Category Archives: link

(1218) Merging out of it?


Amalgamating urban/suburban jurisdictions to relieve suburban poverty was advocated recently in a think tank report.
‘Just a second,’ we say.
Based on direct observation of merging sprawl zones with older centres in Canada in the 1990s this is not necessarily a hot idea.
Clashing expectations and entitlements when it comes to program priorities and the taxes that support them are virtually guaranteed under amalgamation schemes.  I doubt greater Toronto’s Tory-led merger, enacted in 1998 and still viewed as illegitimate by many, can be said to have done much for poverty in say north Etobicoke or Scarborough.  Montreal had such awful experience of merging boroughs and core that they wound up eventually reversing it.
Would city mergers help alleviate suburban poverty
psmag.com
Suburban colonization – Wikipedia
image: Taylor Riche via Flickr/CC

(1214) Bagels & Bentleys: undercover with the temps


Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle meets Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed in today’s Toronto Star. The paper sent a writer to work at a large industrial bakery in Toronto recently.  Her findings should shock us.
Wages are low.  The pace is fast.  Safety is a hit-and-miss affair in a profitable establishment making bread products for corporate clients.  There has been loss of life at the plant where most of the workers are female newcomers.  Their employer has received grants, loans and praise from the government.  The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board gives them rebates.  Through their lawyer the owners say that safety is important.
Temps pick their wages up in cash at a payday lending office thirty-five minutes away by bus.  Their employer drives a Bentley and lives in a mansion.
On Twitter alone, mentions of this feature have grown steadily all day.  This feature deserves a wide audience and is exactly the kind of reportage the Star should be coming up with.
Undercover in temp nation

(1213) CNU report highlights transportation woes for suburban poor

Congress for the New Urbanism has produced a report on the spatial hardship of living in sprawl.  Lower income people often find themselves pushed outward to places where transportation drains their resources when it comes to community participation, shopping, access to employment or public services.  CNU should be commended for adding greater depth to their general critique of placemaking with this document.  Seattle/Tacoma is the focus of the report but it’s general assumptions are applicable beyond there.
Why we should take suburban poverty seriously
cnu.org
image: Joe A Kunzler via Flickr/CC

(1212) Houston’s socioeconomic disaster


Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005.  Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier.  If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Poor Texans are going to suffer the most in Harvey, thanks to state politics
(video 1:22)
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
commondreams.org
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
thenation.org
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
Hurricane Harvey wrecks up to a million cars in car dependent Houston
wired.com
More zoning wouldn’t have protected Houston from Harvey’s fury but less sprawl would have
nymag.com
Houston must plan an inclusive recovery after Harvey flooded its public housing
urban.org
Harvey tests the limits of how we feed people during disasters
citylab.com
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings

(1210) Survivors in poverty


We went looking around online for articles about natural disasters and poverty, specifically Hurricane Harvey, earlier this week.  A couple of strong feature articles appeared in due course.  Yet, we were unexpectedly distracted and found a rather poignant feeling was created by a piece on  survivors of a different kind of horror and disaster.
Survivors of the Holocaust have called Toronto home since immediately after World War II.  Now, in the final years of their lives, it emerges that many have lived in poverty.  Truncated family connections, disrupted life courses, multiple migrations, language difficulties and emotional problems seem to have exerted themselves to the detriment of Holocaust survivors.  The Toronto Star took a look at their situation this month in the item below.
Surviving again: how needy Holocaust survivors cope with poverty. A quarter of Canada’s Holocaust survivor population lives in poverty
thestar.com