Thursday, June 15, 2017

Toronto 2050: bring on the favelas!

Toronto 2050.
Image result for favelas

That's a shot of the Humber River Valley circa 2050. None of that stuff was built with official building permits. No, officialdom is out of the picture in these "unofficial" subdivisions that have been popping up since the early '20s. Word is you get your building permit from the Crips or the Hells Angels instead, but the good news is they come through in three weeks instead of three years.

And the building code is a little loosey-goosey. The prevailing ethos has it that it's your house; if you want to build with used shipping pallets and recycled corrugated steel, more power to you.

How did it come to this?

Back in the early 21st century governments at all levels were gung-ho on bringing in unlimited numbers of immigrants without any kind of concomitant housing policy. While the newcomers tried to make the best of it for a while, doubling and trebling and quadrupling up in 450 square foot downtown condos, eventually something had to give.

It was inevitable that the barren banks of the Don and Humber valleys would have to be colonized. Previously inhabited by a few thousand homeless folks, it didn't take this gentrification movement long to take hold. After all, you can buy a tiny condo downtown for two thou per foot, or you can spend a week scavenging and put up the same square footage, with a pleasant view of the Humber valley, for nothing more than the sweat of your brow!

Today (2050) the banks of the Humber are estimated to house at least half a million Torontonians. Nobody knows for sure because government census takers, like all representatives of officialdom, are generally unwelcome. These suburbs tend to be self-regulating. The economy is largely barter-based. I'll hook up your computer in return for a couple of pan-ready bunnies from your roof-top rabbit farm.

Oddly enough, quality-of-life surveys done by the prestigious Richard Florida Centre for Studies in Gentrification consistently show that the residents of Favelaville have a higher level of life satisfaction than the residents of Toronto proper.

It's all good!

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