(1290) On the poverty trail

A winter view of the Wentworth Stairs, Hamilton escarpment.
In a balanced community, the trails and parks are major assets.  Greenery and recreation outside are important to so many things, from the development of children to cleaning the air we breathe.  Scenery and recreation are fairly described as necessities.
Something is off when such assets are pressed into use as places to live.  Anyone travelling to Los Angeles lately will have been struck with the scale of urban outdoor living there.  It seems like much of the city has been commandeered by raggedy tents and tarps stretched between poles and sticks to define some privacy for people experiencing socio-economic difficulty.
Such encroachment is problematic in a host of ways.  Safety and hygiene are a challenge for the homeless, to say the least.  Outdoor living in parks and along trails also reduces the pleasure and benefit of such places on the part of others.  It can eliminate that pleasure and benefit completely in some cases.  So, in the best uncomfortable-to-read tradition of this blog we therefore link you to a newspaper item about Hamilton, Ontario.
Hopefully, this issue will receive some sensible amelioration.  Just as the smoke from burning fires in the north seeps across the horizon a sense of psychological uneasiness with the social prospects for Ontario swirls outward as the primal, humid days of Premier Ford’s era unfold.
Hamilton’s ‘out-of-control’ rental market is pushing more homeless to camp out in parks and on streets, advocates say
The Star/Hamilton Spectator on msn.com
image: Colin Payson via Flickr/CC

(1289) Canada’s social spending is wildly out of control, except that it isn’t


Okay, it’s a world of news, bad news, really bad news, and fake news but the finding that Canada is at the bottom of the list of developed countries for progressive spending should cut through the noise and be nothing less than devastating.  Right?  Like, what are we all living our lives here for?
Canada’s investments in social programs now rank near the bottom of the industrialized world. New study finds Canada’s public social expenditures rank in the bottom 10 of all OECD countries
pressprogress.ca

(1286) Repurposing an entire landscape


Golf courses, we’re looking at you.  Free mall?  Can we have two?   This is where the housing will go, where the missing middle will be found.
Positively 23rd Street (podcast)
npr.org
Dead golf courses are the new NIMBY battlefield. As the sport’s popularity wanes, vast amounts of under utilized land will be opened up. Can it be developed?
citylab.com
Landlords are practically giving malls away
bloomberg.com

(1285) Feckless Doug


Whatever your reaction to Doug Ford’s personality and speaking style he is probably best understood to be an advocate of neoliberalism.  Perhaps he’s for a tad more vigorous regime of that than Kathleen Wynn has been during her tenure.  Either way, a political change is imminent in Canada’s largest province and like voters all over the west for decades now we are confronted with a picked over buffet of options and must choose the least ptomaine-inducing one.
Remember to vote, friends and folks.  Above all, remember your interests.
Battle lines drawn over wages, jobs.  Low-wage work force has seen ranks grow rapidly, but parties differ over how to deal with it
thestar.com
image: Scazon via Flickr/CC

(1283) Women, prison & Canadian poverty


With perhaps a few fairly obvious exceptions there can hardly be many convincing arguments for putting women in prison in general and solitary confinement in particular.  Just think of the awful effects a sentence can have on the family life of women.  Statistics continue to tie gender, race, poverty and prison together in ways nobody should feel happy about.
Reduce the poverty-to-prison pipeline for women
huffingtonpost.ca
image: Michael Coghlan via Flickr/CC

(1281) Edge City


As part of the great collective cultural effort to sum it all up in the prelude to the Millennium we at this blog certainly remember Joel Garreau’s book Edge City: Life On the New Frontier with an affectionate sense of its importance.  It certainly remains recommended reading for anyone trying to understand North American community building.  It’s a layered pleasure then to come across a long feature on Citylab that checks in with Garreau on where cities, edge and otherwise, are a quarter century on from his popular opus.
Return to Edge City. It was one of the most talked-about urbanist books, and ideas, a generation ago. What ever happened to Joel Garreau’s concept of the “edge city”?
citylab.com
image: J. Sibiga Photography via Flickr/CC