Neighbourhood Deterioration and Suburbanism

As I think about where I live, in a subdivision off of dominion road near the Holy Name of Mary Highschool, I immediately think of the current hollowing and cutting into the forest and brush that’s going on to make room for more houses, and more roads. The illumination of this by me is quite ironic however, considering my family and I live in one of these very suburban houses.

It’s obvious this has negative impacts on the wildlife that exists. I see coyotes almost every night trotting just outside the back of the house. During the winter months (such as it is now), we tend to leave dry corn in a wooden box with some apples in the backyard. Some nights I’ve counted 12 dear hanging out just behind my house.

It’s interesting to think of how the literal physical border of this city, via the road and the backs of houses, keep cutting further and further into this small forest landlocked in the middle of the city of Windsor.

 

This is an older image taken from Google Earth, but I have highlighted one of the sections where they have clear cut the forest and brush. (There’s another large area they have cut on the other side of the bush that I couldn’t fit into the image). The area in yellow today is full of empty streets, and empty  lots with pipes sticking out of the ground.

I guess where I am getting may be partly an environmental awareness and a defense for this landlocked micro-environment, but also an awareness of the suburbanism that has occurred in a city where its downtown core has not been kept up infrastructurally speaking, and has been ‘hollowed out’, so to speak.

Suburban housing development has not only contributed to the hollowing out of the downtown core, but also has been a result of various things such as dependency on economic sectors (auto industry, higher paying jobs, etc…), which has allowed those fortunate enough to buy a house away from the deteriorating core of Windsor itself. The core isn’t getting the economic, social, and infrastructural attention it needs to function in a more cohesive and economically and culturally integrated way (especially considering how the Windsor/Detroit area has had so much potential of economic integration in the past with the integration of the auto industry. But as we know, Detroit is also suffering from neighbourhood deterioration).

I think these conversations also imply other things such as generalizations of classes of people in both cities being a large contributer to the attention (or lack of) payed to certain neighbourhoods, and implies many other cases to think about, like the shallow analysis political leaders of our municipalities provide as a way to talk positively about improving infrastructure of older neighborhoods in city planning.

The irony is, I have only provided a shallow analysis of the problems discussed, which started with me thinking about the geography and situation of my immediate neighbourhood.

This is a ‘before’ picture of the field and forest, which has now been paved with new streets. (I should really provide an ‘after’ picture for effectiveness)

 

Maybe the ‘make this better’ would be placed in a deteriorating neighborhood, possibly housing or buildings? Although I havn’t chosen a direct area to do this, I hope at the least that it can generate at least one good conversation. I’m still thinking about it!

Comments
One Response to “Neighbourhood Deterioration and Suburbanism”
  1. Justin says:

    That’s an interesting area to highlight, Kevin. The proximity to remaining bush/forest and your ongoing interactions with wildlife around there certainly highlight what is being increasingly lost, but also makes a strong point about the lack of proper attention / initiatives put to focus some infill in struggling areas such as the downtown.

    Infrastructure money (that is, in hard infrastructure like roads and street scaping) has been put into the downtown over the last couple of years — Pelissier and Ouellette. In terms of ‘make this better’ what seems more compelling though, is the idea of these lots and infrastructure waiting for more development that probably isn’t needed in that area.

    I think pointing to a deteriorating neighbourhood — at a physical level at least — is a bit too simple of a read. Your relationship to this place and possibly the changes you’ve seen over time seems more interesting somehow. Knowing more about the history of that area in terms of development could provide some great context as well.

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