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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Churchly blight

A few years ago I finally figured out why many inner city churches didn't work at revitalizing neighborhoods, but at acquiring property--if they improved neighborhoods, properties would cost more, and then the churches could no longer afford to buy more properties because of increased demand.

I have Pilgrim Baptist Church at 7th and I Streets NE to thank for helping me to figure this out.

I mention this because today's District Extra has a cover story about DC Government finally getting on Shiloh Baptist Church to maintain various properties that they own, properties that because of the failure of the Church to properly steward their properties, contribute to neighborhood destabilization, not improvement. See "Condemning a Church's Properties," subtitled "Two-Decade Campaign to Get Dilapidated Buildings Repaired Gains Momentum" from the Washington Post.

Related pieces from the blog include:

-- Losing my religion: Shiloh Baptist Church and Neighborhood Destabilization
-- Squalor is the disease, I'm the cure (part one)
-- More about churches
-- Religion and politics and neighborhood improvement
-- Faith based profits

I resent the pastor complaining about new residents. Neighborhood improvement isn't about ignoring squalor--new residents or old.

-- More about Contested Space--"Gentrification"
-- Community Preservation and Gentrification
-- Gentrification article in USA Today (about Lance Freeman's work)
-- David Nicholson's Outlook Piece on Gentrification
-- The Onion on the process of neighborhood change
-- Historic Preservation in Low Income Neighborhoods
-- Revitalizing places that are contested spaces

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