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Old 05-04-2018, 05:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
No, I will not be specific. I'm not going to engage you. It's always pointless.

I'll answer one question for you: I do not see any neighborhoods nowadays that are even remotely similar to what Buttermilk Bottom was then.
Well, good to know you see no neighborhoods today that you want to level and I am going to assume you do not have any real criteria for past neighborhoods you support destroying either. I can understand being disturbed by scenes of poverty and wanting to do something about it. I just hope you can learn to appreciate (especially with the gift of hindsight) that Urban Renewal / outright destruction of neighborhoods is not the solution or even part of the solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
But, suffice to ask, if someone is given something good, and they turn it into something bad, then was giving them something good a mistake?
This seems very vague. I am going to assume you are not implying that public housing is good thing and minorities / the poor made it bad. But clarification is required.
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Old 05-04-2018, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Atlanta and St Simons Island, GA
20,895 posts, read 32,882,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
I'll answer one question for you: I do not see any neighborhoods nowadays that are even remotely similar to what Buttermilk Bottom was then.
You can still see them in more rural communities, but they, too, are fading away...thank God.
Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
But, suffice to ask, if someone is given something good, and they turn it into something bad, then was giving them something good a mistake?
No, but the fly in the ointment was not giving the community a sense of being invested. The city seemed to figure this out when they reinvented East Lake Meadows (aka Little Vietnam); their new approach to subsidized housing was quite different the second time around.

"In many ways, the redevelopment of the East Lake neighborhood is a remarkable success story. In the early 1990s East Lake, which is located five miles east of downtown Atlanta, was one of the poorest and most violent communities in the city, the anchor of which was the East Lake Meadows public housing project. Bobby Jones’s home course had fallen into disrepair alongside the community. Beginning in 1993, however, Tom Cousins, a wealthy real estate developer with a passion for golf, realized that he could bring the golf course back to championship grade and use the course’s revitalization as a catalyst to lift the community out of poverty. Thus began a redevelopment process that has presently made East Lake the home of the state’s highest ranked charter school, a 50/50 market-rate and publicly assisted housing community, a YMCA, an early learning center, a grocery store, and a well-endowed and community-focused foundation.

Yet for all its success, East Lake’s story serves more as a model of community replacement than community development. The poor being served at East Lake today are not the same kind of poor who were forced to live in an underfunded and underpoliced East Lake Meadows. The poor who inhabit the new East Lake meet requirements that include having a full time job and a clean criminal record. Almost 90 percent of the poor who lived in the old East Lake were unemployed, and the neighborhood’s crime rate was eighteen times the national average. Those poor, like many of the thousands that inhabited severely distressed public housing units in the 1990s, either happily left their bleak living conditions in search of a safer community, or watched from afar as their public housing developments were demolished and the redeveloped mixed-income community welcomed a more “deserving” poor."


https://www.atlantastudies.org/a-pur...-lake-meadows/
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:00 PM
 
4,240 posts, read 2,816,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
hope you can learn to appreciate (especially with the gift of hindsight) that Urban Renewal / outright destruction of neighborhoods is not the solution or even part of the solution.
Nope...and I'll explain why below.

Quote:
This seems very vague. I am going to assume you are not implying that public housing is good thing and minorities / the poor made it bad. But clarification is required.
Let's say you have a guy. He's not doing well in life. Very poor, unable to make ends meet, and lives in squalor. But, he's not unhappy. As his employer, you see his plight. You feel he is a good worker, and you give him some more responsibility and a raise. It's quite a bit of extra money for him. Instead of taking his new income and renting a nicer place or eating better food, he takes it and buys drugs and a gun which he then uses to rob convenience stores.

Is it your fault as his employer for making his life actually worse by giving him a raise, enabling him to get high and become an armed robber? Or is it his fault for not taking the new opportunity put in front of him and using it wisely?

Providing new housing was not the problem. There were numerous other factors which led to the downfall.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:17 PM
 
9,907 posts, read 6,891,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
Nope...and I'll explain why below.



Let's say you have a guy. He's not doing well in life. Very poor, unable to make ends meet, and lives in squalor. But, he's not unhappy. As his employer, you see his plight. You feel he is a good worker, and you give him some more responsibility and a raise. It's quite a bit of extra money for him. Instead of taking his new income and renting a nicer place or eating better food, he takes it and buys drugs and a gun which he then uses to rob convenience stores.

Is it your fault as his employer for making his life actually worse by giving him a raise, enabling him to get high and become an armed robber? Or is it his fault for not taking the new opportunity put in front of him and using it wisely?

Providing new housing was not the problem. There were numerous other factors which led to the downfall.
I am not really getting the comparison.

Giving someone money to use as they see fit is something I support (Universal Basic Income) as a solution to poverty.

What is "Urban Renewal" and "Public Housing" in your comparison? If you went and bulldozed his house and let him move into your newly updated guest bedroom then I might see it more. (And no, I do not think it makes it OK to bulldoze his house against his will even if you let him move into your guest room).

The problem is not proving new housing, it is the destruction of existing housing, neighborhoods, and communities that caused the issues.

Concentrated poverty in public housing was flawed on its own, but creating public housing is still a separate conversation from "Urban Renewal". You can offer public housing without leveling existing neighborhoods. We are debating the destruction of neighborhoods.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:29 PM
 
4,240 posts, read 2,816,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
I am not really getting the comparison.
Honestly, I never expected you to.

The main question: if someone takes something good offered to them, and turns it into something bad, was the thing never good to begin with?

Quote:
The problem is not proving new housing, it is the destruction of existing housing, neighborhoods, and communities that caused the issues.
So, what you're saying is that neighborhoods and communities should be able to decide for themselves how their communities remain or are developed?

Quote:
Concentrated poverty in public housing was flawed on its own, but creating public housing is still a separate conversation from "Urban Renewal" You can offer public housing without leveling existing neighborhoods. We are debating the destruction of neighborhoods.
Well, I guess we'll just disagree on what is an acceptable level of squalor in a city. I guess you would be fine living in or near it. Most probably would not. There is a level at which it becomes unacceptable.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:52 PM
 
9,907 posts, read 6,891,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
Honestly, I never expected you to.
The condescension is not needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
The main question: if someone takes something good offered to them, and turns it into something bad, was the thing never good to begin with?
It is really too abstract of a question for me to say. It depends on the situation, but good intentions alone are often not enough, especially if you have the gift of hindsight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
So, what you're saying is that neighborhoods and communities should be able to decide for themselves how their communities remain or are developed?
I am saying neighborhoods should not be outright destroyed because outsiders are offend by the way they look. I certainly would not construe that as support for denying property owners rights to develop their home in a more urban style if that is where you are trying to take it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiwas1 View Post
Well, I guess we'll just disagree on what is an acceptable level of squalor in a city. I guess you would be fine living in or near it. Most probably would not. There is a level at which it becomes unacceptable.
This debate was never about what is "an acceptable level of squalor", it is about if "Urban Renewal" / outright destruction of the neighborhoods is a good with to improve the situation. It is not.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:18 PM
 
28,104 posts, read 24,632,008 times
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The thing about Buttermilk Bottom, yes, for sure the construction was totally substandard. The buildings were decrepit and the streets weren't paved.

However, from talking to residents and reading about it, seeing it with my own eyes and seeing some of the art that it produced, it's equally clear that the folks who lived there nonetheless managed to forge a vibrant and successful community. Against all the odds. That also deserves some respect.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:11 PM
 
27,713 posts, read 24,737,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
I don't think it is the case that all those houses would have been torn down regardless. They look like much of the same housing stock that still exists in neighborhoods like Old Fourth Ward, Sweet Auburn, and Cabbagetown.
You are correct on that point and I'm going to backtrack a little here. Certainly urban Black neighborhoods of that era had their fair share of substandard housing, but that doesn't mean they were all beyond repair. The issue is that many Blacks didn't have the means to pay for repairs since they lacked access to resources which would have helped them do just that. I recalled an article I read about urban renewal in Columbia, SC which was very enlightening. It mentioned that what was considered "blight" during that time was based on a set of criteria established by all-White commissions devoted to fighting blight, and this criteria resulted in the vast majority of houses in Black urban neighborhoods being deemed as blighted and as a result, they were slated for demolition. In Columbia, USC was a major player in urban renewal but the result was the same in places where the city was largely responsible. That said, there were also some non-blighted properties that got scooped up and met the wrecking ball also. America had much less regard for historic structures in that era which is just unfortunate.

Whether Buttermilk Bottom was truly a slum beyond salvaging or if most houses could reasonably have been fixed up, we can agree that it was part of a triple whammy for Black folks: having to live in significantly substandard housing or housing that wasn't up to code but could have reasonably been brought up to code with access to proper resources; being shut out of the wealth-building opportunities associated with issuance of government-backed low-interest housing loans; and being relegated to public housing which, in combination with other factors, became breeding grounds for crime and social dysfunction. Those were structural issues which continue to have present and continuing (negative) effects not just for Black people but for society at large.

Quote:
The bigger picture is that "Urban Renewal" / leveling these neighborhoods did not make things better for these people. It only saved white / wealthier folks from having to look at it and gave politicians an excuse to take the land they wanted for their pet projects.
Surely that's a major component of the bigger picture which has many moving parts, all working together to disenfranchise Black and poor people. But in a capitalistic society, being excluded from the broadbased wealth-building process from the very beginning really stands out. I believe there would have still been large-scale residential segregation and homes in Black neighborhoods would have still been valued lower than those in most White neighborhoods due to other ways which would have been devised to resist integration, but I believe we would have been farther ahead today in terms of wealth and there would have been healthier social cohesion in Black neighborhoods.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Georgia native in McKinney, TX
6,891 posts, read 9,584,447 times
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The truth is cities change. Peachtree was lined with mansions from just north of downtown. A couple still exist but the vast majority faced the wrecking ball and bulldozer as well. There are forces that change neighborhoods. We did have a past mindset that liked a more wholescale level and rebuild mentality. Within the last several decades preservation movements have taken hold in all cities to preserve the past and I think we all agree that is a good thing.

That the mansion owners on Peachtree could sell at a premium and move up to Buckhead vs the Buttermilk Bottom dweller not having that opportunity is the main discussion here. Because a group of people bloomed where they were planted and made a neighborhood thrive that otherwise was not fit for habitation is no reason to believe it should have been preserved. Had not Atlanta been a growing city and land like this have a high dollar value for other purposes, I doubt a neighborhood with this level of housing would have kept its vibrancy anyway.

I look at the west side of Hogansville, my hometown. Many of those same type of dwellings have been demolished. A formerly dense neighborhood is full of vacant lots and appears almost rural from many vantage points. There was no demand in Hogansville to have a modern Civic center in the mid century or any other impetus to wipe a neighborhood off a map. Left to its own measures, it has simply withered. Go away from midtown and you can see the same thing in other parts of Atlanta.

I suppose I am trying to understand the tone of the comments here. We are grappling with our past and the embedded racism that created much of what we now live in. We can be a Monday morning quarterback and say that what was done wasn't the best. There is a place for that. But what would have been better? Perhaps we recognize what was done but then ask what are we doing today that won't allow such a scenario to repeat. Is this desire to protect a status quo even impossible? Or even right? Will neighborhoods change regardless? Some neighborhoods have survived and thrived. Some have barely hung on and probably deserve to go. Just because something is old doesn't mean it is worth saving. I hope that the plight of the people that make up the neighborhoods is better understood these days. Perhaps this is the reason to question the how and why. I certainly hope so.

Last edited by Saintmarks; 05-08-2018 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:16 AM
 
9,907 posts, read 6,891,298 times
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Deliberately demolition of a neighborhood in it's entirety is different from preservation efforts.

Buttermilk Bottoms and other Urban Rewal sites should not have been destroyed and replaced with fortress style public buildings / highways / stadiums. But that does mean it needed to be preserved as-is. If the street grid and lot structure was maintained the private buildings could be redeveloped as many intown are.

But yes, we now have the gift of hindsight to say this. It is not so clear from the perspective of the 1950s.
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