Having lived in Fort Green, Brooklyn; Kansas City; Harlem (Sugar Hill); Philly (and possibly Baltimore very soon) I've seen first hand how a number of crumbling neighborhoods with so much history have come to life with the creative vision of just a few people who care.
There are tons of social and political issues that arise when we talk about "revitalizing" neighborhoods, trust me I know (I have very strong views on this) — but that's a whole other post.
Actually, no, I will say I really really don't like how the people who have been living in some of these neighborhoods for years are looked down upon, mistreated, and even abused. I've seen hardworking families being pushed out of their homes and stomped on for situations they did not have any control over.
Once years ago, I attended a block party in a changing Philadelphia neighborhood where older residents stood on one side of the street while the artsy newcomers stood on the other; one side feeling left out and uninvited while the other side not caring either way.
If revitalization is only for the benfit of certain groups of people then it simply becomes a band-aid to a deeper problem that will (and have) hurt us all. This needs to stop.
I have to say though, I love city-living and I think that all neighborhoods have the capacity to be safe, sustainable and strong communities for it's residents. City-living is fabulous!
With that said I love the concept behind PopupHood. PopupHood works with landlords of empty spaces and artists to attract locals to areas that were once desolate, all in the hopes of retailers staying longer than the 6 month required period. It's an innovative concept and seems to have a lot legs. I feel many neighbords (e-hem, Baltimore) could benefit from something like this, or maybe it can inspire one to think of a similar program.
We desperately have to get our cities back to being productive communities if we really want to get education and our economy back on track.
Take a look and learn more here.