|« Comcast Would Pass Go, Collect $200 Under Daley||Brand the CTA »|
Urban Planning Fri Jun 25 2010
Here's a useful follow-up to my previous post, which touched on the influence of segregation on crime and the subsequent lack of political will to attack the problem. The country's most diverse zip code--which is in Seattle--gives planners, activists, and entrepreneurs an idea of what makes a healthy neighborhood, "positive mobility" [via Citiwire]:
It's a big (though frequent) mistake, says Weissbourd, to think of neighborhoods as static places, with a set character to defend at all costs. Even some well-intentioned community development groups make that error, he suggests, constantly working to expand local affordable housing and social services when the growing poverty in America isn't in cities at all -- it's now in suburbs.
The secret to strong neighborhoods, Weissbourd argues, is positive mobility -- understanding that neighborhoods are in constant motion, turning over with people and businesses coming and going. "Neighborhoods need to attract the residents, the businesses, the investments they want -- or they're dying," he insists.
Does the city's planning regime--the zoning ordinance, public transportation plan, etc.--encourage this mobility? Or does it encourage stasis?
This also sounds a bit like a justification for gentrification; but the conclusions are drawn by studying the most diverse--ethnically and otherwise--neighborhoods, not just those with the highest "quality of life". Are we too in love with our neighborhoods, and too willing (or too able) to use the law to keep them from changing?