Though the reasons for the suburban crisis aren’t necessarily different from the problems facing cities—a lack of good jobs and weakening social programs—an historical cultural and political neglect of the suburban poor means that new frontiers of inequality are exploding invisibly where we least expect them. Urban poverty, measured by Census tract, has grown from about 18 to 20 percent between 1990 and 2014, but risen more drastically in the suburbs, from about 8 percent to over 12 percent of tracts. And in the last decade, a “tipping point” has been reached in which “the number of poor people living in suburban areas has increased more quickly.”
Here are two thoughtful pieces regarding the atrocious fire in a tower block in London on the 15th. We can’t help but feel that London’s economic regime, aided and abetted by public policy, produced this fire. People in authority need to go to jail.
UK public money is available for wars in the Middle East, for surveillance programs run by intelligence agencies, and extensive agricultural subsidies. The local government body responsible for the building recently handed out a property tax rebate and is one of the wealthiest in Britain with large amounts of money on hand. Real property in London represents a vast and profitable churn of billions of pounds yearly and social housing has been a component of that for many years. Why so little for the Grenfell’s residents?
Already there are several clear lines of responsibility leading to both government and business which indicate the fire would have been prevented had some fairly moderate things been tended to. Unfortunately, the neoliberal economic regime in the UK is a beast now quite skilled at defending itself from acquiring responsibility for disasters of every kind from questionable privatization drives to botched wars. We’ll see over the next few years if eighty or more lives are enough to change things.
Grenfell is a shameful symbol of a state that didn’t care
(755) Towers for the better
(485) Highrise hell [report]
(321) Rising high
(83) 1 Millionth Tower
image: ChiralJon via Flickr/CC
New Westminster renovictions leave low-income renters feeling desperate. Company says building hasn’t seen significant work since 1970 and renovations are necessary
image: Google Streetview
Toronto writer Jay Pitter looks at ten people and their housing experiences to find that we don’t have a suburban, rural, urban or northern problem but a national one.
If we have any interest in ending poverty here then a recent increase to the minimum wage is a good thing.
For low income workers, Ontario’s minimum wage hike is life changing
image: sussexcareers via Flickr/CC
Just like greater Toronto! Social difficulty alongside the exciting real estate action in the Commonwealth’s other big, rich country.
If we continue to look on economics as a form of weather that just rolls over us naturally then the answer to this question is a tragic yes.
Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history?
Image: Mike Martinet via Flickr/CC