The second most spoken language in Windsor is not French or Italian, but Arabic.
In the Windsor area, 236,000 people cited English as their mother tongue in the 2016 census, compared to 230,845 in 2011. Also in the 2016 census, 13,580 people called their mother tongue Arabic, up from 10,515 in 2011. In 2016, 9,570 people said French was their mother tongue, slightly down from the 10,560 in 2011.
The next most common language in the Windsor area is Italian, spoken by 8,615 Windsor residents in 2016, compared to 9,715 in 2011.
In general, European languages lost ground in Windsor, with the exception of Spanish, while Arabic and Asian languages grew. The trend points to an increasingly multicultural community in Windsor, often billed as the fourth most ethnically diverse city in Canada.
Not far from where I live are a cluster of businesses of the Wyandotte Town Centre that I believe are largely Lebanese but if I interrogate myself, I would have to admit that I would not be able to back up why I think this is so. There is a lot of Arabic on the windows of these businesses. To my eyes, Arabic script looks beautiful but utterly and absolutely inscrutable.
Only one woman was elected to Windsor city council last fall. The Caboto Club last year still wasn’t allowing women on its board. The community still hasn’t adequately addressed the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report two years ago ranking Windsor the worst city in Canada for women, she said.
“Nobody’s saying there aren’t successful women in Windsor,” said Papadeas. “But we’re talking about poverty, economic inequality and other issues that need to be addressed,” she added, pointing to the 24 per cent of women in Windsor live in poverty compared to 15 per cent of men.
And keeping in mind the vigil that I attended last Thursday, I thought I would start with the sub-index of personal security.
This gender equality index is modelled on global measures of gender equality produced by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. Where possible, it captures the gap between men’s and women’s well-being rather than the overall wealth or health of a community. It also includes measures that capture the levels of gender-based violence experienced by women, and women’s access to health care services.
“The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2017: The Gender Gap in Canada’s 25 Biggest Cities”, Kate McInturf, CCPA, 2017, p. 83.
In 2017, Windsor ranked 20 out of the 25 examined cities when it comes to personal safety.
The score for personal security is calculated based on three indicators: rates of criminal harassment, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. The data for all three indicators comes from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR). The UCR is compiled by Statistics Canada from police-reported data. Police-reported data is used here in the absence of self-reported data, which is much more accurate. Statistics Canada estimates that 95% of the incidents of sexual assault and harassment and 70% of the incidents of intimate partner violence are never reported to the police. Further, differences in how police forces record incidents and charge perpetrators can create differences between recorded levels of violence that have nothing to do with the actual levels of crime. However, the only current survey of self-reported incidence of sexual assault and intimate partner violence is the General Social Survey on Victimization, which is only performed once every five years and which does not sample a sufficient portion of the population to provide estimates at the municipal level or at the provincial level.
“The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2017: The Gender Gap in Canada’s 25 Biggest Cities”, Kate McInturf, CCPA, 2017, p. 84.
“The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2017” used custom data sets from the Statistics Canada, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey to generate the Personal Security Index. There was not enough information in the methodology section that went into detail of how one could duplicate these custom sets, so I looked for comparable published tables from Statistics Canada.
I wasn’t able to find a published Statistics Canada table that had already broke down this reported data by city. Someone with access to the microdata of CAMSIM should be able to extract this information.
“Say her name”
At last week’s Women’s March Windsor vigil, there were several elected officials present: Ward 3 Councilor Rino Bortolin, Ward 9 City Councilor Kieran McKenzie, Amherstburg Councilor Donald McArthur, Windsor West MP Brian Masse, W-T MP Cheryl Hardcastle, Essex MP Tracy Ramsey, as well as School Board Trustees Jessica Sartori, Julia Burgess, Alicia Higgison, and Sarah Cipkar.
If you were politically naive, you may have expected Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, to have been present at the vigil in light of the fact that the mayor personally led a walk in October of 2017 in support of a 75-year-old woman who was brutally assaulted on the Ganatchio Trail. Anne Widholm passed away December 17th, 2018, just a month prior to the Women’s March Windsor vigil.
When I read the articles about that October 2017 walk, I noticed that the mayor makes it a point to say that despite the attack, the parks of Windsor are safe. He also stated that the attack could have happened anywhere.
“This walk is being held to show our support for Mrs. Widholm and her family, to reassure each other that our community stands together as one in times of distress, and to reaffirm that our community’s parks and trails are safe.”
Dilkens says it’s “a terrible, tragic, unfortunate event” but he also notes the attack could have happened anywhere. “This was a random unprovoked attack, it could have happened in Riverside, South Windsor it could have happened in Sandwich Town or Downtown. There is no correlation between the location or where it happened and the actual attack itself,” said Dilkens.
Fusion Tables was often used by journalists, scientists, and others interested in quickly plotting data on a Google Map without having to do any coding. Google encouraged users to switch to other products, like its BigQuery cloud data warehouse system, its Google Data Studio business intelligence tool, or simply Google Sheets. The company says it’s also working to make other mapping tools, currently used internally, available.
And so I believe I will be switching my go-to recommendation for easiest geospatial tool to Google Earth. This is counter-intuitive, I know. Why use Google’s globe software to make a map? Why not use Google Maps?
The majority of residents are serviced with either sanitary and storm sewers or by a combined sewer system.
– Storm Sewers carry stormwater runoff only. Storm Sewers eventually drain to the Detroit River, untreated. There are 732 kilometres of storm sewers within the City of Windsor
– Sanitary Sewers are designed to convey human domestic waste only to the City’s Waste Water Treatment facilities. The City of Windsor maintains approximately 675 kilometres of sanitary sewers.
– Combined Sewers were constructed throughout the City until the 1950s. Combined Sewers carry both storm water and sanitary waste. The City of Windsor is working towards replacement of the 228 kilometres of combined sewers with a separated system (separate sanitary and storm) where practical. Unfortunately, this will not happen quickly.
Notice that in the left hand column there are check marks for each of the different type of sewer systems. I opted to select only the Combined sewer system and I changed its default colour from green to yellow so it could be more visible. Now we can easily see where the 228 kilometres of combined sewers are distributed in the city.
There are other benefits to using Google Earth to explore the City of Windsor. If you zoom in enough, Google Earth will change its point of view to Google Street View. I know that under the street where I live is a combined sewer system!
If you virtually drive a couple blocks over and you can see both a combined sewer line as well as a storm sewer line (in blue).
And that is how to you can use Google Earth to look under the streets that you live.
If the City of Windsor paid for this feature, the City would also be able to record every vote – without having every vote to be recorded.
Let me explain the above.
If you read the minutes of past Windsor City Council meetings, you will see that it will note whether a certain measure was carried or failed to carry but it will not state who voted for or against said motion.
But if a Council Member requests it, all votes will be recorded in the minutes:
So why is every vote recorded at the City of Windsor? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure but it appears the decision to record votes might be for strategic reasons.
As you can read from the above, a recorded vote requires every member of City Council to vote (unless constrained by a conflict of interest) – including the mayor. From what I can tell, it is the mayor’s current practice to not vote on matters unless required by a tie among council members or by a request for a recorded vote. I’m not entirely sure how consistent our mayor is in this practice because – irony – I have no voting record for the mayor to look up. This is unlike Toronto, where the votes of all councilors and the mayor are readily available for download.
The past votes of Windsor City Council that have been recorded have not been extracted and made readily available unlike Windsor City Council Meeting Attendance. And the reason why meeting attendance is recorded suggests to me what needs to occur if we would like to have all votes recorded at City Council:
Windsor City Council adopted the following resolution at its meeting held March 8, 2010:
M83-2010 That City Council ESTABLISH, through Council Services, an attendance tracking system for City Councillors, posted on the City website, recording month-to-month attendances and absences, starting on March 8, 2010, for Council meetings, In-Camera meetings, Budget Meetings, Advisory Committees, Agencies and Board meetings, with a notice protocol for Councillors to indicate the reason for absences, including conflicts with any other City-related meetings or obligations. Absences at special meetings and budget meetings when seven days notice is not provided will also be exempt. A link to minutes of full Council meetings, starting in March 2010, will also be provided on the website, indicating absences from Council votes.
If you’re taking down holiday decorations and thinking about ways to get rid of your Christmas tree, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a suggestion. Instead of sending your tree to the landfill or getting it chipped up, the not-for-profit private land conservation group says there are benefits to putting it in your own backyard.
Dan Kraus, NCC’s senior conservation biologist, says leaving it in your backyard over the winter can help provide a home for bird populations trying to survive the tough weather. The tree will enrich your backyard ecosystems right away and it can also improve soil.
The first step in letting nature help you recycle your Christmas tree is to put it anywhere in the backyard, which often happens anyhow when we miss the municipal tree recycling pickup.
I was curious about the fate of the Christmas trees that are picked up by The City of Windsor and whether they were land-filled and contributing to the production of methane. So I asked the City’s 311 Service. They replied:
I decided not to press the matter and did not ask approximately what percentage of the collected trees end up as compost and how much as chips. I also didn’t immediately follow up with asking what exactly happens to the wood chips after they have been made since I assumed that they would be used by the City, for their trails, perhaps.
Instead, I decided to follow the advice of the NCC and The New York Times, and put our used Christmas Tree in our backyard. We don’t have much of a backyard so we are very much considering this an experiment.
Some years ago – I think it was 2015 – a friend of mine kindly gifted me the game Mini-Metro on Steam because he guessed that I would love it. He was right.
Mini Metro is a strategy simulation game about designing a subway map for a growing city. Draw lines between stations and start your trains running. As new stations open, redraw your lines to keep them efficient. Decide where to use your limited resources. How long can you keep the city moving
I love the clean and elegant design of the game. The game brilliantly uses the form of the London Underground Map as the vehicle for an abstract puzzle strategy game and so the game feels meaningful, even through the game-play is primarily connecting lines to nodes. But despite my affection for Mini-Metro I don’t play it very much largely because I’m not particularly good at this game.
Easily the best book I’ve read related to transportation. Human Transit doesn’t just describe transit systems – it puts you in the position of a planner and makes you think about the inherent tradeoffs to different designs. It’s rich with good examples from around the world and has an incredible focus – Walker wastes little time on extended biographies or anecdotes.
The balance between different modes of transit is accomplished extremely well, and it also doesn’t focus solely on super-dense cities, but takes into account varying density, suburbs, and how much density is necessary to build great transit, if at all.
I really enjoyed this read, and would recommend it to anyone interested in transportation…
I haven’t finished it yet but I share Tom’s enthusiasm for the book. It is one of the best examples that I know of an expert who can walk a layperson through a series of understandable concepts without ever sounding preachy or condescending. By the way, students and staff of the University of Windsor have access to Human Transit as an ebook.
At the moment, I’m on Chapter 4 which is titled, “Lines, Loops, and Longing” and I’m learning so much. For example, I had never realized that “For car traffic, chokepoints are a problem, but for transit, they are opportunities”:
I also learned that the reason why my strategy for Mini-Metro was not good: I was falling into the natural tendency to create loops to connect my ‘stations’.
When someone wants all parts of an area to be connected, and tries to express this in the language of transit, they often talk about loops. The loop is an appealing image because it’s a thing that transit can do that seems to encompass an entire two-dimensional area with a feeling of completeness and closure. I have lost count of how many times people have explained their mobility needs to me by saying, “We need some kind of loop.”
But there’s a problem with loops, and it’s so obvious that it’s easy to forget: very few people want to travel in circles. Most people experience their travel desires as “I am here and I need to be there.” The desire for transportation is a feeling about two points of space, “here”and “there.” In the geometry of cities, the shape of that desire is a straight line connecting those points.
Walker J. (2012) Lines, Loops, and Longing. In: Human Transit. Island Press, Washington, DC
And this was the passage that made me want to play Mini-Metro again, but this time armed with transport knowledge:
Loops have other problems. An I-shaped line can easily be extended on either end without affecting the existing riders, but loops can’t be extended; a city that outgrows its loop has to break it apart, disrupting existing trips. So if an urban area is growing or changing, loops may limit the options for growth in the future.
Finally, of course, loops run with a driver raise the problem of driver breaks. An I-shaped or U-shaped line has an endpoint where the vehicle is empty, so the driver can take a break without disrupting any passenger’s trip. These breaks also serve a second purpose: when a service runs late, the break is shortened so that the vehicle can get back on time. Providing these breaks is a great logistical challenge on busy loops, like the circular rail lines in Berlin, Moscow, and Tokyo. In 2009, the London Underground broke apart its Circle Line, which used to run as a continuous loop, partly to eliminate these problems.
Walker J. (2012) Lines, Loops, and Longing. In: Human Transit. Island Press, Washington, DC
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the More than Transit survey from Transit Windsor is ending on January 9, 2019. If you would like to learn more about the possibilities of significant expansion for Transit Windsor in the near future, I’d recommend a listen to this episode of Rose City Politics. And of course, I highly recommend a read of Human Transit. I will end this post with a quotation from the Introduction of Walker’s book – with a couple of links that I have added for related reading:
When someone asks me what I do, and I say I’m a transit planner, their next question is almost always about technology. They ask my opinion about a rail transit proposal that’s currently in the news, or ask me what I think about light rail, or monorails, or jitneys. They assume, like many journalists, that the choice of technology is the most important transit planning decision.
What’s more, the most basic features that determine whether transit can serve us well are not technology distinctions. Speed and reliability, for example, are mostly about what can get in the way of a transit service. Both buses and rail vehicles can be fast and reliable if they have an exclusive lane or track. Both can also be slow and unreliable if you put them in a congested lane with other traffic. Technology choice, by itself, rarely guarantees a successful service, and many of the most crucial choices are not about technology at all.
Walker J. (2012) Introduction. In: Human Transit. Island Press, Washington, DC
Imagine that you love a particular podcast that comes out every couple of weeks – although depending on circumstance, sometimes its published a little earlier and sometimes a little later. But in this particular alternative universe, instead of being notified by your phone that it has just downloaded a new episode, it’s up to you to visit the podcast’s website every couple weeks to check if the episode is ready to be downloaded.
As labour goes, regularly visiting a website isn’t the most arduous task in the world but if you are like me, you might subscribe to a couple dozen podcasts with some released weekly, others fortnightly, and others on no particular schedule. Without the ability to subscribe to a podcast it is easy to see how episodes could be missed and entire shows, forgotten about.
The technology that makes subscribing to podcasts possible is called RSS, and as technologies go, it’s a very good one. For one, RSS allows you to download podcasts without identifying who you are to the publishers or to the world at large. While you do need special software to handle podcasts (I use BeyondPod), you don’t need to be on a particular social media platform or worry that you use (or don’t use) an Apple iOS product.
RSS is also the technology that made subscribing to web pages possible. Using Feedly, I have the most recent stories from CBC Windsor, The Windsor Star. The Windsorite and many, many blogs delivered to me as they are published.
One of my favourite TED Talks is from Dave Meslin and I’ve embedded it below. Dave Meslin argues that our governments use design to discourage engagement. The good news? We can re-design improvement. Or in this case, we can ask for RSS.
Even though City Council meetings have been recorded and made available online since June of this year, I have yet to see any media or city resident make use of the clipping or bookmarking service that the platforms provides. So I thought I would try it out and share what the technology is capable of.
So let’s pretend I’m writing a blog post that I want to add a clip from Windsor City Council for information and context.
At this point, I’m going to drop this pretense of writing and now bring your attention to the act of trying to include the video from Windsor City Council into a blog post.
First, we have to flip through the calendar view (or hack the datestamp of the URL) of the archived videos to find November 19th. The video is marked up with time stamps that match up the agenda but unfortunately the discussion of the Ford City CIP falls under the blanket category of REGULAR BUSINESS ITEMS (Non-consent items)
If you notice in the bottom right of the screen, there is a option to Share.
The resulting shared item is a link. In the example above, the link goes to:
I have some options to share the video clip in a variety of social media platforms…
But unfortunately, I’m unable to embed the video in WordPress.
Now I know why I’ve haven’t seen video clips from Council from local newspapers and news outlets. There is no way to embed the video into a web page that provides context for that video. I can share the link but the only way I can add any context to the video is to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit or Google+.
It looks like the product that the City of Windsor uses for their video service is Montreal-based Sliq Media Technologies. It is unfortunate that a company that builds and maintains video streaming services for specifically for governments has made it difficult for journalists and residents to make use of the resulting work. I’ve asked the company if there is any known workaround for this problem:
As we wait for an answer, let us consider the notion of fairness and equity. One of my favourite definitions of politics is from political scientist Harold Lasswell who defined it as “who gets what, when, and how.”