Tag Archives: Urban squalor

Homelessness and the Failure of Urban Renewal, by Ryan McMaken

Slum clearance and urban renewal reduce the supply of housing, and increase the supply of homeless people. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Homelessness today is often blamed on both “gentrification” and “neoliberalism.” When these terms are used in the context of urban housing, it is usually implied that too much market freedom makes housing unaffordable to large swaths of the population. Thus, we are told capitalism is the primary culprit we now find in many large cities from Boston to Los Angeles.

But there is much more to the story.

Since the Progressive Era, government agencies — from the federal level on down — have been front and center in subsidizing, regulating, and planning city development in ways that have made housing in city centers more sparse and more expensive for households who aren’t part of the hipster-millionaire demographic that so many urban planners and politicians are working hard to attract.

While rising demand for housing in a fixed number of square miles will indeed increase the price of land and housing, various types of government intervention makes housing more expensive than it would otherwise be. And sometimes, through zoning ordinances and other regulations, cities largely outlaw just the sorts of housing that are most needed by low-income residents.

To gain a better understanding of why homelessness is a recurring problem with apparently growing numbers, it is helpful to examine the origins of what is now standard operating procedure for cities: centralized urban planning. While very-low-income households and persons have long been part of the urban landscape in both the United States and Europe, city officials in the past often recognized that low-income neighborhoods were simply something that had to be tolerated. Although reformers often complained of the unclean and allegedly immoral nature of these places, a lack of government power — and resistance from private owners — prevented city officials from abolishing the areas of cities that provided housing. This housing  — however sub-optimal it may have been — was preferable to homelessness.

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Every liberal city in America is headed toward Venezuela… get out while you can, by Mike Adams

Liberal policies turn great cities into shitholes. From Mike Adams at naturalnews.com:

Image: Every liberal city in America is headed toward Venezuela… get out while you can

Liberal cities across America are collapsing into Third World status. It’s not just the fact that San Francisco’s streets are now littered with drug needles and human feces, either. Seattle is also collapsing into rampant homelessness and drug addiction, creating an entire class of impoverished, homeless residents who are breeding grounds for HIV and other infectious diseases.

Yet Seattle’s liberal city leaders — like all “progressives” — are unwilling to take any action to resolve the problems in the first place. Instead, they enact new policies that make the problems worse while calling it “progress.”

Local reporter Eric Johnson recently released a documentary called Seattle is Dying which dared to document the city’s collapse into Third World status. (See video below.) But instead of working to resolve the root of the problem (i.e. brain dead liberal economic policies that always lead to destitution and collapse), the city’s elite have launched a P.R. campaign to brainwash local citizens with engineered happy messages that are dutifully broadcast by local news networks.

As Seattle’s City Journal reports:

Earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that a group of prominent nonprofits—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Campion Advocacy Fund, the Raikes Foundation, and the Ballmer Group—hired a PR firm, Pyramid Communications, to conduct polling, create messaging, and disseminate the resulting content through a network of silent partners in academia, the press, government, and the nonprofit sector. The campaign, #SeattleForAll, is a case study in what writer James Lindsay calls “idea laundering”—creating misinformation and legitimizing it as objective truth through repetition in sympathetic media.

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