On Picking the Wrong Gulf Island and Parking a Barge in Front of Chip Wilson’s Place

Globe & Mail headline: Priced out of downtown Vancouver, millennials are building ‘hipsturbia’. My alternative headline: “Priced out by their Boomer parents, young people are desperately trying to undo the white flight homogenization of cookie-cutter, box-store, mega-plaza strip mall suburbia”.

I mean, displacement aside, isn’t this what we want? De-centralized micro-cities spread across the region at high-density transit hubs? I’m no supplyist, but I grew up in the suburbs and it fucking sucked. You needed a car to do everything.

Of course the flip side is rich, white yuppies picking a suburb based on the availability of fresh mozzarella: What to Do When You’ve Picked the Wrong Suburb. Life is hard:

Moving to a new suburb may be the way to recapturing your identity, whether it’s somewhere where you can walk to dinner or a place with more like-minded people. But first, you should give serious thought to who lives in the town and what types of things go on there. Whom will you encounter when you walk your children to the park? Whom will you drink a beer with at the neighborhood block party? What do the mothers wear to drop-off, or will you see only nannies?

The local corollary of course would be “What To Do When You’ve Picked The Wrong Gulf Island”…

As wrong as Dick Florida -“Doula for the creative utopia growing inside your city” – has self-admittedly been, and as much as the New Yuppies have “reoriented themselves around a new set of values that bolster their class position in less noticeable ways”, there are still ways to incorporate gentrification as a positive force. Namely, not relying on corporate largesse from developers and real, large-scale housing reform: Don’t Blame the Gentrifiers.

Because when you talk about gentrification, what people mean is, “This guy’s moved in, or this woman, or this family has moved in, and they’re our enemy. They’re gentrifiers”” A lot of gentrifiers are just people looking for a foothold in New York who are moving out to more outlying neighborhoods because they can’t afford it , and they’re being attracted to those neighborhoods, and pulled, lured to those neighborhoods by realtors and things who repackage them as urban frontiers and whatnot. They’re not the enemy. They’re just people looking for apartments. I think it creates this ground-level scorn when actually a lot of the so-called gentrifiers are also being exploited by rent-gouging and overcrowding. I try to shift it to a question of economics, investment, history, government policy, and I think that’s a much better way to think about it, because then it promotes a different kind of awareness of the problem.

In Vancouver, what better way to look at the problem than through the lens of the tech scene: Vancouver’s Tech Scene Shows Just How F**Ked Up The City’s Real Estate Is. If people making $44,274 can’t afford to live here how do you expect people making minimum wage to?

Life is hard, part 2: Peterborough residents want bylaw changed after trucks don’t fit in driveways.

Schadenfreude of the day: Rich San Francisco residents get a shock: Someone bought their street. OMG, can we all start a go-fund me and buy Beverly Crescent in Shaughnessy?

Or maybe we could chip-in and buy this housing barge and park it in front of Chip Wilson’s beachside mansion: 165FT Self Contained Lodging Barge – $1,000,000.

Related: Being rich wrecks your soul. We used to know that.

Related tweet of the day:

Not-satire of the day: Canada geese used to feed D.C. homeless.

Satire of the day: CBC splits single white man’s salary between two women, two minorities.

Bonus: What the ctenophore says about the evolution of intelligence.

There are 2 comments

  1. “young people are desperately trying to undo the white flight homogenization” ??? But for the most part these people are white and their “gentrification’ of the suburbs is exactly the same as the white flight homogenization that their parents generation partook in?

  2. How is it exactly the same? Their parents generation build strip malls filled with generic chain restaurants, sprawling subdivisions, golf courses, and scant transit infrastructure. These people are choosing dense, walkable neighbourhoods with independent, small businesses. I also doubt that most of these people are white.

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