- Posted September 28, 2012 by
YES! Let's look to Australia for inspiration!
In 2010, I was fortunate enough to spend two months in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The weather was beautiful. The people were lovely. But the CITY. Oh. Amazing.
First impression was that the the city was really really REALLY clean. Then I gradually discovered more and more wonderful things about the city.
The affordable public transit that includes bus, train, water taxis and bikes that extends to beaches 100 miles away.
The riverside botanical garden that is free, open 24 hours a day. I could go running at night thanks to security guards an good lighting.
Multiple walking bridges.
Parks everywhere. Riverside beaches open to the public.
3-4 weekly outdoor markets across the city.
But there was something else that was wonderful about the city that I couldn't quite put my finger on until the last week or so.
NO HOMELESS PEOPLE. Well, there are about 5 and they all have jobs. They wear orange vests and sell the cities tourist magazine.
Living in Atlanta, and working downtown in the tourist district, I see dozens of homeless people every day. Most are obviously crazy. Some are women. One that I see sometimes is a pregnant woman.
It is not for altruistic reasons that I want to pay more taxes to get homeless people off the streets. There is a little bit of that - I think that have their own story, and that they should be given a chance... But my main reason is selfish. I DONT WANT TO SEE IT. They are depressing. They are an eyesore. I don't like to be reminded on a daily basis that I live in a society that doesn't take care of all fellow humans. No matter how crazy, lazy, damaged, addicted.
It is uncanny how much happier and lighter I felt not being confronted with homelessness everyday. More than the phenomenal transit or the beautiful public gardens - I want to pay more taxes to get people off the streets!
My last slide is a screenshot from the Australian Tax Offices website; it breaks down the taxation. (Ironically the ATO was my client in Brisbane!) There breakdown is high, but seems totally worth it to live in such a utopia.