SPENT is an online game in which the player does not blast away at a marauding zombie army, land on the Normandy beaches, fly a thirty million dollar attack drone or steal cars. No, this game, which has been something of a cult hit, expects you to die trying at something infinitely more nasty and lethal: life on a wage of $9 an hour.
Lock and load and good luck with that one!
SPENT the game
SPENT, the Online Game About Surviving Poverty and Homelessness, Reaches Its Millionth Play and Invites Congress to Accept the Challenge article
Johnson County, in northeastern Kansas, is among the jurisdictions starting to encounter suburban poverty. Enough of it to see to the production of this 38 page presentation on the matter this spring.
Poverty: at home in the suburbs
United Community Services of Johnson County
When we started suburban-poverty.com we had no idea what we’d come across. Texas has surprised us a little. Perhaps because right wing presidential hopeful Perry hails from Texas the state is enjoying some extra profile in North American discourse. It seems the economy is doing well in right wing terms: lots of new crap jobs, low taxes and so forth. The state is also physically more or less on fire from one end to the other, has been a brutal series of global warming oranges and reds on the continental weather maps for some time now. Here’s some more Texas consciousness for you:
Poverty in the suburbs looks different than urban models
2010 Census data has come under analysis and it shows that the general US economy is not in the best of shape. Curiously, the percentage rate of African American poverty is a just a tad lower than that for white Americans. It’s hard to say off-the-cuff what this means but we see it’s enough to get this emerging downturn labelled in the mainstream media as ‘different this time’ and as a suburban recession/depression.
Welcome to the suburban depression CNBC
One doesn’t have to look far or be a professional demographer/geographer to find evidence of suburban poverty. Des Moines, Iowa put its hand up during roll call in 2007.
Rethinking Social Services in the Des Moines Suburbs
NPR page with audio file
Downtown East Side normally leaps to mind when considering poverty in Vancouver, Canada’s Pacific Rim big city. If you’ve ever seen that neighbourhood for yourself anytime in the last few decades then the reference is all too understandable. Unfortunately, Vancouver is now seeing some of the movement of poverty that Toronto is. In January, 2011 the Globe and Mail published a map detailing this change using Statistics Canada census data for 1971 and 2006.
Pockets of poverty are arising in the suburbs of Vancouver while prosperity is popping up in the DES
The United Way takes a look at ‘vertical poverty’ in ageing inner suburbs. ‘Moving up in the world’ doesn’t really mean what it used to.
Vertical Poverty Press Conference
YouTube 16:47 (highly recommended)
Created in 1974, Mississauga is a vast Edge City in the western part of one of North America’s largest city-suburb agglomerations. For decades there it was all about growth, growth, growth. Now, the buzz has begun to wear off a bit, especially in areas with older high rise buildings. This article from the Globe and Mail, a relatively conservative newspaper for its century-or-so of existence, encapsulates the dawning of an awareness of post-growth issues, including poverty. Targeting priority neighbourhoods for social spending, as is done in Toronto, has begun to get support. The tagline of the City of Mississauga is ‘Leading Today for Tomorrow.’ We’ll see what that means soon enough!
Poverty hides in the suburbs: will ‘priority neighbourhoods’ help?
Word is that Australia has some of the most suburban-ey suburbs in the universe. Real full-on, over-the-top, highway-to-hell ones. If you think about it, why should North Americans have all the bloody fun, mate?
Herald Sun (Melbourne):
Our outer suburbs are poverty traps