Tag Archives: economic aspects

(1218) Merging out of it?


Amalgamating urban/suburban jurisdictions to relieve suburban poverty was advocated recently in a think tank report.
‘Just a second,’ we say.
Based on direct observation of merging sprawl zones with older centres in Canada in the 1990s this is not necessarily a hot idea.
Clashing expectations and entitlements when it comes to program priorities and the taxes that support them are virtually guaranteed under amalgamation schemes.  I doubt greater Toronto’s Tory-led merger, enacted in 1998 and still viewed as illegitimate by many, can be said to have done much for poverty in say north Etobicoke or Scarborough.  Montreal had such awful experience of merging boroughs and core that they wound up eventually reversing it.
Would city mergers help alleviate suburban poverty
psmag.com
Suburban colonization – Wikipedia
image: Taylor Riche via Flickr/CC

(1212) Houston’s socioeconomic disaster


Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005.  Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier.  If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Poor Texans are going to suffer the most in Harvey, thanks to state politics
(video 1:22)
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
commondreams.org
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
thenation.org
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
Hurricane Harvey wrecks up to a million cars in car dependent Houston
wired.com
More zoning wouldn’t have protected Houston from Harvey’s fury but less sprawl would have
nymag.com
Houston must plan an inclusive recovery after Harvey flooded its public housing
urban.org
Harvey tests the limits of how we feed people during disasters
citylab.com
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings

(1155) Grenfell


Here are two thoughtful pieces regarding the atrocious fire in a tower block in London on the 15th.  We can’t help but feel that London’s economic regime, aided and abetted by public policy, produced this fire.  People in authority need to go to jail.
Already there are several clear lines of responsibility leading to both government and business which indicate the fire would have been prevented had some fairly moderate things been tended to.   Unfortunately, the neoliberal economic regime in the UK is a beast now quite skilled at defending itself from acquiring responsibility for disasters of every kind from questionable privatization drives to botched wars.
UK public money is available for wars in the Middle East, for surveillance programs run by intelligence agencies, and extensive agricultural subsidies.  The local government body  responsible for the building recently handed out a property tax rebate and is one of the wealthiest in Britain with large amounts of money on hand.  Real property in London represents a vast and profitable churn of billions of pounds yearly and social housing has been a component of that for many years.  Why so little for the Grenfell’s residents?
We’ll see over the next few years if eighty or more lives are enough to change things.
Christian Wolmar: tower tragedy must mark turning point for council cuts
labourlist.org
Grenfell is a shameful symbol of a state that didn’t care
theguardian.com
(755) Towers for the better
(485) Highrise hell [report]
(321) Rising high

(83) 1 Millionth Tower
(61) Flemo!
image: ChiralJon via Flickr/CC

(1129) May Day: pizzas & pink slips


May Day perhaps offers us a moment or two for thinking about the future of work and wages in years to come.
Also, robots.
The next big thing in construction robotics is building big.
Automation has revolutionized factory work. Now researchers have their sights set on construction
cbc.ca/news
Domino’s turns to robots to deliver pizza
robotics.news
Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet)
mckinsey.com

(1044) The G-word

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Oh dear, we admit we’ve dodged directly addressing gentrification at suburban-poverty.com for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it’s more  often attached to the core of a given city than its suburbs.  Also, the g-word seems to shut conversation down because of its controversial dimension.  These two items might help us unpack things, at least a bit.
Gentrification and the suburbs.  Tear-downs and McMansions in inner ring suburban neighbourhoods
Simon Fraser University Urban Studies talk
(video 1:32:06)
Beware the vibrant, emerging, misleading language of gentrification
theguardian.com
(see other items under left hand link gentrification)

image: What What via Flickr/CC