Mapping of Unchartered COVID-19 Evictions:
Are Women Disproportionately Affected by Job Loss?
[An elderly couple sit in the back of a pickup truck filled with their belongings, as Downtown Eastside residents are evicted from their SRO rooms before Expo 86. (CBC Archives)]
Among global cities, Vancouver’s spatial mismatch is unique. Besides being transnational and Indigenous in scope, this striking disconnect between low-income housing and adequate employment opportunities is characterized by large numbers of working poor—primarily women—with inadequate access to educational opportunities and well-paid jobs (Sassen, 1991). During the Covid-19 pandemic, the social stressors of living and working in Vancouver have been further compounded by pandemic-related job losses. Moreover, few affordable rental units remain available to renters. With the neoliberal global deindustrialization shift to service-dominated employment, women on the front lines of the service industry have very likely ended up being the most affected. To date, however, there has been scant research into the long-term social effects of women’s job and income losses vis-à-vis their mobility (i.e., evictions or forced moves). My proposed study will therefore examine a small subset of the retail sector: Vancouver’s working poor women. Rather than wait until the Canadian Housing Survey (2021) is made publicly available, I will use a crowdsourced GeoLive citizen renter map to explore real-time income/eviction data and thereby demonstrate that these women were disproportionally affected by Covid-19 job losses. This crowdsourced map will capitalize on the knowledge and experience of the targeted communities’ inhabitants as they contribute various pieces of information to the map and, in the process, render it comprehensive. Gaining such reliable renter data is critical if we want to turn the tide and create more socially responsible housing in Vancouver, the second least-affordable city in the world after Hong Kong.
Sassen, S. (1991). The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. (Core Textbook ed.). Princeton University Press. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc93q