3/30/2011Posted by MJ
A post by Richard Florida (who I at times agree and disagree with) highlights what I think a lot of us feel. Drop the massive "Urban Renewal" schemes and instead focus on giving us the power to direct our own prosperity and growth:
...Needless to say, there aren’t any. The record of schemes to revive cities by assembling and remaking neighborhoods is littered with disastrous unintended consequences. People thrown of out their homes, neighborhoods destroyed, historic structures leveled, and the community fabric of too many once great cities ripped to shreds....
...The most successful efforts of renewing old urban neighborhoods don’t come from top-down reclamation schemes but from organic, bottom-up, community-based efforts to strengthen and build on neighborhood assets. Many of today’s great urban neighborhoods from New York’s Greenwich Village to Boston’s North End to Columbus’s German Village were those where residents successfully blocked top-down renewal schemes.
Instead of handing over neighborhoods or even whole sections of cities to city hall or private developers, we’d be much better off enabling residents to take control of and build on community assets, engaging them in community-based organizations that can spearhead revitalization and build real quality of place...This is what I, and I believe a lot of others would like to see. A forward thinking plan to engage the residents in rebuilding and directing their own future. Help us by giving us the best chance at a decent return on investment (both direct and indirect) an in the long run we will give back to the city a healthier and larger tax base.
The city lacks a housing/taxation policy to turn around it's slow downward slide. Some risk needs to be taken to turn it around. Home owners will follow by taken bigger risks themselves in reshaping where they live.