Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"SONY" ain't "NoMA"

According to news reports ("13 people shot in a D.C. neighborhood with a violent past and a future in flux" from the Post), there was a drive by shooting in front of Tyler House early Monday morning, just after 2:10am.  Tyler House is public housing.  It's located at the southwest corner of North Capitol and New York Avenue, and bounded by M Street NW on the south side.

It's located in by no means in a "gentrifying" area, although it is across the street from the NoMA district, which lies on the eastern side of North Capitol Street.  This area is part of the long term "Northwest One" revitalization project, the first project from the "New Communities" initiative, a kind of local HOPEVI rebuilding program that was one of Mayor Williams last ideas (from 2005-2006).

I don't think that entertainment venues are incompatible with urban mixed use districts, cf. from the Post article:

“The nightclubs are incompatible with the neighborhood,” said D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who is chairman of the public safety committee. He noted that the building occupied by the Fur Nightclub has been sold and that its future is in doubt.

But I do think that if you're leaving such clubs late at night, it makes good sense to not cross North Capitol Street and amble around Tyler House or Sursum Corda.

The New York Avenue-North Capitol Street intersection is not a good one. Note that when you see lots of people congregating in places in the city late at night, it shouldn't be seen as an invitation to stop and visit, but more as a warning to stay away.

Let's just say that awhile ago, the area around the 9:30 Club looked nothing like this (left).

And it's not clear to me that the drive by shooting had anything to do with the entertainment venue anyway.

But when it comes to identifying (re)"new"(ed) places, the NoMA business district is concerned that people might think it's a dangerous place.  See the WBJ article "NoMA BID responds to drive by shooting."

I wouldn't see why people would think these two areas are connected, even though it is true that they are very much proximate.

In short, what I might call the SONY district -- "South of New York" Avenue -- is nothing like the NoMA district -- North of Massachusetts Avenue.

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At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are being logical, which does not fit into the lazy framework of the Washington Post.

In years past, anything bad in DC was described as being X number of miles (or blocks) from the White House, or the Capitol. Today everything bad must be linked to gentrification, even when the link is tenuous or virtually nonexistant. It may seem comforting to be able to explain away every ill, but if it isn't realistic what good does it do?

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

"The three sisters went to ladies’ night at Fur Nightclub in the District, as they had virtually every Sunday night, walking two blocks from their apartment in Tyler House to listen to go-go music and wrap up a busy week of school and work."

"The mother said her daughters, ages 18, 19 and 20, are recovering from groin, knee, leg and hip wounds."

1. Maybe, just maybe, they should be home on sunday BEFORE the work week.

2. Yes, the area around 9:30 club has improved. It improved tremedously when Republic Gardens was shut down, and it will improve more once you shut down several other low-life places in the area (bohehmian caverns and 1920).

3. Yes, the post has a frame, although I am not sure that DC gentrication is really one of their top three. I do remember that 10 years ago covering the outer suburbs was, so it is very much within reason to cover gentrifacation.

Really, one of the most bizzare DC phenemons is that streets can change within a few blocks. I guess it is related to people hanging out on their porches.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I was looking at Detroit housing prices, and the price of my old house from 1967, because I saw a mention of my old neighborhood in an old piece on Christian Science Monitor.

When you drive down East Jefferson, when you cross the border from the City of Detroit to Grosse Pointe, it is like night and day difference, from one side of the street to another.

But yes, wrt clubs and such, when the patrons come from a demographic prone to violence, gun possession etc., things can be very problematic.

E.g., while I have never been impressed with Go Go music, I remember when places would ban Go Go concerts, because some of the patrons could get violent and things would escalate, get out of hand.


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