(635) It’s a roomy GTA [Report]

wellThe Wellesley Institute released a report last week tying the hyped up real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area to illegal suburban rooming houses.  In our opinion this issue really got going in the 1980s – the depth and extent of it must be nothing less than awesome now.

Toronto’s affordable housing shortage sparks growth of illegal suburban rooming houses theglobeandmail.com

Toronto suburban rooming houses: just a spin on a downtown “problem”?
Wellesley Institute

(605) Ferguson

Ferguson-missouri-350x282Last week mass media made the connection between suburban poverty and the ongoing disturbances in Ferguson, MO.  Hopefully this deepens the discussion.

Brookings Institution’s Elizabeth Kneebone wrote a piece on Ferguson which seems to have provided background to much of the coverage.
Ferguson, MO, emblematic of growing suburban poverty

We liked Karim Abdul Jabbar’s words on the matter as well:
The coming race war won’t be about race: Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it’s about class warfare and how America’s poor are held back

Looking around Ferguson on Google Street View reveals it to be an unremarkable place.  It’s arterial roads are lined with fairly typical American roadside fare: muffler shops, bars, shopping plazas convenience stores.  Not a lot of people walking or enoying outdoor community life.  Plenty of motor vehicles and places to park them.  The aesthetics are practical at best, a little shop worn.  It’s hard to imagine anybody feeling real love for Ferguson.  Going forward that may have to be acknowledged as a major part of what is wrong with how Americans go about building and inhabiting communities.

(548) Toronto’s USA-style shit show

Above EtobicokeShoes and laces is slang for guns and ammunition.  A little thing to learn drawn from life in Toronto’s suburban crime world.  This Toronto Star piece embodies one of the reasons reading and writing and later the mass media were invented: so that we could see into other worlds.  A disturbing picture of life for many in Toronto is based largely on police wire tap material from a major investigation which appears to have passed rather close to disgraced mayor Rob Ford.

Gangsters, goris and 10 cups of coffee: life among the Dixon City Bloods.
Project Traveller wiretaps offer rare glimpse into a world of alleged gun-running, drug dealing and bloody gang rivalries

This piece from The Globe & Mail last summer looks at the same part of Etobicoke.  Guns, gangs, and drugs are not the beginning and the end of the story for everyone there, but…

The neighbourhood at the centre of the Ford controversy: guns, gangs and second chances

image: all appears well in Etobicoke from above by BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

(542) On Atlanta’s buses [Slideshow & article]

MARTA signA slide show from Politico about getting around Atlanta the working class way: you can practically hear and smell those diesel bus engines.

Sprawled Out in Atlanta. What happens when poverty spreads to a place that wasn’t built for poor people?

image: MARTA stop in Atlanta by pdxjeff via Wikimedia Commons

(534) Inland Empire

BlueberriesBefore the video accompanying this piece on suburban poverty in California’s Inland Empire plays we got to watch a commercial for a Mercedes-Benz SUV.  A very brief  inclination to irony was replaced fairly quickly at hearing the phrase, “Blueberries? Wow, what a blessing.”

Hardship makes a new home in the suburbs
mobile.newyorktimes.com