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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.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Three interesting articles

1. Starbucks opens a store in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn as part of their social impact initiative ("Brooklyn and gentrification: Will Bed-Stuy feel the ‘Starbucks effect’ from new coffee shop?," AMNewYork).

The company has a director of social impact, Rodney Hines, and they've opened similar stores in Jamaica, Queens, Ferguson, Missouri, central Phoenix, Chicago’s Southside, East Baltimore and Long Beach, California. Plus they've committed to a job training program, although most of the people working in this particular store, although they live in the neighborhood, have already been working for the company, just at different stores.

2. The renaissance of Washington, through the lens of 14th Street NW, is the cover story of the April issue of Washingtonian Magazine ("The Reinvention of 14th Street: A History | Fifty years after burning in the riots, 14th Street is a glittering stretch of gentrified DC. For better or worse, here's how it happened).

It reads quite well and has a great set of images.

My first job in DC in the late 1980s was two blocks from this area, which was gnarly.  I would go down there sometimes to the post office, or to a low cost grocery around 15th and P Streets.  In 2006, after a meeting at the Reeves Center, walking with someone to the McPherson Square Metrorail station, I couldn't believe how different the street was in terms of people ("white people") walking along, on every block of our trip.

3. I've been meaning to mention a Shelterforce article ("Could Gentrification Be Changing D.C. Schools for the Better?") on Washington DC schools, where the authors opine that demographic improvement in neighborhoods will in turn improve the schools. I think the researchers missed the point. Of course, high income areas have "good schools" because they are dealing with privileged matériel. Improvements to the schools in low income neighborhoods that remain low income aren't really happening as discussed in this 2017 blog entry, "Fawning coverage of DC school "reform" doesn't push better practice forward."

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