Originally Posted by van Hemessen
Yep that's the solution. Send all the poor people away.
As someone who spent 5 years of his childhood living in affordable housing in downtown London with a single mother I find this attitude truly disgusting.
The problem isn't with the poor per se, or those living in public housing complexes, it's the way some of them dress, look, and behave - i.e. grubby, smelly winos, and as one poster here put it, 'meth-mouth skanks'.
It doesn't take a lot of wealth to dress or look like you have some self respect and respect for other people. Winos aside, I personally don't care to look at single mothers pushing baby carriages and who are dressed in such a way that their tattoos and piercings take centre stage. Yuck.
The generally unpleasant look and feel of the downtown core has multifactorial origins, but let me take a stab at illustrating what I think are some of the major causes.
First, the Dundas-Richmond intersection is essentially a central terminal for city buses. Since the poor tend to be the heaviest users of public transit, the positioning of the buses causes the poor (and in turn, a lot of grubby, smelly people) to congregate in the area.
And it's all because the city is too cheap to build a proper bus terminal - or it can't seem to resist engaging in the endless and overwrought hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth that goes with the possibility that a few 'heritage' buildings might have to be torn down to make room for such a terminal.
The end result is that important decisions don't get made, and opportunities get squandered - or delayed for another 50 years, so some city councillors don't have to make the tough decisions that might cost them some votes and get negative coverage in the Freeps. Like it or not, there are a lot of so-called 'heritage' properties in London's downtown core that aren't economically viable, and cannot be restored to such a state. London has a terrible record when it comes to its city government making decisions - and it's something that goes far beyond mere 'analysis paralysis'.
Next are the numerous marginal businesses - cheap eateries, pay-day loan shops and pawn shops that are located in the downtown core, particularly at the Dundas/Richmond intersection, and thereby exacerbate the problem of undesirables pooling in this area. The presence of the local welfare office and the McDonald's restaurant at that street corner don't help matters any. Of course, the reason why these businesses even exist in this area to begin with is because of an unholy alliance of sorts - the landlords have space that no one else wants, so they rent to marginal players, and the city is desperate for tax revenue, so it looks the other way.
A third possible cause is the tendency of planners over the last forty years or so to locate public housing close to public transit routes, with the idea of making the lives of the poor a little less burdensome. As a result, London has numerous public housing properties clustered within a 2 - 3km radius of the downtown core.
In fairness, I recognize that efforts are underway to try to make the core more attractive to better-quality businesses in the hope that they will eventually crowd out the marginal ones. However, the process could be accelerated if a proper bus terminal was built, and the welfare office was relocated along with the marginal businesses. The idea behind all this, of course, is to decentralize and scatter the attractors that cause the current problem we have in the downtown core.