Tag Archives: United States

(1172) Ferris Bueller face first into the economic meat grinder of American reality


Lake County, Illinois is apparently not what it used to be.  In the 1980s it had been well off for so long it was the natural setting for a flamboyant but really kind of annoying movie about the problems of an affluent white youth.  Half of the movie is an excuse to look at a red 1965 Ferrari 250 California GT and there’s also some whacky moments as young Ferris gyrates selfishly between parents, friends and his love object.  Why it ever became a cult classic, though, is beyond us.  Now, this not being a film blog anyway Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is only here as an entry point to a new Lake County that represents a changed American sprawl.  If it were made today this movie would have a more realistic title like Ferris Bueller’s Permanent Layoff.  The car would be a rotted out Geo Metro, too.
Ferris Bueller’s daily grind: how poverty in Chicago went suburban. On the surface, Lake County, Illinois – the setting for John Hughes’ 1980s films of affluent suburban angst – is all detached houses, swimming pools and malls. Hidden from view, though, is the growing need
theguardian.com
image: Carmen B via Wikimedia Commons

(1165) AI sees wealth & poverty from space


An artificial Intelligence application that processes US Census data and digital satellite photos is in existence.  Penny can crunch the physical and numerical life of your community and describe its status.  Yes, it is amazing.  Yes, it is a tad creepy.  Powerful stuff but what to do with this to better communities is the question to ask.
Try it out on St. Louis, MI
An AI that preidcts neighbourhood’s wealth from space
wired.com

(1156) Suburban blues…


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.”
-Michelle Chen

The Nation asks…

Why are America’s suburbs becoming poorer?  Contrary to popular perception, it’s not just because the poor are moving out of the cities

thenation.com
image: Bonnie Natko via Flickr/CC

(1147) Kushner Estates


Baltimore, MD. Out near I-695,  just a stone’s throw from Golden Ring Plaza, a bad landlord plies his trade.  Excellent work, Jared.
The beleaguered tenants of ‘Kushnerville’. Tenants in more than a dozen Baltimore-area rental complexes complain about a property owner who they say leaves their homes in disrepair, humiliates late-paying renters and often sues them when they try to move out. Few of them know that their landlord is the president’s son-in-law
propublica.org
image: DonkeyHotey 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