A short and informative video on why mega-projects fail. We can all think of a mega-project in either the Greater Toronto Area or around the world of mega-projects either going over-time, budget, or failing.
Professor Sutton provides some strong arguments to combat gentrification within the cities through;
All of these are very possible, however, cities are viewed as corporations, meaning that there main interest is to make money. This is one of the main reasons why you don’t see that much pushback from new developments and the gentrification of certain neighbourhoods. There needs to be a progressive government in place to create these progressive policies. If not, gentrification will likely continue. We also need to look into community land trusts and new development that support rent-geared-to-income housing. These actors won’t stop gentrification, but will reduce the impact it has on a community.
I would argue with Professor Sutton that revitalization and re-development of communities are also forms of gentrification. We spoke about terminology and the importance of it in my environmental design course last term and we grouped terms like renewal, revitalization, and re-development under gentrification. There’s the example of Little Havana in Miami, where the community began a revitalization project that lead to the gentrification of the community. If you have the chance, I would recommend reading Back to Little Havana by Feldman and Jovilet.
Gentrification has impacted the working class and those with low incomes, but in the US it is slightly different since these low-income communities are for the most part comprised of blacks. There are some scholars in the US that believe gentrification is a form of colonialism. I’ll discuss the topic of colonialism and gentrification in a later post. Lastly, the spotlight has been on gentrification in the media for the past few years. However, gentrification is not a new phenomena, it has been ongoing for the past 50+ years affecting communities across the globe.
You can read the original article on gentrification here: 3 Common Myths of Gentrification.
I have been closely watching the exchange between Mike McCormick, the head of the Toronto Police Association and Desmond Cole, activist and writer. Since the discussion they are having around crime and carding is related to my major research paper for my master’s degree.
The comments coming from McCormick are erroneous and absurd, there is absolutely no data linking carding or street checks to the reduction of crime. It was cringe worthy to see him debate with Cole on CityNews and just repeat false information. During a previous interview, McCormick made an outlandish statement on the provincial ban on carding and how to due to the ban this is the reason for the current spike in gun violence in the city.
Here is what we know, “racial discrimination has long been an issue within Canadian society – particularly with respect to the operation of the criminal justice system” (as cited in Mosher, 1998, p. 305)
Carding and street checks are the manifestation of racial discrimination in the justice system due to that these processes are solely used on marginalized communities; those who are disabled and are visible minorities. So to say that the practice of carding does not discriminate is inaccurate. Skolnick (1966) discover that “police in the United States tend to perceive young, black males as ‘symbolic assailants’ and thus stop and question them on the street as a means of ‘crime prevention” (p. 402). From this observation, we can already see the criminalization of black and brown bodies. In a Canadian study about stop and search practices in Canada, Owusu-Benmpah & Wortley (2011) note that similar practices and racialization exist within the Canadian police environment. Through a survey, they discovered “blacks are over three times more likely to experience multiple police stops than whites or Asians and are three times more likely to report being searched during these police encounters” (402).
Simply, carding does not reduce or prevent crimes from taking place
What is more troubling is, the police forces and the government have not released data around carding and crime prevention. This creates a lot of question around the practice and what it being done if there is a lack of data. Are they simply practicing this due to the criminalization and black bodies or is there evidence supporting this? Henry and Tator (2005) refer to this as democratic racism:
An ideology that permits the emergence of two seemingly conflicting sets of values: a public commitment to racial justice and equality on one hand, but a refusal to seriously investigate and address racial inequalities and potential racial bias when these issues emerge (p. 349).
Owusu-Benmpah and Wortley (2011) state that the government and police forces withholding information on carding and street checks are a form of democratic racism. They go on to say that police forces, government, and the criminal justice system continue to ignore questions around carding because there is no empirical data. For all we know, the criminal justice system and carding are inherently racist.
Police forces and the criminal justice system needs to take a different approach when it comes to crime prevention and serving the community. Continuing these practices will create communities that fear the police and the authority due to these practices.
You can watch the debate between McCormick and Cole here.
I find it hilarious that the first thing Rob Ford did when he got into office was to axe Transit City. As those of you that may of not know, Transit City was a plan to provide public transportation through the means of both Light Rail Transit and improving Streetcar lines. It was also supposed to provide Bus Rapid Transit system to certain routes. This plan would have been completed by 2020. It would have help lessen some of the transit woes most of us are facing at the moment in Toronto.However, this plan was cancelled shortly after Rob Ford got into office. Not sure of the reason, but some stated it was show how much Ford disliked the idea of the transit plan. Rob Ford’s brand new transit plan is not feasible since it cost more to build, develop, maintain, and not all routes would it be ideal or solve the issue by placing a subway.
Picture by: Andrew Louis
Read more: Rob Ford to ‘bore’ his subway plan through ‘until the cows come home’
Read more: Transit City cancellation to cost $65M
Read more: Light Rail Transit (LRT) FAQs
Recently, the Globe and Mail published an article on The Five Things All Canadian Cities Should Stop Ignoring. The article was straight to the point stating there are various issues that cities must address. It mentions affordable housing, reform to way in which cities deliver services, infrastructure and resiliency.
Cities need to plan for resiliency, in the past years we have seen how climate change has severely affected cities and how they function. From extreme flooding to extreme heat. Cities now have to think how to plan with these issues in mind.
Infrastructure is another issue cities need to focus on. Most of the infrastructure and development plans for Ontario are only short term solutions to long-term problems. Just masking these problems will continue to cost an enormous amount of money in the long-run. For example, the continual patch work of the Gardiner Expressway instead actually fixing the root of the problem. City officials need to sit down and consult with professionals on how to solve these issues.
Another point is, with the changing of municipal government, there needs to be a set “playlist” so that these plans for infrastructure and development are not changed or canceled and rebooted every other four years.
Finally, it is important to mention the “T Word”, taxes. Taxes are something that we have become to fear in North America. However, we tend to forget the importance of them. If there are no taxes in place, it is next impossible to solve these various issues, without cutting or reducing other important programs. We need to remind residents where the money from their taxes goes and the importance of it.
If cities are able to address this issues it may be possible to have much more sustainable and prosperous communities.
Image by: Trevor Haldenby
The City of Mississauga is currently is currently thinking of enforcing an anti-idling by-law to help reduce vehicles that idle, especailly those in drive-throughs. The Mayor, Hazel McCallion stated that it was contrary to have an anti-idling by-law in effects, yet still have drive-throughs in the City.
Not just the Fisheries Act. Numerous Acts under Natural Resources have all been changed by the government due to the demands from industries. It’s alarming to think that Canada is still stuck in the same resource economy that it was founded on.