Category Archives: Gentrification and other social issues

npr story: gentrification may help longtime residents

This story, from NPR, explores a study that shows many longtime residents are not displaced during the gentrification process.

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the flip side

This art installation centers on NYC pre-Giuliani when Manhattan had scary, gritty places. Sometimes, when an area is rehabilitated, it looses a unique flavor for which early inhabitants can only reminisce. Where does the balance lie in making a neighborhood safe and attractive, while not making it so vanilla that it becomes indistinguishable from the suburban life that we rejected?

inspired by my idealistic generation

This story about a self-created group, determined to save old buildings in their city, shows what can change when a few people work to add life to neglected city areas. Current generations are turning around a large ship in this country: salvaging cities that previous generations abandoned during eras of white flight.

Richmond’s lack of food scene

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news/2011/aug/01/tdmain01-richmond-creates-task-force-to-increase-a-ar-1209495/

Let’s hope that this group is able to create real and implementable plans that the city government will support!

A usually undiscussed issue ’round these parts is the lack of groceries to substantial areas of the city. There are many sections of the city in which a trip to the grocery store requires planning. I own multiple vehicles, and getting to a grocery store requires planning on what time of day to go, as the one store in the city that is within a 5 mile radius is impossible to use. Anyone familiar with Kroger on Broad (near VCU) will know it’s always overcrowded and a parking spot is a commodity. Usually, I just drive the extra miles to use a store outside the city limits. Here, there is no such thing as a quick trip to the store, and for those with limited means of transportation, the trips and fresh fare options dwindle.

chocolate city becoming vanilla

From NPR’s Cities in Transition series is a look at how Washington D.C. is quickly gentrifying into a city where the black population will soon be a minority.  http://www.npr.org/2011/02/15/133754531/d-c-long-chocolate-city-becoming-more-vanilla

the redesigning of Detroit

This recent NPR story discusses plans to remake Detroit, which requires heavy urban planning and editing (read: demolishing) to create thriving pockets within the sprawled and decaying city. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126967991

This is the first redesigning attempt of its kind in the US, but this type of heavy government planning has already been exercised in Europe to keep its urban areas stable.  A few years ago, I watched old Communist-made apartments being torn down to become green space in Eastern Germany because they were mostly vacant, as the government had encouraged people to repopulate the old areas of the city.

Would it be better, in the US, to consider the heavier use of urban planning and reuse? Environmentally? For economic sustainability?  Other reasons?

minorities at my waterpark!

The Brookings Institute has come out with an analysis on the census data from 2000-2008.  I’ve included a link to an article discussing some highlights, and the report itself.  The article highlights the changing demographics of the cities and suburbs.  In 2008, the majority of non-whites lived in the suburbs.  And, not coming as a surprise, the study found that young whites were moving into cities at rates unseen for many decades. 

Generational understanding:

From the Associated Press’ article, this was a fascinating quote:  Ten states, led by Arizona, surpass the nation in a “cultural generation gap” in which the senior populations are disproportionately white and children are mostly minority. 

In my personal experience, I frequently encounter a generational gap in race relations and understanding.  While it is statistically unsound to base from personal experience alone, I often find myself wondering if my generation (Y) has more respect for cultural, racial, and other differences than previous generations.  As was noted in the article and has been mentioned in multiple studies, whites will not be the majority population in the United States by the middle of this century.  My generation was the first to grow up in naturally integrated schools and neighborhoods, and my first experience with racism was not until middle school.  Until that point, I thought that racism had been stamped out shortly after the Civil Rights’ movement.  While my naiveness may irk some, it could also be a sign that younger generations are prepared to face the reality of a truly diverse nation in a few decades. 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100509/ap_on_re_us/us_changing_suburbs

http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0509_metro_america.aspx

*Title of post attributed to a South Park song*