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How to improve Canada’s #1 Mid-sized City

As the No. 1 mid-size city in Canada, it is reassuring to know that award-winning Burlington is not one to rest on its laurels.

TeamBurlington is made up of key stakeholders that influence and shape the city including: Aldershot Village BIA, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Burlington Downtown, Tourism Burlington, Burlington Hydro, the City of Burlington and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

Once a year these partners come together to host a business summit to strategize on key issues and concerns, and to explore how to build on Burlington’s success today and tomorrow.

A key purpose of the summit is to gather the views of the business community on city priorities.

At this year’s summit we had the opportunity to hear from a world leader — the Fraunhofer Institute — on future possibilities that will mold our cities.

McMaster University’s Degroote School of Business has formalized an agreement to work together with the Fraunhofer Institute to bring applied research to small- and mid-sized businesses to create innovative products and services.

While there is too much to share in one article, a couple of themes rose to the top.

  • Flexible vs. fixed. The infrastructure of yesteryear was fixed, permanent and, on average, built to last 50-80 years. The infrastructure of tomorrow will need to be more flexible and adaptive to deal with rapidly-changing needs and to turn new discoveries into sustainable solutions.

  • Little changes can mean a lot. Burlington’s General Manager of Infrastructure and Planning Scott Stewart had each of us weigh in on key areas of concern to inform the upcoming Official Plan. It was good to see a significant amount of alignment as to what matters most.

Scott shared an interesting statistic with us. If every resident in Burlington could reduce the power used by clocks and electronic devices it would have a significant impact on the overall power use — not to mention a cost savings of roughly $300 per household. Renewable energy is a key concern and priority.

While Burlington is faced with some significant future challenges such as an aging population, transportation and sparse employment lands, collaborative partnerships are being formed to get access to knowledge, insight and information to build a viable, sustainable tomorrow. With that kind of thinking, today’s No. 1 mid-sized city in Canada could become tomorrow’s No.1 mid-sized city in the world.

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