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Detailed Poverty Map

A where to rather than a how to
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Imagine if you will a person living in a large city in the developing world. Let's call him Quince. He's in a coffee outlet chatting to an acquaintance named Jeff about this and that, and the topic of poverty comes up. Jeff asserts that there is very little poverty in the city, as he has never seen any. Quince sighs inwardly in the knowledge that there are not just pockets but whole laundry-baskets full of poverty within a stone's throw of the coffee outlet.

It just goes to show, thought Quince, that sometimes it isn't a lack of motivation that means the poor are forgotten but a lack of knowledge. In his city, recalls Quince, the government thoughtfully erects huge steel barriers to hide slums from the rich people driving down the nice new highway. If you are poor enough to take the overhead train, muses Quince, then you get to see over the barriers and glimpse a little of the horror that is an unbalanced and uncaring society.

Now, suppose a thoughtful charity or NGO set out to map all such pockets of poverty, in fine detail. Suppose they then published a map and placed it on billboards and noticeboard around the city, to make sure people know what's just down their street. Perhaps then so many more people would feel horrified at what's happening around them, that the whole city would be moved to real collective action to uplift the lives of the downtrodden.

All because of a well distributed and highly detailed map. Thought Quince.

<edit:> Note in this fictitious city which is definitely not based on any specific location the hardcore poor are actually everywhere, even nestled near the <strike>effluent</strike> affluent areas.

vincevincevince, Oct 13 2009

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       Ho³   

       christmas is coming...
po, Oct 13 2009
  

       I am deeply touched by the level of relevance these comments have to my idea.
vincevincevince, Oct 13 2009
  

       Starting small, with local ties and local care makes any area rich.
wjt, Oct 13 2009
  

       This idea would be helpful in my town. When a brother-in-law came to visit from overseas, he was genuinely intrigued as to where we managed to hide the poverty - I couldn't tell him, because I hadn't been able to find it myself, either.   

       I think the poor are generally easier to find in European cities, because of the higher population density. In sprawling, low-density Australia (and, I suspect, much of U.S.A.), they're more likely to be in a trailer-park somewhere out of town.
pertinax, Oct 14 2009
  
      
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