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  • Charles Dickens once famously wrote: "It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.”

  • It was a dumb thing to say, and has nothing to do with this video, but it was in a book called "A Tale of Two Cities," which is what this episode is about.

  • Well, technically, the tale of two cities within a bunch of cities, but Dickens never wrote a book called that.

  • He was too busy getting rich writing about how hard being poor is.

  • The point is, cities are split between the wealthy folk and the not-so-wealthy folk, and in many cases, the not-so-wealthy folk live on the city's east side.

  • Now, this divide, whether in New York City or Paris, surprisingly has nothing to do with the fact that west rhymes with "best" while east rhymes with "yeast" - and also "niece" if you kind of slur the end.

  • Rather, the reason why the eastern sides of so many cities are poorer has to do with the wind.

  • If we are to shame the wind responsibly, we must first understand it.

  • These are westerly winds, named after leftist activist Cornel West.

  • Or because they originate from the West, maybe.

  • I-I don't know.

  • Look guys, I'm not a gynecologist or whatever it's called.

  • Between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, westerlies are what wind scientists call prevailing winds because when another wind challenges them for wind-direction-supremacy, the westerlies always prevail.

  • Why these winds go from west to east as consistently as white guys who are obsessed with anime has to do with the general roundness of the planet and the fact that it's spinning.

  • If the planet weren't spinning - well, first of all, we'd all be dead - but also, warm air from the middle latitudes would simply do what Georgia Republicans failed to do in January, and head to the "poles."

  • But because the planet is spinning counter-clockwise, and because the air closer to the equator is spinning faster due to the fact that, much like me, Earth is thicker at its midsection, these winds consistently flow through the middle latitudes in the northern hemisphere on a northeastern trajectory.

  • This is called the "Coriolis Effect," named after some dead nerd probably, but for our purposes, it just means that if you're a city's sitting in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere, which includes a majority of the largest 100, then most of your wind is coming out of the west.

  • But wind doesn't make one poorer by itself - that's a power reserved for the users of Reddit's WallStreetBets.

  • Now, it's actually what the wind carried for decades and decades that led to wealth disparities on certain cities' east/west axis.

  • You see, while you may find cities to be gross and stinky today, they were even grosser and stinkier before - and not just because people hadn't yet invented floss or sewers or the concept of showering.

  • Back in the day, well before you could make a living googling random facts and hiring unpaid interns to make them into videos, people in cities had to make things or things that make things or things that make things that make things.

  • We call this period the Industrial Revolution.

  • With revolution came rubbish in the form of pollution.

  • For much of the 19th century, pollution released into the air floated out of downtown chimneys in all its dark, noxious splendor, and caught a lift on the prevailing westerlies, which brought the pollution eastward, where it tickled the noses and lunges of east siders from Manchester to Helsinki.

  • As it turned out, people living in the 19th century are similar to people in the 21st century in that they weren't huge fans of toxic air and inescapable, unrelenting pollution, so those who had money decided to leave for less stinky neighborhoods while the working class who couldn't leave or relied on the cheaper cost of living stayed.

  • Now, a lot has changed since the Industrial Revolution.

  • Northern hemisphere cities have outsourced industrial pollution to the developing world and rural areas like the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and radical environmentalists like Richard Nixon have passed laws to slow down how much poison we pump into the air.

  • But, still to this day, the east sides of Industrial Revolution cities like London, Paris, Toronto, and Pittsburgh are feeling the toll of their stinky past.

  • You see, in a study authored by these three fancy academic folks on the relationship between industrial pollution and economic segregation in Britain, quote: "These equilibria persist to this day even though the pollution that initially caused them has waned," which is basically liberal coastal elite Illuminati talk for: "Even when the pollution stops, the money doesn't come back into the east sides of cities.”

  • What may flip this trend though, comes in the form of gentrifiers: oat milk latte-sipping, distressed jeans-wearing, Great Gatsby-reading, exposed brick-loving hipsters, drawn to the grit and blue-collar feel of east ends, who move into these poorer eastern areas, bringing with them open floor plan coffee shops and Korean-fusion taquerias.

  • This hipster takeover, however, is rarely, if ever, a fair economic boost for downtrodden urban areas, as it prices out and pushes away the area's working-class base.

  • So, if you find yourself on the east side of a city and think "Oh this is a bit rough," then blame the wind, but if you say, "This is a bit rough, but the craft beer scene is popping," then blame wind and gentrification.

  • And if you say, "I love this pour-over coffee place and its industrial feel," then take a long look in the mirror when you get home.

  • Of course, not all cities came to be during the Industrial Revolution, not all cities sit at the mercy of westerly winds, and not all east ends are poorer.

  • There have been plenty of other factors through history that have shaped inequality in cities like proximity to ports and rivers, the growth of suburbs, and, particularly popular in the US, racism - often in the form of redlining and racial segregation.

  • But if you are planning to move to an industrial city in say China or somewhere in the developing world, don't just consider how far away the nearest Trader Joes is from your neighborhood, make sure to think long and hard about what you're downwind from.

  • Ultimately though, whether you're living on the east end, west end, next to a Trader Joes or miles and miles away, you are still the master of your own domain, be it a house, an apartment, or a bedroom, and to make the most out of that space, I suggest taking Christopher Griffin's Skillshare course, "Plants at Home: Uplift Your Spirit and your Space."

  • If you're anything like me, creativity, productivity, and general day-to-day sanity are a function of my environment - my surroundings.

  • Christopher's class shows how the care, curation, and upkeep of houseplants can help foster a calm, welcoming, creative at-home environment.

  • Whether fostering new hobbies, exploring and expanding your own curiosity, or honing in your home-scape and productivity, Skillshare offers thousands of ad-free classes that will expand your skillset at work and at home, so you're sure to find the perfect one for you and what you genuinely want to learn.

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Why the East Ends of (Most) Cities are Poorer

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    nao 發佈於 2021 年 08 月 17 日
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