Category Archives: link

(1146) This might be kinda cool!

Strong Towns is such a wonderful blog, always interesting.  Like this piece about the possibilities for artists and makers in places where:
”…the next Mecca of the creative class is most likely to emerge. This is the kind of rapidly declining suburban landscape that is in evidence all across North America. It isn’t leafy and tranquil like the better suburbs. The schools are crap. But it isn’t vibrant like the best urban locations either. This spot is too far from the city to easily access good jobs, but it’s just close enough to receive the undesirable overflows from the greater metroplex. Tax revenues are evaporating just as legacy public obligations really start to roll in. Property values are dropping like a stone. The authorities are already quietly withdrawing in an attempt to maintain the better parts of town. Perfect!”
The future of unlikely places
On the other hand, this is also Kensington:

For these Philly librarians, drug tourists and overdose drills are part of the job
philly.com

image: Marc-Anthony Macon via Flickr/CC

(1144) Tragedy & comedy in the financial trenches


Breaks for earners over $100K per year.
Breakdowns for workers.
Tragedy:
Financial challenges mount for millions of Canadians because of income volatility, study finds
business.financialpost.com
Comedy:
CBC Investigates: number of highest-earning Canadians paying no income tax is growing. CBC analysis reveals about 6,000 earning more than $100,000 got legal break in 2014
cbc.ca/news
image: Images Money via Flickr/CC

(1143) Citizen psychology


If the poor are less likely to vote then they won’t do much to advocate for themselves in the form of activism, letter writing or calling elected representatives either, will they?
In Ontario there is an opportunity to lift up the status of the working poor.  This is a moment when a push from the electorate could make a difference.
Advocates: Ontario plan to overhaul labour laws, boost minimum wage step in the right direction. Labour advocates applaud sweeping labour reforms and Ontario’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but say it needs to happen soon
metronews.ca
Ontario to consider boosting minimum wage to $15, increasing paid sick days.
cbc.ca/news
UK-based academic research confirms what many have suspected for years; that low-income people have little faith in the system.
How poverty makes people less likely to vote. It is not surprising that so many of the poorest people choose not to vote. Theirs is not an act of apathy – for they are often intensely political – but of disgust
theguardian.com
image: duncan c via Flickr/CC

(1142) Reimagining the dead malls

Figuring out what to do with overbuilt retail could become part of creating a better suburban economy, no?  One suited to present reality better than dreams of endless, mindless growth?
We recently went along on an organized walk to see a mall here in Mississauga, Ontario that has replaced much of its retail space with services.  One of its former anchor stores has been insurance company office space for years now.  Many U.S. malls are in places where the surrounding economy is not as strong as it is here.  That’s a problem.   But if the dead malls are up and built on land already hooked up to municipal services then they are candidates for some creative thinking.  We’d rather see a dead mall redeveloped than farmland destroyed.
Here’s what could happen to America’s hundreds of dead malls
businessinsider.com

Where a shopping mall used to be an opportunity arises
The decline of malls in America can mean lost jobs and lower tax revenues for states and municipalities — but not always
governing.com

image: Travis Estell via Flickr/CC

(1138) USA shopocalypse


Macy’s, Sears, Payless Shoes.  America’s favourite merchandise outlets melt into air.  Retail here in the greater Toronto Area has been overbuilt for a while now but nobody is calling it an apocalypse quite yet.  Unlike in the United States, where ‘retail apocalypse’ is a Wikipedia entry and daily reality.  While retail jobs were nothing special they were readily available, especially to women and youth.  Many an immigrant to North America held things together with mall employment, too.
Wikipedia: Retail Apocalypse
The retail apocalypse is suburban.  Cities will weather this concentrated downturn becasue they went through it 50 years ago. Their neighbours may not be so lucky
slate.com
What caused the retail apocalypse?
theweek.com
See also: (352) Mall living
image: Sarah Martin via Flickr/CC

(1137) Food service discouragement

You’d think to manage any kind of business you’d have to have some understanding of wage economics, no?
Our most elderly employee read this article with disgust yesterday.  ”In the early eighties,” he hissed.  ”Restarauteurs were carping and bitching exactly the same way about how ‘nobody wants to work, we can’t find anyone, our dishwasher quit.’  Nothing ever changes.”
When the conditions are so bad, it’s no wonder restaurant workers are skipping out on their job interviews.
OPINION: The hospitality industry is facing a new crisis: job candidate and employee no-shows. And before you ask: no, it isn’t just millennials
tvo.org
image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr/CC