Friday, September 22, 2006

Good on Paper

At the start of August, the Kazak Government pledged to provide free land to all citizens. But the promise turns out not to be worth very much the Institute for War and Peace Reporting suggests in an article.

In Almaty, the financial centre of Kazakstan, and Astana, the capital since 1997, "the state has sold off much of its real estate for commercial use, so land is in short supply in city centres and the growing suburbs," the new agency notes. Local officials say they simply cannot implement the government decree. "In Almaty and Astana, acquiring even one plot of land is today unrealistic. There is simply no land," Ramazan Sarpekov, a justice ministry official, told the Kazak online newspaper Liter. "When they were drafting the decree, they should have taken account of the realities of large cities which have the highest population density."

2 comments:

Heath said...

Hi Robert,

Thought you might be interested in this:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/30/BAGU5LG5485.DTL

The thing that pisses me off the most about this is that for all of San Francisco's progressive rhetoric, it is slowly becoming a city--much like the borough of Manhattan--where only the rich can afford to live and only a middle class lifestyle will be tolerated. I may have only lived in the Bay Area 3 years, but demonizing the homeless seems pretty much like standard fare out here.

rn said...

Hey Heath:

It's amazing that ingenuity is used against the homeless. From the article: "Over the past two weeks, city crews have found sites with couches and bookshelves and running water where people have tapped the park's irrigation system."

Aside from the fact that the park was regularly watered with non-potable recycled water two decades back when I lived along the Panhandle, shouldn't we be recognizing this for what it is: a triumph of people who have skills.

If the government would offer humane options (maybe sweat equity apartments), I wouldn't quarrel, as I don't think sleeping outdoors is a great solution to the urban housing crisis. But simply rousting these unfortunates and pushing them out seems increasingly the American way.

Ugly, ugly.