Tag Archives: social conditions

(1226) Vancouver: curbing the cost of living there


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.
Car-dwellers rising: life on the curb of Canada’s most expensive city
cbc.ca/news
See also: (338) Globe on hacking housing crisis in van
image: A Kwanten via Flickr/CC

(1223) Edwardian Toronto


Toronto’s Edwardian past is still here in much of the street grid and through older built structures.  Unfortunately, you could say the way many a Torontonian lives right now is Edwardian.
Minimum-wage earners in Toronto do not make enough money to thrive. Report finds that residents need more than double what they earn on minimum wage, and that social policies need to be adjusted to meet the needs to present-day society
image: Daniel Varas 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

(1127) Aging in it


Three items to help us gather some thoughts around the growth in the number of elderly persons occurring now in North America.  How will the built environment affect the cognition and emotional life of seniors?
The isolation of aging in an auto-oriented place
strongtowns.org
No place to grow old. How Canadian suburbs can become age-friendly
irrp.org (26-page .pdf)
What helps Minnesota seniors age in place?
U researcher has some clues. It’s the little things
like benches and safe crosswalks
startribune.com
Who will buy Baby Boomers’ homes?
citylab.com
Want to stop your brain from getting old?
Live in a walkable neighbourhood
fastcompany.com
image: Tasha Lutek via Flickr/CC

(1109) Worker burnout

News from the United States these days is pretty grim for working people and many a  town there is long in need of greatness.  Something tells us, when we read about what seems like a burned out working class or ex-working class, that a lot more than protectionism, reserve bank gyrations and interest rate fiddlings will be required to restore a general prosperity to America.  Public health seems a bigger part of the story than is generally accepted.  To wit, a couple of recent features:
Maybe the economy isn’t the reason why so many American men aren’t working. Many experts have blamed a poor job market, but new research indicates that an overlooked cause may be poor health
theatlantic.com/business
An intractable problem. For the last half-century, Milwaukee has been caught in a relentless social and economic spiral
http://projects.jsonline.com
Even healthy looking suburbs are dying from drugs. Some communities are sicker than they look, according to our analysis of CDC data and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation’s new county health rankings
citylab.com

(1059) Woods & basements

vaughan-newmarket
Backlash.  We think that’s what you call it when an idea turns and inflicts a set of consequences.  In this case, it’s the sprawl so enthusiastically embraced in so many parts of southern Ontario in the 1980s and 1990s.  For lots of folks, SUVs and monster homes are still working well.  For others, not so much.  It seems a confluence of resources, inequality and a stunning lack of imagination are problematic indeed when it comes to community design.  To wit, recent pieces at cbc.ca/news.  Woods and basements, people.
Beyond Toronto’s borders, homeless means living in the woods. Camps of men without any place to go are situated on Newmarket’s fringes
Hidden poverty lurks in basements of Vaughan monster homes, advocates say. ‘They see the beautiful homes in Vaughan and say, ‘There’s no problem here’