I was sent a link by JJW to a New York Times story about an effort to construct 2,000 condos in downtown Newark, NJ in an effort to “revitalize” the city. Haven’t we learned this lesson before: purchasing and razing large areas of a city to construct new housing does little or nothing to help the city as a whole, and in fact only results in gentrification of the worst type, as the only people and businesses that can afford to rent space in brand-new buildings are the rich and corporate chains. Alas. Now, I wonder what would happen if the city of Newark took the city’s $550 Million budget for the project and used it to improve city schools, provide low-interest loans for people to improve their houses or start small businesses, and set up a scholarship program for city residents interested in higher education?
“Deeming the project beneficial to a majority of Newark’s 275,000 residents, the city began proceedings last winter to condemn the desired properties and turn them over to the developer. However, a grass roots campaign by a group of property owners known as the Mulberry Street Coalition convinced the City Council in May to rescind its condemnation vote. “ (From the AP Story)