(1086) Paying for all the nice things


Two features from well-regarded Canadian magazines about how we might produce cash for things of public good:
Canada is ready for toll roads and carbon taxes.  A majority of voters now favour user fees, but cowardly politicians are getting in the way
thewalrus.ca
Ontario is proving that taxing the one per cent works. Despite decades of tax cut rhetoric, you really can ask the rich to pay more taxes. Ontario did, and high-priced talent didn’t flee the province
macleans.ca

image: Marc Falardeau via Flickr/CC

(1085) Prepared Housewives


Walk Score is an online software tool that assesses the basic characteristics of any address in Canada or the United States given to it.  Your neighbourhood is rated by an algorithm between 0 and 100 for ease of access to a list of general amenities, such common sense things as schools, cinemas, bus stops.  Its intentions are generally progressive and supportive of the idea that a walkable community is simply nicer to live in and easier on the environment and therefore more desirable.  Walk Score is often used by people looking for a new neighbourhood and it can be quite fairly said to be a barometer of the quality of life in a given place.  A strong Walk Score, would reflect the humane values of urbanist Jane Jacobs.  A low Walk Score might be reflected in a less salubrious environment.
So, it was a little disorienting to come across a Texas mom’s utilization of Walk Score today.  All those people nearby in your dense, cross-connected community?  Well, if things got tough they might just kill you and eat your brain, right?  If there was a pandemic, a civil war, an infrastructure and economic crash all at the same time you want to be ready, right?  You need maximum info on where to be when things get even dumber than they already are.
Jamie, who seems super nice and obviously really loves her kids, blogged about the way she applies Walk Score to her preparations for the coming apocalypse.  Walk Score provides her with intel on her kind of community.  The index tells Jamie where she doesn’t want to be.
This is almost a mirror opposite use of Walk Score for assessing resilience.  Flying deeper into the century, each to their own anxiety, we suppose…
Walk score.  One test preppers want their home to FAIL! 
prepared-housewives.com
See also:
(771) A privileged doom: suburban preppers
(39) Suburban survivalists
image: Jeremy Brooks via Flickr/CC

(1084) Lotto madness


Barely anyone at large in the industrial, consumer, automotive, real estate complex we call home has escaped the call of the lottery ticket.  Deep down, even the most sensible and realistic of us harbours a fantasy of something for nothing here.  We think of all the good things we could do for those we care about or all the crazy shit we could do for ourselves.  Either way, we frequently line up at that most suburban of settings, the gas station, and lay down several hours pay in our minimum wage job for a piece of paper that could change everything. Time to think a little more about the psycho-social effects of the lotteries, yeah?
EIther way, good luck and don’t forget to give us some.
Robin Hoodwinked:how billion dollar powerballs reflect 21st century inequality. State lotteries take from the poor to give to the rich, but we have options and there is a game-changing alternative
US basic income activist Scott Santens on medium.com

image: Mark Turnauckus via Flickr/CC

(1083) 86 million acres


Enormous pressure will soon be placed on the world’s croplands as they are exchanged for human habitat.  Mind boggling stuff, even without consideration of climate change!
By 2030 megacities may devour more than 86 million acres of prime farmland
modernfarmer.com
An elegant monochrome map of the  world’s settlements.
German scientists made this excruciatingly detailed simulacrum of the “global urban footprint”
citylab.com

image: Duncan Rawlinson via Flickr/CC

(1082) Cost mapping suburbia


The more we look at this Strong Towns feature the more of a knockout it becomes.  The author was part of a municipal financial data project in a US city recently.  Part of the project’s output was a map of local costs and revenues.  Check out the cost of those post-war ‘burbs for this fairly typical North American city, you’ll be amazed.

The real reason your city has no money
strongtowns.org

(1079) Then they came for the suburbs


Then they came for the suburbs.  And I did nothing because I didn’t have a car, or a job, medical coverage, or mortgage insurance.

Hopefully the Trump presidency will be shortened by litigation, impeachment, or the man’s general unfitness.
Meantime, looks like Prince Cheeto isn’t wasting time putting the boots to people.

On his first day in office, Trump raises taxes on middle-class homebuyers
theintercept.com

image: davitydave via Flickr/CC

(1078) Orthodontonomics


Teeth have appeared a couple of times at suburban-poverty.com of late.  Not just our editor’s either!  Today we have a piece from the CBC about the availability of free services from orthodontists available to children in socio-economic difficulty.  Now, it isn’t just about Little Timmy having to get that modelling quality smile via ten grand worth of ortho or he’ll end up a syphilitic serial killer.  No, orthodontics is genuinely health related, making this an interesting piece.
Orthodontists eager to work for free, now they just need teeth to fix. Smile4Canada has hundreds of volunteer orthodontists but only 16 applicants

image: Tunacan Jones via Flickr/CC