Tag Archives: social aspects

(1314) Grimerica

Grim reading from august commentator on American community James Howard Kunstler. The author of seminal work The Geography of Nowhere sees direct ties between sprawl-lived lives and the gun nihilsm of America. Suburbia has been Kunstler’s thing for decades now and we respect his words. Even if he has become a little reactive, a touch cranky in recent years, any wisdom on this matter is surely welcome and his probably more than many others. The resort to maximum hand-held firepower as a response to one’s environment staggers the imagination and really has for decades now. What to do on this file? Thank the God of your choice this is not Canada Dear Readers.

The landscape of despair. How our cities and towns are killing us
dailycaller.com

image: S. Davis via Flickr/CC

(1313) Class Canada

Back to class, not just for the future workers, heads of families, homebuyers and consumers either. It’s always been about class, kids. Two thought pieces from the Canadian media on a topic they would much prefer to ignore most days. A long one and a short one, both on point.

It’s not an ‘affordability crisis’, it’s a class conflict

thestar.com

What does it mean to be working class in Canada? Socio-economic lines are often erased or ignored in Canada. Here’s how I came to see my working class roots clearly
macleans.com

image: Elena Centor 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

(1205) Stress is all that’s holding us together


A squeeze is on working people in the United Kingdom, the States and Canada.  The calculus of personal pressure and hard times described in this piece from The Guardian website is certainly reproduced in the Greater Toronto Area.  Such difficulty seems to be a big part of what it means to be a working person in these societies.  Mentioned in this piece is the weak economics of wages for a couple with a young child in Glasgow where a call-centre job really just doesn’t cut it.  The weight of this at the societal level is also discovered via this article.  Recent data from a UK university is linked concluding a crap job is often much worse for your mental health than the stresses of full on unemployment.
Crazy stuff indeed.  The late nineteenth century industrial economy was fuelled on coal.  Our early twenty-first century digital economy is fuelled on human stress.
The stress of low-paid work is making our country sick
Having a bad job can be worse for your health than being unemployed
manchester.ac.uk
image: Flood G. via Flickr/CC

(1200) Towering


Three pieces about the big concrete buildings.  Two practical, one more emotional, human.  Important stuff.
Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighbourhoods’: Hume. Hundreds of apartment highrises in Toronto were built with assumption that residents “would drive where they wanted to go, so services weren’t necessary”
thestar.com
More than just ‘neighbours’. As the seniors in her building begin to leave her life, Katarina Ohlsson tries to find the word that encapsulates their importance
theglobeandmail.com
Towering ambitions
theglobeandmail.com
image: Craig Sunter via Flickr/CC

 

(1174) Suburbs matter to cities


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?
politico.com
image: Sean Davis via Flickr/CC