Renters are a pool of social reproduction wealth.
[May 2021: During COVID-19 restrictions, patrons at the Kitsilano, Vancouver outdoor pool practise social distancing with the help of lines painted on the deck.]
Take a look at the pool of wealth in this capacity-building of citizen renter GeoLive crowdsourced mapping.
It has been suggested that, as in the News Poverty crowdsourced map by professors Jon Corbett and April Lindgren (2017), data collection is reliable when citizen renters map out eviction data based on income. Definitely, as cited by Corbett and Lindgren, when mapping out news poverty, citizens can draw upon the expertise and knowledge of the local renters and other people who live in communities. Moreover, they will be able to contribute those pieces of information to the map to make it more comprehensive, while statisticians and cartographers ensure that the data is robust.
Desjardins and Freestone (2021) explain why women faced the most drastic job losses. They were highly visible, working in low-paying service-driven industries, in food courts, salons, pubs, and elsewhere, places that didn’t allow for safe physical distancing when the pandemic hit. Women represented the majority in industries most affected by virus-containment measures. They bore the brunt of the job losses.
Recovering from job loss by gaining secure and meaningful employment is only one aspect of community rebuilding, because housing strategies now eliminate socially responsible prerogatives in a commodity-driven market, as Desjardins and Freestone (2021) argue.
The pandemic accelerated structural economic changes that were in motion pre-COVID. Canadian women were already at higher risk of disruption because they held more than half of the 35 percent of Canadian jobs susceptible to automation. The COVID crisis made [women] even more vulnerable by forcing many firms to adopt contactless and other digital technologies far sooner than they might have otherwise (p.1).
In relation to the polarity of Vancouver’s housing market, an examination of the Vancouver security guard industry (Bennett, 2008) posits that neoliberal economic governance has created the conditions for exploitation flourishing by keeping low-wage, low-level-educated security guards in need of precarious security jobs as employment. As a result of this dynamic, Bennett argues that the socially polarized uneven spatial relations between corporate-level control over working-class security guards ensures that these guards will maintain a development trajectory that makes it impossible for them to live in the city where they work.
Bennett (2008) further illustrates this paradox. Security guards cannot afford to move into gentrifying neighbourhoods, even as renters. They do not have the disposable income that would allow them to participate in the lifestyle that Vancouver city-builders are working to cultivate. Often, guards find themselves working two or more jobs just to afford housing and transportation (p. 158).
The trap then becomes a privatized urban policy relying on a pool of low-wage vulnerable workers for the success of the company or corporation. Those social vulnerabilities were intensified and exposed during the pandemic.
Bennett, D. (2008). Securing the neo-liberal city: risk markets, gentrification and low-wage work in Vancouver. (Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia, 2008). doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0066979
Corbett, J., & Lindgren, A. (2016, June 22). The Local News Map [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/Rfmq14swvME
Desjardins, D., & Freestone, C. (2021, March 21). COVID further clouded the outlook for Canadian women at risk of disruption. RBC. https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/covid-further-clouded-the-outlook-for-canadian-women-at-risk-of-disruption/
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. (2020). Beyond inclusion: Equity in public engagement. Simon Fraser University. https://www.sfu.ca/dialogue/resources/public-participation-and-government-decision-making/beyond-inclusion.html