Tag Archives: United States

(73) Governing suburban poverty

American state and municipal governments have seen their finances pounded since 2007.  That’s a bad development for everyone because those are the levels of government the most number of people are the closest to.  When we read items like the one below from Governing we get a detailed sense of how tough things can be.  Again, the communication difficulties and costs associated with doing business in the suburbs make the delivery of health and social services all the more problematic.  There’s also a cultural dimension that goes underappreciated.  It seems that people with middle class assumptions often adjust poorly to hard times and lack even basic knowledge of where to go to get help when they hit the skids.
Poverty comes to the suburbs: poverty is encroaching on suburban enclaves — even the most affluent of them. Many are ill-equipped to meet the new social-service needs.

(68) Escape from suburbia [DVD]

Escape From Suburbia: Beyond The American Dream dates from 2007 but we reference it here as quite a nice piece of background material.  The topic is peak oil and suburbia.  Escape is the follow up to The End of Suburbia and focuses on possible solutions.  Nothing much has really changed since either movie came out except that all our money was emailed up to some giant orbiting death star and we burned another 400 million barrels of oil.  Neither commodity is coming back any time soon.
The people seen in Escape are undertaking a handful of possible responses to the withdrawal of cheap energy from suburbia.  Some are optimistic, some are pessimistic, some are getting the hell out while they figure they still can.  Some are staying put, some are intellectualizing, others are angry.  The critique of the energy and consumer future begun in End of Suburbia turns toward suburban poverty with the compelling destruction of a large community garden in south central Los Angeles.  Implicit the whole time is that suburban poverty will be coming to a cul-de-sac near you sooner rather than later and that it won’t be pretty.
In 2007 suburban poverty was still somewhat behind the curtain …it ain’t now.
What will it all look like in 2017?

Canadians will enjoy scenes filmed in and around the Greater Toronto Area and words from David Suzuki and Kathryn Holloway.
James Howard Kunstler, a suburban-poverty.com favourite for years now, warns us not to ask him (or anyone for that matter) for solutions and hope but to find them within ourselves.  JHK would make a better social worker than he thinks he would.

(66) Las Vegas

Worrisome reading about Las Vegas, Nevada and poverty.  Probably the ultimate in suburban statements in its day, one has to wonder what kind of future this desert city has.  A near total dependency on motor vehicles, air conditioning and water from far away makes for some hair-raising possible futures.  Does it seem like the economy there is recovering in any way?  Will real estate values go up again?  Is it a matter of just waiting around for the next real estate boom?

Behind Las Vegas glitz and glamour: a dark city marred by poverty Guardian UK

(60) Au contraire…

Copyright free image from Wikimedia

I was driving through Philly the other day and …blah, blah, blah, …poor people.

We thought it good form to find some content from the interwebs that contradicted our own take on the issue at hand lest we be judged smug, dismissive.  A semi-anonymous blog post from this summer fits the bill nicely and is linked to below.  It employs the relativity argument.  Not derived from Einstein’s view of the universe this is a technique beloved of those politically to the right.  A cross-comparison to global poverty is usually involved.  It is designed to shut down arguments about social policy in a developed country and is, in our experience, driven by fear, loathing and the lack of experience of life though it is usually presented as highly rational and objective.  Such positions on social matters remind us that the battle against poverty need be waged as much in middle and upper class brains as in government offices, clothing banks, soup kitchens and shelters.
Suburban poverty? The Burning Platform