The dark side of this surreality is that the places far from these hallowed urban cores are experiencing unprecedented decline and, according to some experts, threaten to become tomorrow’s slums.
We’re not talking about mean inner city streets getting meaner, we’re talking about the pristine, newly built developments of four-bedroom, three-bath dream homes produced in the last housing boom becoming ghettos for the poor and the disenfranchised.
Slumburbia? After decades of middle class flight from the cities in search of safe neighborhoods and good schools — a flight that continues today even from gentrified cities like San Francisco — it’s hard to conjure the image of a truly derelict suburbia. Will all those manicured lawns sprout weeds and broken bottles like a Baltimore back alley? Will drug dealers take over the local cul-de-sac? Will squatters set up camp in the neighbor’s McMansion?
Source: SFgate.com – Is Suburbia Turning Into Slumburbia?.
Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report
By Isabela C. Varela, ExpressNews Staff
Kim Raine, director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies
March 13, 2008 – Edmonton – If you and your family are fighting the battle of the bulge, look around you: your environment may be partly to blame. Research led by the University of Alberta and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information confirms there are links between our urban surroundings and how likely we are to struggle with overweight or obesity
Source: ExpressNews – University of Alberta – Urban planning a factor in rising obesity rates, says new report –
Rural towns – even places like Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Kalgoorlie and Wadeye – are urban time bombs. Their fast-growing indigenous communities represent the biggest challenge facing policymakers in Canberra, Sydney and Darwin.
They discovered that the influx of Aborigines into rural towns has been matched by an exodus of non-indigenous Australians who have moved out, taking skills, wealth and in some cases businesses with them.
In Broken Hill the non-indigenous population dropped 5.9 per cent. In South Australia’s Port Augusta the decline was 6.8 per cent………..
Source: smh.com.au – Caught out by an urban time bomb
Victorian Premier John Brumby freed-up land today for 90,000 new homes in the councils of Wyndham, Melton, Hume, Whittlesea and Casey. The land will be zoned residential.
The governments actions are as a result of research and calls from various social and government department research stating that this is a shortage of housing for low-income earners. The governments actions condradict its own Melbourne 2030 vision.
The release of land is merely a short term cure for low income earners as soon as they have moved into there new fringe houses they will become city residents who will experience high transport costs and will be time poor due to lack of efficient and fast public transport in fringe areas of Melbourne. These fringe-dwellers will also create a larger environmental impact due the large amount of resources required to supply basic infrastructure to these new inefficient housing estates.
The government would be better injecting a sufficient amount of funds and resources into reducing the planning approval process for high density developments and also fastrack more development zones for high density residential housing around inner city transport hubs such as Hawthorn, South Yarra, Collingwood, Clifton Hill and Footscray.
The government would also be wise to redevelop some existing low-income housing in the inner city to have a greater a density.
The governments actions show that is out of touch with the growing trends in the rest of the world to create higher denisty cities with efficient transportation which in turn reduce the environmental and carbon footprint of its residents.
China is studying how to move away from the country’s one-child-per-couple restriction, but any changes would come gradually and would not mean an elimination of family planning policies, a senior official said Thursday.
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Dot Earth: An End to One-Child Families in China?
The official, Zhao Baige, vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told reporters at a news conference that government officials recognize that China must alter its current population-control policies.
“We want incrementally to have this change,” Ms. Zhao said, according to Reuters. “I cannot answer at what time or how, but this has become a big issue among decision makers.”
China to Reconsider One-Child Limit – New York Times.
It’s time to shake up and rearrange Greater Toronto.
At Queen’s Park, the City of Toronto hardly exists. It’s being absorbed into the “Greater Golden Horseshoe,” an urban mass that sprawls from Brighton up through Orillia and down through the Niagara Peninsula.
Read more @ TheStar.com – No way to run a modern city.