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Slideshow: Cities on Life Support

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Toby
Toby  
12/13/2012 1:13:43 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Deeeepressing
@Mary: Not so sure about that. Have you been down to the lower east side of NY since NYU started buying up the neighborhood for dorm space....? It has changed totally and all the grimy seedy buildings have been turned into dense packed battery coops for out of town students. NYU has totally transformed that neighborhood. This may be an exceptional case however.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/13/2012 10:21:49 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Deeeepressing
Well, City College opened its doors via open admissions nearly 40 years ago, so the university has had a relationship with the community all along. Many of the people I knew there were from very poor neighborhoods, like the South Bronx, who had attended the specialized public high schools like Stueyvesant (SIC). Without the city university system, they couldn't have gotten ahead in life.

And BTW, they were also some of the brightest and most talented students I ever knew as well.

All that has to have an impact on the community.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/13/2012 10:16:54 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Deeeepressing
I'm sure there are studies about this kind of thing (re: good colleges in bad areas), and I'd like to learn more here. But I have two overall, uninformed "thoughts" so far: One is that we can't really say what these areas would be like without the presence of the colleges. They could be worse off. However, my second thought is that I'm sure the presence of big, beautiful college campuses, and the sight of privileged young adults there on campus, closed off from the "badness" of the neighborhood, doesn't put a great taste in the mouth of those in the actual city, living in squalor and/or living amongst crime. I'm sure there's resentment there, and whether or not that accounts for additional crime I can't say.

However, I think there should be a moral responsibility for universities that take up residence in poorer, disadvantaged areas to give back to the community. I think Fordham did this to an extent, but again, I need to do more digging around here.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/13/2012 9:21:08 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Deeeepressing
Back when I attended City College in NYC in the (gulp!) 70s, it too was located in a dangerous neighborhood. It was also fairly risky on certain parts of the campus. But the school itself was delightful -- lovely old buildings. (Remember the old movie with Ryan O'Neill, "Love Story"? That was filmed in Shepherd Hall, one of the great old buildings there.

Still, the surrounding neighborhood was an issue. There were lots of muggings and even the occasional violent crime against students, teachers, or administrators. Packs of stray dogs roamed the campus.

An odd combination. I am not certain how the school is faring today. I know the surrounding area has undergone an enormous renaissance.

 Bottom line? The presence or absence of a big university doesn't seem to make much of a difference on a neighborhood.

Hazel
Hazel  
12/13/2012 12:30:23 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Sad cities of failure
I agree that this is a nice yet utterly depressing and through-provoking slideshow. I'd like to think that there are really no failed cities, as you both have mentioned. Although they might be failing, they really do not hit rock bottom until the people who are running it and who make up its population give up and just 'settle' to the type of life and city they have, which is not ideal at all.

Fact of the matter is, there are things that can be done. There are things that should be done, and in time, they should get done with the right people at the helm.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/12/2012 6:04:11 PM
User Rank Staff
Deeeepressing
Nice/depressing slideshow, Mary.

Things sound to be especially bad for Atlantic City, already struggling before getting hit by the storm.

The New Haven/Yale example you cite here reminds me of going to school at beautiful Fordham University in a dangerous, crime-ridden area of the Bronx. The campus was like a dream, and totally safe, but every semester students got reminder after reminder about the potential horrors of leaving the Fordham gates. I wonder what these areas would be like without these major Universities... does their presence make much of a difference? I can't tell.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 10:35:38 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Sad cities of failure
Oh dear. I'm up against my own geographic ignorance here. I'll do some research to repent of that. ;>

Toby
Toby  
12/12/2012 9:15:56 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Sad cities of failure
@Mary: It is famous for having a lighted tower and being on the coast....no, not London.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 9:08:45 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Sad cities of failure
PS: Now I MUST ask, which city in the UK were you referencing?

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/12/2012 9:06:52 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Sad cities of failure
Great point about Newark, Toby. And I agree: Failing isn't "failed." The danger lies when governments give up on a city. At that point, the problems can escalate from neglect, as you point out.

Ignoring the problem because it seems overwhelming only makes it worse.

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