looking for a tongue and cheek way of learning about the impact of redlining (who isn’t, am I right?). Adam Ruins everything a truTV show takes on the suburbs. Give it a view!
Amazon is looking to grow, and they are putting a call out for bids for a new home to grow in. I think we’re about to see a massive push from cities all over for this new headquarters which will create 50,000 new jobs, and be an economic anchor institution in its new home. I also think we’ll see lots of opinions for and against bringing Amazon into new cities over the next few weeks as well. Massive influx of investment and growth of any kind, when done incorrectly, leads to massive influx or exacerbation of inequality. And the discussion of how to invite Amazon, and should cities invite Amazon are worth having. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how cities woo Amazon, without hurting their current residents and businesses.
CityLab makes an interesting point about bringing Amazon to the heartland (and we support that idea for a whole host of reasons). But regardless of where Amazon sets up shop, we want to throw a suggestion out for how.
Amazon, fill a vacant mall or two! America has malls, (emptied with some help from Amazon…). These large spaces used to serve as anchors for communities growth, but as they dry up and stay vacant, many are serving as anchors dragging down their surroundings. But many would be perfect for your new headquarters campus. just to name a few of the reasons Amazon should consider filling empty American malls for a campus:
- They are usually located near great transportation, given that the heyday of malls coincides with the heyday of sprawl
- They are affordable for acquisition because there are few other uses for the space outside of large office buildings and some other fabulously innovative ideas.
- Cities don’t have to give away the public coffers to help you reactivate/renovate currently vacant spaces.
- Malls come with ample parking so consider that fight about traffic/parking- over
- Reactivating a mall for a headquarters would be so innovative it would give Amazon some wonderful PR. (and set a replicable standard for other large employers wishing to build campuses)
August has been a busy month for Root + Branch. We sponsored and helped organize two neighborhood block parties for the South Side of Columbus, Ohio, and boy are we bounce house-ed out!
Root + Branch gets involved with projects like this because creating spaces for community members to gather, meet each other and celebrate the neighborhood are vital to creating connected, thriving neighborhoods. Enjoy these pictures of all the fun we had. And come join us next time!
One party was put on in partnership with Restoration Hope, South Side Thrive Collaborative and the United Way. The second event was hosted in partnership with the Schumacher Place Civic Association, with help from the United Way. All the thanks to every volunteer, participant, vendor, non profit and attendee for helping put on these fantastic events!
Currently on our bookshelves and highly recommended:
- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power- Al Gore
- The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America- Richard Rothstein
- Race, Class and Politics in the Cappuccino City- Derek S. HyraDerek S. HyraDerek S. Hyra
What are you reading these days?
You might have heard recently, congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) suggested in an interview with The Hill, that Congressmen should receive a housing stipend of $2,500 per month (or $30,000 per year). He reasoned, that “D.C. is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford am mortgage in Utah, kids in college and second place in the here in D.C.”
For many of DC natives, this comment sounded quite tone-deaf, as residents making far less than US Congressmen, with far less power than US Congressmen are barely holding on to their housing as it is. Not to mention, U.S. Congressmen, like Chaffetz have refused to give Washington, D.C. full power in the U.S. Congress, despite Congress having full control over D.C.’s budget. Members of Congress earn a $174,000 annual salary, which is nearly twice as much as the DC Metro’s median household income.
The recognition of the skyrocketing housing costs, without any recognition of the impact on DC residents felt like an extra striking blow. Enterprise pointed out that:
“Now that these Members of Congress understand that the rental housing market has changed significantly since they were first starting out on their own, they should take a hard look at the housing needs of their constituents. Members of Congress who truly understand and care about housing affordability in this country must reject the president’s budget proposals and instead provide robust funding for housing and community development programs.”
Read more from Enterprise, about actions we can take to help preserve affordable housing for average D.C. residents.
I know this article says its a guide for “artists” but actually many of the tips are valuable for anyone who is at risk of being a “gentrifier.” Not sure if that applies to you there’s a quick way to think about it: Did you grow up in the neighborhood you’re living in? If not, now ask yourself: are the people that did grow up here being displaced because of affordability or housing stock? If yes, you are likely living in a gentrifying (or gentrified) neighborhood.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of the problem. In fact, there are ways you can be part of the solution, immediately.
Let me summarize it for you though:
- put your privilege to work for others.
- Respect the history of your surroundings.
- do not assume your perspective or experience is universal or most important.
Tell us how you mitigate gentrification in your neighborhood.
This is an interesting short film about the Over the Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. When considering policy, investment and real estate, we must think through the consequences and impact of our decisions.
Are we displacing successful communities to “improve” areas?
Is that really improvement?
The Atlantic published an article about the history of segregation in our cities titled Segregation Had to be Invented.
It is especially interesting to us for two reasons:
- Powerful people have retained their power by conning white folks into being hateful towards people of color since the dawn of America.
- Sometimes it’s nice to remember that segregation was man made- because that means it can also be man-unmade. (right?)
After the Women’s March in January, our friends at All Souls Unitarian Church hosted a solidarity sing. From serving as a sanctuary space since November to sponsoring affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying Columbia Heights neighborhood, All Souls is always a progressive, active, and conscientious member of our community, and we are honored to work with them.
Get ready to have chills.
The DC Fiscal Policy Institute issued a study today called “A Broken Foundation.” The Washington City Paper did a summary of it here. But we can break down even further into the pieces that, in our opinion, need to be considered immediately by policy makers, development and housing offices and affordable housing developers.
Read on after the jump for more. Continue reading