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.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Two great newspaper series on poverty: WIlmington, DE and Fayetteville, NC

I think I mentioned the series in the Wilmington (Delaware) News Journal on the West Center City neighborhood in Wilmington, a neighborhood not unlike Sandtown-Overton in Baltimore, where poverty has remained entrenched.

-- "West Center City struggles as violence continues"
-- "Decades of revitalization plans haven't diminished violence"
-- "Semi-automatics key factor in Wilmington violence"
-- "Community groups could be West Center City's salvation"

This article preceded the series, but is related:

-- "Violence chases day care from Wilmington neighborhood"

Also in December, the Fayetteville Observer published a great series on the subject as well.

-- Special Report: Poverty's Price

There are eleven articles in the series, which is impressive.  I still have to work through the pieces, but the fact that the newspaper dedicated the resources to producing them is remarkable.

Fred Siegel--I like his writing especially The Future Once Happened Here and his discussion of what he calls the entitlement economy ("3 ways big cities go bad," Arizona Republic--wrote a piece in the City Journal decrying the return of what he called "the riot ideology" in the TFOHH.  A shorter version, "New riot ideology: Results through coercion," was published in the Orange County Register).

I am not sure I agree with his current argument, because I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement has a legitimate argument about what for three decades I've called "the coercive power of the state," especially in how poor African-Americans are spatially segregated, subjugated generally, and killed by police with impunity, even if I believe, at least at this point in the movement, they are a bit too apologetic about crime and criminals ("Black Lives Matter should also take on 'black-on-black crime," Washington Post).

(At a meal with Suzanne's parents and some of their friends, I got into an argument about the validity and importance of the Black Live Matters protest, and how yes, people like Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson were deliberate actors who furthered or attempted to further segregation and white dominance and they shouldn't necessarily be venerated with streets and schools named after them. I got the "state rights" argument in return. I merely said, we still haven't stopped fighting the Civil War.)

I was reading through Professor G. William Domhoff's companion website to his seminal work Power in America, now in its 7th edition.  Mostly I was reading his articles related to power at the local level, and was pleased to see he strongly favors the Growth Machine/Growth Coalition thesis. His writing though is pretty brutal about the conflict between the liberal-labor coalition and capital.

Anyway, I will have to read much more deeply into his ouevre.  I've known about his work for a long time but haven't really read it, much to my chagrin especially now.

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At 12:19 PM, Blogger dan reed! said...

Funny you mention Fayetteville - my stepfather grew up in a small town 45 minutes from there and I just came back from spending Christmas there. Poverty is deeply entrenched in that whole region and very closely tied to race as well. I'll have to check this series out!

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

RE: Civil War. That comment grates on my historical analogy sense. We may be fighting Reconstruction over and over again but I don't see much argument on the right of states to leave the union.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

maybe not to leave the Union, but to disconnect from everything else, e.g., Medicaid coverage for the poor; abortion rights; EPA regulation (Mitch McConnell's statement), etc.

The original states rights argument wasn't about leaving the Union, but about the legality of slavery.

I believe we are Americans first and citizens of states second.

Your rights as a citizen shouldn't be circumscribed because you live in a particular state (e.g., slave state vs. a free state).

The Calhoun states rights argument is the basis of the current anti-federal philosophies, statements, and actions today.'+rights+doctrine

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

OK. I've been thinking about this for a few days. You are right that I am mischaracterizing the Civil War as continuing, provided that we accept that the war was only about "states as sovereign" with the "right" to secede from the Union.

And I have to concede that while I consider Robert E. Lee a traitor to the USA and not deserving of all the accolades, in 1861 the idea of states as superior polities, to some extent superior to the US as a nation-state, was still prevalent given how the colonies were created as provinces of England, and there wasn't a union or confederation of the North American provinces separate from the direct relationship of colonies to England.

So it would be reasonable to think of yourself as a citizen of a state first and the Union second.


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