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Back From Blight: 10 Cities Intent on a Better Future

Mary Jander, Managing Editor, Future Cities
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 09:00 EST

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robgroh
robgroh  
11/25/2013 7:10:47 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: City Blight
The city's use of image fillers for abandoned tenements really didn't have an impact, other than keeping the yuppies heading for New England from seeing the full extent of South Bronx's blight.

What had the most effect, and actually has started the revitalization of the Bronx, is Manhattan's need for affordable feeder neighborhoods to house the city's worker bees.  The South Bronx is a half-hour subway ride from Times Square.

richheap
richheap  
11/25/2013 5:24:18 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: City Blight
Thanks Rob. This reminds me of initiatives when local authorities attempt to cover up how many empty shops there are in their area by plastering images of happy, thriving shops on the shopfront. Did it actually make any difference in the Bronx?

robgroh
robgroh  
11/24/2013 10:17:23 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: City Blight
As an expat New Yorker and Bronx native, now currently watching the grass compete with the corn in Columbus, Ohio, I can attest to the odd use of the 'Broken Windows' theory in the long history of the South Bronx skid into blight.  Given that the Cross Bronx Expressway slices neatly through the South Bronx, blocks and blocks of abandoned pre-war tenement buildings were exposed to all of the traffic on I95 heading for greener pastures.  In its infinite wisdom, during the 70's, the city decided to front all of the broken window frames with printed pictures of perfect casements and glass.

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
11/21/2013 3:08:34 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: City Blight
I totally understand, thank you for your responses.

richheap
richheap  
11/21/2013 10:25:47 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: City Blight
@Davedgreat2000: I'll butt in here because it seems relevant to mention "broken windows theory". This theory refers to the correlation between crime and urban blight; and focuses on the idea that one broken window in an area can attract other crime or antisocial behaviour to an area, and then criminality in that area escalates. The idea is that tackling small issues now can help prevent bigger problems happening in future.

That's a very short summary of the idea, but here's a link to an article in the Guardian that explains more.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/21/2013 10:22:28 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: City Blight
@Daved: Crime is part of the definition of blight. I think you'll find any blighted area reporting higher crime. As people move out and abandon a city area, they often do so after experiencing higher crime. More crime follows, and the police start abandoning the area. One thing follows another.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/21/2013 10:20:55 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Interesting UK selections
I've got my eye on Glasgow too, Rich. It's definitely focused intently on using technology to improve the overall quality of life. Worth following closely.

There is also a starchitect-driven renewal of the docksides underway that's captured international attention.

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
11/21/2013 9:10:53 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: City Blight
@Mary, Stats related to Crime vs. Blighted areas. in other words does more blighted areas of a city have more crime as opposed to places that are not?

richheap
richheap  
11/21/2013 6:54:20 AM
User Rank Staff
Interesting UK selections
This is an interesting list, Mary. I particularly like the inclusion of Glasgow and Belfast, both cities that have an intimidating reputation before you actually get there.

You mentioned technology in your rundown for Glasgow, which is good because the city is doing some exciting things. In January, it was chosen as a demonstrator city for "future cities" technologies by the UK government's Technology Strategy Board. I'm keeping an eye on what the city's up to as they should start to get results for some of these projects soon.

And, as for Belfast, I went there a few times a year during my time at Property Week. The city centre is pretty small, but it's such an interesting place and I'd love to go back soon. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/20/2013 4:29:15 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: City Blight
Thanks, Daved. Not clear on what stats you're looking for here. Do you mean how widespread blight is, as evidenced in abandoned buildings, etc? Interesting.

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