Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Is Calgary a Divided City?

At a town hall meeting last year a resident of Woodbine had this to say about the City of Calgary's proposed BRT line. "If you're driving a Mercedes Benz and you can afford a Mercedes Benz, you're not going to take public transit to goddamn downtown Calgary or Mount Royal College." 

That rather pejorative statement brings us to the issues surrounding income inequality in Calgary and to the rather unique acronym NIMBY.

From 1980 to 2005, the gap between rich and poor neighbourhoods in Calgary deepened dramatically. While the city and surrounding area enjoyed a period of unprecedented prosperity, Census data reveals that the income differential between have and have-nots grew by whopping 81 per cent. The increase was enough to give Calgary the rather dubious distinction of leading the entire country in neighbourhood income inequality. Over that same period of time, the after-tax income in Calgary’s poorest neighbourhoods rose by 5 per cent, while in the city's wealthy neighbourhoods that figure increased by nearly 75 per cent. A study as recent as 2014 still listed Calgary as the nation's leader in income inequality.

And now for the term NIMBY -  according to Wikipedia Nimby (an acronym for the phrase "Not In My Back Yard") is a judgemental characterization of opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development because it is too close to them, often with the connotation that these residents do in fact believe these developments are needed by others in society, and so should be further away from them.

So is Calgary a divided City? Does Nimbyism play a role in how residents think?  To listen to Shelley Youngblut , general director of Wordfest, Ravin Moorthy, a Calgary engineer and CFN CEO Anila Lee Yuen take on these very questions any more simply click below.

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