Partners
HOME    BLOGS    BLOGGERS    MESSAGES    VIDEO    AUDIO    REPORTS    RESEARCH    WEBINARS

Harlem Inspires, Despite Opposition

Threaded    Newest First    Oldest First
Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/15/2013 11:04:51 AM
User Rank Blogger
keeping the character
As long as gentrification doesn't erase the character and roots of the neighborhood, it's hard to argue against it. But it's seem so often that long-time residents don't get an opportunity to stay. The new economics of an upwardly-mobile district push them out.

How do you balance the two?

It would be ironic, and a huge loss, if the history that put Harlem on the map and its racial mix -- it's African-American heritage -- got slowly wiped out in the process. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/15/2013 11:10:28 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
Frankly, I don't think that Harlem is losing or likely to lose its roots. After all, that's part of the historic charm and draw of the district.

That said, residents' say in how their community is shaped going forward appears to be an issue. Case in point: The renovation of certain landmark sites. In the case of one famous bar, the original facade was destroyed, although the signage was retained.

There's a metaphor there, I think.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
1/15/2013 11:21:39 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: keeping the character
Yes, that's an interesting metaphor.

I guess by "character" I was also thinking the diversity of the population. A neighborhood's vibrancy is more than just beautiful building and historical plaques -- although that makes a lovely base to start from.

 

 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/15/2013 11:24:40 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
I don't think Harlem will lose its diversity. I really don't. The reason is that by now, the district has established an identity that is part of its attraction.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/16/2013 9:46:50 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
I provided a good example of something that's happening in Harlem that will help it keep its character. However, to Susan's point and concern, it's worth noting that I see many of my friends in their 20s -- young, white people, just starting to earn an income -- moving to Harlem because it's much cheaper to live there for more space than you'd get elsewhere in the city. So does that influx of young, white professionals threaten the culture? As real estate goes up everywhere else in the city, and Harlem becomes more appealing to people in the demographic I describe because they know others like them are living in the area... is there cause for concern? The other issue is that it's not as if these people will stay in Harlem, for the most part. They will move there for as long as it takes them to be able to afford to live elsewhere, and then they will leave. I doubt that's something that's well received by true Harlem residents.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/16/2013 10:19:16 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
Good point. Still, as the young upwardly mobile leave, others will take their place. That should help improve the quality of services in the area. Residents can't argue against that entirely.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
1/19/2013 4:50:14 PM
User Rank City Slicker
Re: keeping the character
It is nice for Harlem to be improved, but do not destroy the Apollo Theater, Slyvia's Restuarant or the beautiful African American History Museum!

stotheco
stotheco  
1/19/2013 11:49:22 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: keeping the character
I agree; I'd hate to see some people try to 'restore' these structures and ruin them instead in the process.

samicksha
samicksha  
1/16/2013 4:26:06 AM
User Rank City Slicker
Re: keeping the character
Harlem suffers from unemployment rates higher than the New York average and high mortality rates as well. In both cases, the numbers for men have been consistently worse than the numbers for women. Unemployment and poverty in the neighborhood resisted private and governmental initiatives to ameliorate them. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/16/2013 9:24:37 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
These are sobering statistics. It is interesting that in a neighborhood surrounded by a large city with many resources, the numbers could be so distinct.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/15/2013 4:46:40 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
I do think there's a fine line between saving the neighborhood and erasing the character.

One way to avoid it is by enhancing the neighborhood with programs and services that have the culture at its core. For example, I was taking piano lessons for a couple of years in Spanish Harlem at the Boys & Girls Harbor. Read their mission statement and you'll see why it's a positive example here. Walking through the school, you see evidence of, and educational materials about, African American and Hispanic musical culture. This beautiful school for musicians stayed very true to the culture of the neighborhood in which it sits.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/16/2013 9:29:16 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
What a terrific place! I've already chosen my adult classes for Sunday. I wish I lived closer so I could actually attend them! This school is an excellent example of how location and inspiration can help boost specific community needs.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
1/16/2013 9:40:32 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: keeping the character
It's definitely a great place. I so enjoyed it. They often have performances on evenings and weekends, so hopefully one of your next trips to NYC will allow you to attend and check out the school and musical culture there.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/25/2013 10:40:36 AM
User Rank Staff
This just in....
A wining development bid has stirred up a mare's nest in Harlem. Apparently, housing is at the heart of it.

research
Smart City Money Makers
companies and solutions that are most prominent, and destined to be most profitable, in the smart city revolution.
How to Make Your City Smarter
Cities all over the world need to become smarter and more sustainable. But where to start? Download this guide to learn the first, proven steps toward making your city smarter.
all research
quick poll
Join the discussion
All polls
twitter feed
Future Cities Twitter Feed
follow us on facebook
Site Moderators
Future Cities is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@ubmfuturecities.com
directory
Designed to provide the people with access to green building products all year round
connect to us
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2014 UBM,
All rights reserved.