Coronavirus will change cities but offers a chance to correct chronic inequalities: expert – National

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The coronavirus pandemic is causing lasting change in Canadian cities, exposing chronic inequalities and barriers to essential services that can differ dramatically across racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.But in an interview with West Block Guest host Farah Nasser, an expert on urban development, says he hopes leaders recognize the pandemic as a major opportunity to develop new and creative ideas to address these inequalities and make cities more livable for all.

“I think this is the most important time of my life for cities,” said Richard Florida, urban studies researcher and professor of economics at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

“The COVID crisis has drawn attention to inequalities in the level of exposure of visible minorities to the virus in their communities. And now a wave of protests are saying, “We are not going to stand up for racial, social and economic injustice, police brutality. We want a better way to live. ”

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How the coronavirus could shape future urban life in Canadian cities


How the coronavirus could shape future urban life in Canadian cities

About 112,997 Canadians have been infected with the virus and about 8,878 have died from it.

Public officials across the country have fought the spread of epidemics.

But they also recognized the disproportionate impact of the disease on communities where people may live in closer neighborhoods, work in more vulnerable jobs, have less access to health care and often have poorer basic health.

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READ MORE: Around the world, the coronavirus is hitting poor neighborhoods the hardest. here’s why

Data from around the world has underscored the scale of the challenge, prompting public health agencies and government data agencies like Statistics Canada to respond to requests to begin collecting data based on race.

The aim is to better understand and tackle inequalities in how the coronavirus pandemic, and all of its cascading impacts, affect vulnerable communities.

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Coronavirus: the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable in our society


Coronavirus: the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable in our society

In Toronto, for example, case data shows black neighborhoods are hit hardest in terms of the number of coronavirus cases. This reflects similar data showing a harder impact on communities in cities like New York and Montreal with larger concentrations of black and Hispanic Americans, or more immigrants, refugees, and low-income Canadians, respectively.

READ MORE: Toronto’s black neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19 – and it’s ‘steeped in racism’: experts

Florida said society’s recognition of the disproportionate barriers and discrimination racialized communities face in urban areas makes it a time when leaders must seize the opportunity to make big, bold changes.

“This movement is a movement, not just that of visible minorities and frontline workers. It is a movement of knowledge workers, professional workers, white Canadians and multicultural Canadians. These are multicultural, multi-class people who stand up and say, ‘We want better cities,’ ”he said.

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“So the opportunity we have now is to make our cities better, to rebuild them in ways that are more inclusive, that create more opportunity and more justice for all Canadians.

READ MORE: Lack of race-based COVID-19 data in Canada is hurting black Canadians: experts

Making these kinds of changes will require significant cooperation and coordination between officials at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, said Alfred Bergusson, member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Youth Advisory Council.

Bergusson told Nasser he didn’t believe the federal government was doing enough to fight racism in Canada despite the Prime Minister’s promises to do more.

“We were vocal. I’m just not sure this is a priority for our current government, ”he said. “I guess time will tell and so we hope that progress is made on this front.”










PM Youth Council leader says tackling systemic racism has not been a priority for Justin Trudeau’s government


PM Youth Council leader says tackling systemic racism has not been a priority for Justin Trudeau’s government

He urged community leaders to come up with clear and specific demands for their representatives in order to be able to push for more meaningful and concrete change.

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“I think we, as citizens, have to demand the changes. We can walk and we can call for change, but nothing will happen if we don’t have specific calls to action.,  » he said.

“We really need the public and others across Canada to lobby our government.«










Trudeau says not all prime ministers agreed to condemn systemic racism in statement


Trudeau says not all prime ministers agreed to condemn systemic racism in statement

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