(505) Demoted by sprawl [Report]

Big SprawlSocial mobility for poor children is held back by suburban sprawl according to a new report.  If we want to see people of modest means and their kids go somewhere in life we better make sure they enjoy access to good, cheap public transit.  This item from Al-Jazeera links you through to the report which comes from Smart Growth America and the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Urban Center:

Study: suburban sprawl hurts social mobility

image: USDA via Wikimedia Commons

(485) High rise hell [Report]

TowersNow that Canada is no longer at war in Afghanistan we might have some cash for fixing up high rise hell here at home?  Aging towers built sometime between Louis St. Laurent’s prime ministership and Blondie’s first hit single are a front line housing resource in greater Toronto and home to tens of thousands.  Not good enough in many a case.  Canada’s people should be the best housed people on the face of the Earth.

(472) Kids, poverty & mental health in Hamilton, ON [Five-part CBC series]

HamiltonA five-part, in depth look at children, poverty and mental health in Hamilton, Ontario is underway at cbc.ca.  If the first segment is anything to go by this will be an impressive piece of feature journalism on a very important topic.  Even moderate exposure to poverty has implications for community mental health because of its effect on childhood development.  Hamilton’s children will be the first generation to grow up there as citizens of a fully post industrial community.  Where those children go so goes Hamilton.  A picture of the conditions and issues faced by Hamilton’s children is assembled by Denise Davey based upon key statistics and time spent with families.  Some of the best cared for of children are found in Hamilton but even newer neighbourhoods “up the mountain” as Hamiltonians say, are home to children in problematic situations.

Kids, poverty and mental health: Hamilton fights back

(468) Heroin?

HeroinA twenty minute segment on Huffington Post last fall discussed a trend in the US mainstream media to attach heroin to the emergence of suburban poverty.  It is said that a shift from prescription pain killer use and abuse to heroin consumption is under way.  The horrors of 1970s New York City were invoked.  Detroit cited.  Fear suggested and dismissed in turns.

The segment mixes HuffPo’s amateur style with the traditional alarmism of mainstream media leaving the viewer with mixed feelings as to the reality behind the segment.  Even though it is of laughable quality, disorganized and glitch-containing there is a discussion of suburban poverty here so the segment is the subject of this posting.  Take it only as a possible starting point on the matter.  A relationship between a rapid rise in poverty and a rapid rise in the use of heroin might make some intuitive sense but in this rich topic area the truth is not always straightforward.

How does the economy affect the heroin trade?

image: Wikimedia Commons

(467) Podcast: the age of precarious

CBC RadioCBC radio program Ontario Today invited McMaster University professor Wayne Lewchuck to the studio at the end of January to talk about precarious employment here.  The long, steady growth of this trend has encouraged the province to pass laws offering some protection to those working precariously.  Is it enough?

Living on part-time, temporary work 50:03
This is a strong podcast with contributions from listeners and Ontario’s Minister of Labour as well as Professor Lewchuk.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives blog grades Canada F for the growth and scale of precarious employment here compared to other developed countries.
Grading Canada’s Economic Recovery: more employment in Canada is precarious

A York University/Torstar survey shows a majority of Canadians recognize most of the components of precarious employment and that they make Canada a less fair place.
Precarious employment in a ‘less fair’ society troubles Canadians: study
Metro (Toronto edition)

see also: (395) Ontario improves protection for temp workers, interns

image: CBC Radio logo 1940 – 1958 via Wikimedia Commons

(466) Mass surveillance: too much room for abuse

eyeCSEC used airport Wi-Fi to track Canadian travellers: Edward Snowden documents. Electronic snooping was part of a trial run for U.S. NSA and other foreign services

Protesting mass surveillance: Canada called to join The Day We Fight Back
Calgary Herald

Canadian authors concerned about mass surveillance

The Day We Fight Back: calling for an end to mass surveillance
PEN Canada


(459) Food insecurity in Canada [Report]

Canada Food Insecurity 2012Just released is a high level report on food insecurity in Canadian households and what the best policies might be for doing something about it.  Data for the report is for 2012 and includes this fact: “four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, lived in households that struggled to afford the food they needed.”  The report, from an international and interdisciplinary team, points out that the majority of food insecure people and families are working.

PROOF: research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity
Links to full report in English or French

Household food insecurity in Canada 2012

(413) ATM deserts in the UK

Card MemorialAfter two years aggregating material on suburban-poverty.com we aren’t surprised when some new level of detail emerges about the constant stress and inconvenience of poverty. One day into 2014 and we are learning about bank machine deserts.  Even when doing something as relatively simple as accessing your own money for some basic errand social difficulty can assert itself.

Distance exerts a tyranny over those not doing particularly well as we see in data emerging in the UK about income and bank-machine locations.  There are some 269 areas where low income people are more than a half mile from the nearest bank machine that doesn’t charge them for withdrawals.  This represents a slight improvement from an earlier estimate of free cash machine scarcity for the UK but a government poverty adviser took exception in a piece in today’s Guardian to the difficulty low income people face in accessing their own money.

It looks like there is a need for some regulation of fees and machine accessibility in the UK.  Apparently some seven million people in the country live almost completely off cash which is usually needed more by those on low incomes.

300,000 poor people live more than 1km from free cash machine. Labour MP Frank Field says figures show it is ‘time to take the gloves off’, with not enough progress in poorer areas

image: One Half 3544 via Wikimedia Commons