Rezoning in Inwood

I found an article online from, Ahead of Rezoning Hearing, Inwood Groups Release Merged Platform. It was written in February about a  community plan for rezoning in Inwood, a neighborhood in uptown Manhattan. Abigail Savitch-Lew writes that the “Uptown United Platform, is a 16-page document that reacts to the Economic Development Corporation’s proposed rezoning of Inwood and proposes an alternative plan”. She goes on to talk about how this is the collective effort of many neighborhood community groups by name. She also talks about how much of the alternate plan is designed to protect current tenants and community interests. She also discusses how some parts of the plan can be taken positively or negatively by the mayor’s office. Part of the plan includes rezoning plans, and a big emphasis on “creating truly affordable and ‘community-controlled’ new housing on community land trusts, protecting small businesses, strengthening neighborhood infrastructure and making the neighborhood climate resilient”. From the other end, Savitch-Lew also addresses the plans of the original rezoning plan proposers, the Economic Development Corporation, which they say took into account a lot of community input. The alternate rezoning plan says that this isn’t as true, and that there wasn’t much plan to incorporate community input as heavily as suggested, saying that the “EDC had an idea of the general shape its final rezoning would take long before the final plan came out”. It’s quite interesting to see how these two plans interact with each other.

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Gentrification May Not Be So Bad for Small Businesses

I found a recent Forbes article from last November, “Does Gentrification Help Or Harm Small Businesses?” by Chad Otar that discusses how small businesses can be affected by gentrification in neighborhoods like those we’ve discussed in class such as Harlem and Williamsburg. Since we’ve typically looked at gentrification as harmful for small businesses so far in our discussions on displacement, it’s interesting to see an article talking about how it may not be harmful and could even be advantageous. Otar brings up that “the majority of small businesses continued to operate after gentrification was up and running”. He also discusses how small businesses should go about using gentrification in neighborhoods to their advantage, and what to consider when moving forward. This includes things like how much business owners should be able to shoot up prices for new richer consumers, as well as considerations like how much rent will be going up, and whether it’s worth it or not to continuing business in the area.

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Little Countries in Old Neighborhoods

I found a video on YouTube about an elderly African American woman, Mrs. Loretta, who shows viewers around her Brooklyn neighborhood of Boerum Hill and discusses how much has changed since she was younger and since gentrification began. She starts by talking about how it used to be in the neighborhood. She says that it was “like a little country” and that everything anyone needed was within a few blocks. 

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The Consequences of Urban Planning

            I found a recent article about recent gentrification in Denver, Colorado, and how intended plans to preserve a neighborhood have unintended consequences of forcing out the population. As we know, gentrification is a very pressing issue that relates to the ideas we’ve been looking at in our class of people being unfairly relocated as a result of urban planning. Interestingly enough, although we’ve been talking a lot about gentrification in our own city, we haven’t discussed problems that arise in other communities as much. This gentrification in Denver, is just another recent example of gentrification, and it talks about how although efforts have been made to preserve the neighborhoods, the same efforts haven’t been made to preserve the people living there. This goes to show, that this is still a problem and not just in our city. I chose this article because it was relatively recent, written within the past month, which emphasizes that this is still happening. Continue reading “The Consequences of Urban Planning”

Contrasting Views on Robert Moses, and His Impact on Staten Island

As we look around our city, and take in its grand structures and majesty, we can accredit much of it to Robert Moses, a 20th century “building maestro” who led expansions across all 5 boroughs, making a huge impact on its development. Although he has done a lot to build up our city, he’s also been known to be a pretty controversial figure. He is referred to as “the greatest builder in American history” but also as an “evil genius”. In ‘Robert Moses and the Rise of New York: The Power Broker in Perspective’ Kenneth T. Jackson goes on to defend Moses from many of the negative claims made by Robert A. Caro. He mentions that many of Moses’ accomplishments weren’t positively received at first, since they were seemingly too sacrificial of other things, until the benefits of his plans were reaped. Many people also blame him for things that weren’t his fault, but at the same time he is responsible for many harsh things, such as efforts to clear slums to make luxury apartments and medical and cultural centers, devastating lower income families (Jackson 69). As a Staten Islander, born and raised, I was curious as to how his work affected Staten Island, positively or negatively, how people received his ideas during his time and how it has been looked at in retrospect.

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