The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “economics

Homes Without People

Posted on February 16, 2018

It’s a phenomenon few saw coming, but it’s beginning to turn our perspectives on modern cities on its head.  The point of the spear seems to have begun in New York City – Manhattan specifically.  The number of apartments in that region occupied by absentee owners and renters grew from 19,000 in 2000 to 34,000 by 2011 and has likely mushroomed since.  That’s a jump of 70% in just a decade.  One three-block stretch of the Upper East Side has a 57% vacancy rate for 10 months each year. It’s not just developers and owners excessively purchasing properties and holding on to them as they hold out for higher sales (we have lots of them in Canadian cities).  According to Richard Florida in his…

Budget 2016: A First Step

Posted on March 24, 2016

IN ONE OF THE FUNNIER EPISODES OF THIS MANIC BUDGET WEEK, host Ellen DeGeneres aired a segment showing Canada’s response to the threat of Americans moving up here to escape Donald Trump, titled, “We’re nice, but we’re not that nice.” You can view it here. The reality is that we might be even nicer at the moment. During an American election season revealing far deeper divisions in the electorate than many realized, this week’s federal budget couldn’t set a more different tone. It was breathtaking in its own way, covering everything from deep investment in Indigenous Peoples to seasonal Employment Insurance programs, from tackling nagging infrastructure shortfalls to invigorating benefits for children and seniors, from beginning to make right the abiding gaps in veteran’s care…

Living Research

Posted on April 9, 2014

  OCCASIONALLY COMMUNITIES HAVE TROUBLE telling their own stories.  It often happens during times of transition, when change moves faster than a city’s ability to understand it. This is what happened in London when it came to a growing poverty problem.  While places like the London Food Bank were reporting that their clientele had climbed 40% in the last five years, London struggled to determine what was happening and what were the causes. The answers were never fully clear because the data required to get a good grasp on the problem was just not available.  Much of the data presently in use has come from Statistics Canada but was regionally based and couldn’t drill down to isolate what was really happening in our city.…

The Left. The Right. The Insanity.

Posted on September 4, 2013

Sometime around three decades ago, the modernized and industrialized Western nations permitted a new political construct to leak into their language – the “Left” versus the “Right”.  Nothing has been the same since.  With two sides now clearly defined, people moved fairly quickly to one or the other.  There were two real problems with this. The first is that it never effectively reflected the complexity of Canada itself.  We were a pragmatic people whose official political landscape wasn’t about one side or the other but how to coalesce around the middle as a means of benefitting the majority of the population. The second problem with Left versus Right is that there was no real sustainability built into the terms.  By their very nature they…

A Few Good People

Posted on June 6, 2013

Having spoken to some of the municipal politicians and staff returning from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Vancouver, I heard the recurring theme of how there just isn’t enough money.  In fact, they wondered if there will ever be enough to recapture the innovation and prosperity not only of communities, but of the country as well.  Our options are growing more limited. I have also been in correspondence with some economists and professors of economics and a theme is emerging from that sector as well.  In a phrase, economics has become somewhat bi-polar, even multi-polar.  There is a general acknowledgement that the “economies of people” and the “economies of systems” have become increasingly de-linked in the rapidly expanding technological age in which…

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