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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Charlotte and St. Louis / Change and Gentrification

Every once in a while, something so cool comes out on the interwebs that it simply must be bookmarked and spread to others who will appreciate it. I guess this is the essence of the "viral video".

The video shows Charlotte, North Carolina in its pre-growth spurt at the late 20th century into the current century--and beyond. The rapidity of change in Charlotte is almost frightening. This reminded me of how slow St. Louis's physical change has been over the past 20-30 years. Sure, quite a bit has been demolished, but not a lot has been put back in. Our video below would certainly be less flashy and interesting using the same time period. But has its social landscape shifted as rapidly; has it been gentrified?

As a quick reminder, City Affair will be discussing Gentrification at its monthly meeting tomorrow, Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 7:30pm. The location is the STYLEhouse at 3155 Cherokee Street, the new digs of local clothing maker STL-Style. For a link to the event with more information, including speakers, please click here.

But if you'd like to watch Charlotte evolve, click below now. Thanks to Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council for covering this on his blog! Full-screen, with sound, would be best.

Metropolis by Rob Carter - Last 3 minutes from Rob Carter on Vimeo.


mbrewer said...

That was awesome! Thank you for taking the time to share..

ribkaw said...

The systemic gentrification of the Northside is probably one of the worst cases since Urban Renewal. Years of disinvestment by the City resulting in abusive blighting and demolition practices has robbed the North Side and it's citizens of their historic and cultural significance.

The abominal destruction of beautiful architecture should incense the entire country for these properties are our national treasures.

I recently stayed on Capitol Hill and recalled the era when it was predominantly African-Americans and set the precedence for "in the overall good of the public". Although the people were gentrified the dwellings remained soundly in tact and now are economically out of reach for the average working class Washingtonian.

Capitol Hill is now occupied by predominantly White, Ivy League, higher income folks and features all the amenties of the highest quality of life, that the former occupants could only dream of and now work as servants where their ancestors once lived. Such is the case in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, Old Town Alexander and now the near SE, NW & NE sides of DC.

Such plans are underway for the North Side of STL, however, the incessant institutional and systemic racism perpetuated the dismantling of historical edices leaving the City at a disadvantage not experienced by other gentrified areas. Our message to the City of STL and all hopefuls is not this time...not off our backs!

Alex Ihnen said...

ribkaw -

North St. Louis has not been gentrified by any established definition. Wealthier, likely white college-educated residents would need to be moving in. While Old North may be welcoming some that fit that description, the rest of North St. Louis is not. What North St. Louis continues to experience is disinvestment and neglect, not gentrification.

Alex Ihnen said...

By the way, how many stadiums has Charlotte built!?!?

STLgasm said...

I have been to Charlotte, and while the city seems to be growing and prosperous, St. Louis has more urban character in one block than Charlotte has in its entire metro area.

Charlotte has some good things going for it, but no thank you-- I'll keep the Red Brick Mama.

ribkaw said...

Alan, I stated, "systemic" gentrification which began 20+ yrs. ago in NS. I don't think you're correct in your assumption that the rest of NS doesn't welcome wealthier, "college educated" Whites. ONSL appears to be more diverse because historically Whites settled in this community. I've heard accountings that not so long ago Blacks weren't allowed to enter the front entrance of Crown Candy.

Areas of Atlanta have been gentrified by wealthy, college educated Blacks. We oppose unchecked gentrification by anyone. Sustainable communities can be achieved w/o gentrifying the indigenous out into the inner rings & exurbs.

In the case of the STL region unprecedented sprawl and exclusionary zoning policies have prohibited the development of affordable multifamily housing. There isn't an infrastructure in tact to absorb the gentrification of lower income households. For instance, a poor public transit system.

STL isn't nationally known as the most segregated City in the nation for no reason.

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