The New Urban Crisis. How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class – and What We Can Do About It
2017: Basic Books, NY
Urban crisis is also suburban crisis. What is bad for one is bad for the other, if in different ways. For Florida’s take on all this we refer you to chapter eight of his most recent book. This chapter functions as a data-supported handbook to the sprawl zones. In an era of what he calls winner-take-all urbanism staged by and for the so-called creative class, well, the further out you go it seems the deeper the doo-doo. Please read.
What to make, indeed, of recurring tales of woe-induced pluck and why the media is often so keen on them. We salute those who endure, who doesn’t? But we also have to demand greater depth in the general social discussion of hard times. Look at these images of a teenage fast food worker in a neck brace and sling.
If you thought the media handling of this province’s increase to its minimum wage last month was biased to the corporate perspective, and not that of the workers receiving it, well, you were right. Here’s some numbers to prove it.
If one thing could be said to symbolize the transition from the twentieth century to the present one it might be the tragic death of glamour in air travel. Added now to the boring sorrows of security screening, economy seating, airline performance and global carbon footprints must surely be this phenomenon: homeless people living in airports.
The general look and feel of Los Angeles, California is readily understood by anyone who has spent any time near North America’s sprawl lands. The sheer size of Los Angeles, and the inequality and environmental racism it contains — however familiar it’s basic form — is enough to give pause to anyone, though.
Certainly there’s visual evidence nearly everywhere of what is said to be a homeless population now numbering fifty thousand. Beat up recreational vehicles are homes to many Angelenos. You come across them constantly. People camp everywhere from the lawns at city hall to highway medians.
By the late 1970s it seems that a sense of dread had become so attached to this brutally car-dependent collection of over eighty municipal entities that a truly massive investment in rail-based public transit was kicked off. While plagued with construction challenges, including major cost overruns, this program has been bearing fruit for a while now. There are also voices fighting for cycling and walking and the bus network. The latter is especially important to the working people of Los Angeles.
Please take a look at this Los Angelist video about the Metro Red Line. Much of the rationale found in it is applicable to Canadian cities, to sprawl lands found anywhere. The sheer enormity of Los Angeles helps bring these issues into focus perhaps in a way much more raw than they might be encountered where you live but there is much to be learned.
The work of folding slacks, swiping credit cards and stocking shelves was enough to keep Sears going in Canada as a profitable, dividend-paying and executive bonus-giving retailer for decades. Then management decided to pack it all in. Emperor Justinian, representing us at Davos, seems to think it’s all pretty much okay, including the company leaving behind a whopper of a deficit in its pension plan.