Whatever your reaction to Doug Ford’s personality and speaking style he is probably best understood to be an advocate of neoliberalism. Perhaps he’s for a tad more vigorous regime of that than Kathleen Wynn has been during her tenure. Either way, a political change is imminent in Canada’s largest province and like voters all over the west for decades now we are confronted with a picked over buffet of options and must choose the least ptomaine-inducing one.
Remember to vote, friends and folks. Above all, remember your interests.
Battle lines drawn over wages, jobs. Low-wage work force has seen ranks grow rapidly, but parties differ over how to deal with it
image: Scazon via Flickr/CC
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.
image: Taylor Riche via Flickr/CC
US president 45’s inaugural address entered America’s uneven popular culture almost before he finished it, full, as it was, with references to urban social disaster. The Donald’s portent-laden words seemed to reinforce and reflect still widely held beliefs about US communities, ones that deny urban success stories and suburban difficulty. With that in mind, we read with tons of interest a recent survey of US city-watchers, and what they feel their issues are..
What’s the greatest risk cities face?
image: Sean Davis via Flickr/CC
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.
Grenfell is a shameful symbol of a state that didn’t care
(755) Towers for the better
(485) Highrise hell [report]
(321) Rising high
(83) 1 Millionth Tower
image: ChiralJon via Flickr/CC
Forget Vancouver, BC’s future will be decided by the suburbs. With big city problems creeping into the land of cul-de-sacs and single-family homes, suburban swing ridings are set to determine the outcome of the provincial election
Some insight from recent US experience?
Environment as politics. New drawings of the relations between residential density and voting behaviour
image: Concert Properties via Flickr/CC
High expectations for Linda Tirado’s new series in ELLE magazine. Just describing what is going on in a fearful, fake news America is a brave undertaking. Never mind living with it.
See also: (689) Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America [Book Review]
image: kl801 via Flickr/CC
Canadian journalist Yves Engler surveys the political life of sprawl and finds it all a little lacking. It does seem pretty easy to attach dispersed living to right-of-centre values.
Sprawl is an enemy of the left
image: Greg Wass via Flickr/CC
Rising suburban poverty is a bipartisan problem. The numbers really underscore how cross-cutting an issue poverty is—it’s not just a red or a blue issue or an inner-city or suburban issue
image: Hanksy via Wikimedia Commons/CC