California. So much wealth and potential alongside such difficulty. Disneyland and tent cities. Again and again in neoliberal North American life wages and the cost of housing jam working people up against the wall.
In a balanced community, the trails and parks are major assets. Greenery and recreation outside are important to so many things, from the development of children to cleaning the air we breathe. Scenery and recreation are fairly described as necessities.
Something is off when such assets are pressed into use as places to live. Anyone travelling to Los Angeles lately will have been struck with the scale of urban outdoor living there. It seems like much of the city has been commandeered by raggedy tents and tarps stretched between poles and sticks to define some privacy for people experiencing socio-economic difficulty.
Such encroachment is problematic in a host of ways. Safety and hygiene are a challenge for the homeless, to say the least. Outdoor living in parks and along trails also reduces the pleasure and benefit of such places on the part of others. It can eliminate that pleasure and benefit completely in some cases. So, in the best uncomfortable-to-read tradition of this blog we therefore link you to a newspaper item about Hamilton, Ontario.
Hopefully, this issue will receive some sensible amelioration. Just as the smoke from burning fires in the north seeps across the horizon a sense of psychological uneasiness with the social prospects for Ontario swirls outward as the primal, humid days of Premier Ford’s era unfold.
Commerce may be the primary purpose of all cities, the thing that makes other aspects of life there possible. What happens to this relationship when markets are free to gut punch housing seekers at will? Inequity seems to be shaping life in Canadian cities and this is unfair and unreasonable when it bears comparison to an out of control event, a natural disaster.
West Point Grey is out toward University of British Columbia and mostly it embodies the best of things Vancouver has to offer. Unless you are living there in a van. Such folk seem to be all over town now. For the moment, the police are concerned about the phenomenon but there are no plans for a US-style crackdown on van dwellers. As long as the vehicles remain mobile and nuisances are kept to a minimum it appears that this improvised manner of living is set to take hold. Why? Vancouver always had its share of social difficulty. After all, it’s comparatively mild, and it is literally the end of the road in Canada. Now it is also stupidly expensive for most waged workers. Small wonder, really.