Monday, May 05, 2008

The opposite of Gentrification?


Abandoned houses
Originally uploaded by In Shaw
Once a year I travel back to ye olde homestead in Florida to see the folks (Mom, Dad, Sis, Bro-n-Law, kids, and other assorted family members). It is also a chance to see the old neighborhood, as Mom lives in the same house we kids grew up in. And this neighborhood is a poor/working class neighborhood with a smattering of lower-middle class households.
So these annual visits I do notice little changes. Such as there was this horrid almost 35-40 degree dip in the center of the road a few blocks up that had been that way for decades and getting worse, got repaved. So I notice where there is new construction or renewal, in my momís area of town, none. She told me even her pastor (church is about a mile away) made mention that there isnít going to be any investment in that area, and in fact there is disinvestment. People are just leaving the houses to rot and fall in under the weight of Nature reclaiming the space.
Now compare that with my own neighborhood in Shaw, I see whatís happening back in Florida as the anti-gentrification model. No investment, no rebuilding, rows and streets of houses completely abandoned, empty, slowly demolished by the elements. People do keep up their yards by mowing them, if there is grass growing, but thatís it. Houses sag, there are rusty tin roofs on others. It isn't all bad, but there is a lot of bad to notice.
I donít know about crime, I just know I grew up with a rooming house of ill-repute diagonally across the street we called Peteís house. And now, in addition to Peteís house, Mom says, the house next door had dope dealing, prostitution and regular police visits, once the matriarch died. People who have other options to live somewhere else, do. The older folks stay, but the younger ones with means move out. About a 20 minute drive away, kinda out. Like what my half sister, some of my childhood friends, and cousins did. Come to think of it, they left town altogether.

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3 Comments:

At 5/07/2008 5:45 PM, Anonymous poo poo said...

E=MCsquared (kinda)

capital moves around in a capitalist society like ours, and in the current economic environment, capital goes where it is best served.

in terms of real estate, investments make gains in places like DC, or Orlando proper.

the way i see it, it's like these areas that you mention are on sale. the problem is that americans are short sighted.

trust me. someone is cleaning up. in a few years, they'll be making big bucks with all the cheap investments they've made in smaller neighborhoods.

 
At 5/07/2008 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mari -

have you heard of an author named Jim Kunstler and his book "Geography of Nowhere"?

He is very, very pessimistic about the fate of the suburbs in the age of increasing energy costs and realization of the true costs of sub- and ex-urbs. He is also a very talented writer.

Interesting to see this, makes me think you might be interested in this book (his best - the others are fairly spotty). I have noticed the same thing in the suburban area (Montgomery Village, MD) I grew up in to a lesser extent.

 
At 5/07/2008 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry i am eric on 2nd street and have been reading your blog for 5 years - didn't mean to violate your no-anon policy mari! that was me above

 

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