful though). There was of course the predictable initial distrust of what the developer proposed (perhaps that is why you got the question) in virtually every neighborhood and for every project and many misunderstandings of what the impact would be hence the long drawn out public forums. I also knew a couple of developers who moved into their projects.

    Liked by 1 person

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