Monday, May 4, 2009

The rise of shantytowns?

My friends in Seattle area recently showed me terrific work they are doing to turn troubled neighborhoods around. Sustainable Ballard and White Avenue come to mind. Last month I visited Tacoma (see my February 4 blog "Tacoma's Moon Shot"). I saw equally impressive things going on there. Then I was shown a weekend food lineup area for homeless under an overpass. Fences control access. It seems clean. But under an overpass?

I thought of the depression. Consider Seattle's shantytown of the 1930s. see Hooverville in the 1930s

It raises the whole issue of the homeless as I've written before (February 22, "Pain and Wasting in Vancouver").

Are shantytowns getting worse in this worsening economy?

There is an excellent New York times article about this very problem called North American Shantytowns. read New York Times article

With all the progress in places like Seattle we should not forget the horrors of the Great Depression.

This must not happen again.

My colleague Severin Sorensen has put out an excellent blog and book on this topic called Economic Misery and Crime Waves. see Sorensen's blog

We must not let this happen again.