A good scare comes less via Halloween this week than a document taken wing from an Ottawa U think tank about the harsh financial realities of suburbanization. Try this on for Halifax from the report: the Regional Municipality could “save $700 million to 2031 by increasing the number of new dwellings sited in the urban core” instead of going for peripheral growth. HRM has barely a half million people making that a very significant investment, one best not taken lightly.
Really, the gig is up for mass suburbanization wherever it happens to be found in Canada, and however good it was while it lasted. The public cost/revenue picture for sprawl as we have known it since the 1970s is now completely unsustainable and yet tens of millions of people are expected to be housed in Canada over the coming decades. A real world financial proposition of capital cost for roads, sewerage, water, policing, fire stations, roads, cultural affairs and social services and transit will soon have a direct impact on life in Canada. This report challenges the centre of the economic and political regime we have been living under for decades now.
Here is the report: Suburban Sprawl: Identifying Hidden Costs, Hidden Innovations
44-page .pdf file
This op-ed piece from the Globe checks the realities of the “drive until you qualify” proposition for those costing out suburbia: The true costs of suburban sprawl
Architecture and urban affairs dude Christopher Hume attached the report to suburban-poverty.com’s home turf of Peel Region recently. His conclusions were stark, to say the least. Hume described Brampton and its big dollar mayor as heading towards a cliff, the same one Mississauga drove over a couple of years ago.
Seventeen percent of the population of suburban-poverty.com’s resident city live in poverty. Mississauga’s poverty rates are driven by the nasty combination of high housing costs and lacklustre wages. Toronto sits at a poverty rate of twenty-three percent and Winnipeg is at eleven percent by way of comparison. Mississauga Food Bank just released a report on social conditions here and the reading of it is a sombre sitting indeed.
The face of hunger in Mississauga 2013 8-page .pdf file
(205) Our own backyard
(99) Mississauga is broke
(3) A place called Mississauga
image: aerial view of central Mississauga by Jok2000 via Wikimedia Commons
Boing Boing posted a link recently that led us to a New York Department of Transportation study that found that bicycles are good for business. Specifically, dedicated main street bikeways attract a steady stream of local spending in the form of shoppers. So that means bicycle infrastructure can be added not just to the fun-and-fitness file but to the economic development file. A two-wheeled tool for ameliorating poverty, keeping money in people’s pockets which they can spend locally, reducing environmental harm, …what kind of crack head mayor goes against that idea?
Bike lanes led to 49% increase in retail sales Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing
Do Cyclists Make Better Customers?
A Portland, OR blogger looks at cycling and local retail where the issue is atmosphere and social opportunity as much as spending, with links through to a number of documents from Portland Bureau of Transportation.
What are the financial benefits of cycling?
See the large variety of links to reports on the economic considerations of cycling from the site of a Canadian cycling advocacy group’s site.
A consortium of international media entities have begun to share findings this week regarding the mountains of money and other assets held by the super rich outside of the jurisdictions they are home to. Even in this fraught, unstable era of big numbers and plutocracy the details beginning to emerge are enough to give you the shivers. Firstly, the logistics of the leak is something else: many millions of pages. The leak has required high end software previously available only to spies and scientists to sort through names, numbers, locations and movements of money. The hoard in question is larger than Wikileaks’ so-called Iraq War Logs release of 2010.
The output is already beginning to raise serious questions about the integrity and morality of the privileged classes. Explanations will be needed. Large amounts of money are not stashed in Caribbean islands thousands of kilometers from Paris or Toronto or wherever for convenience. It might be one thing to mitigate your taxes, another thing to dodge them entirely.
Your local plastic surgeon may have an account in the British Virgin Islands but so do arms dealers and corrupt politicians. The onwership of super-yachts, gold, real-estate, antiquities and other property is facilitated by an elaborate money-handling infrastructure that is also made available, it seems, to heavy fraud, money laundering and other major criminal activity. High-profile names from the world’s financial industry work closely with this covert infrastructure.
Understand too, that revenue not collected from money parked overseas represents higher public debts, unfunded social programs and infrastructure projects in the societies where the depositors reside and/or do business. The tax havens are often Third World countries with low annual incomes and standards of living, they gain nothing either. The cross-connection between private wealth and public misery is on the table for all to see. How much is enough for those at the top of pyramid?
Inside the global offshore money maze: secrecy for sale
Apparently some 450 Canadians are mentioned in the leaks. From Azerbaijan to Thailand the havens shelter wealth from all over the world.
‘Hand over this list’: CRA wants to probe accounts linked to tax havens
Senator’s husband put $1.7M in offshore tax havens
CBC News exclusive
image: Kommunismus NO via Wikimedia Commons