New York is full of neighborhoods, some posh, some rundown, but most somewhere in between. A friend is doing a thesis on the changes taking place in one of these neighborhoods, and it raises many questions.
This small community is very old, and has many poverty level residents who have lived there for generations. The changes taking place are very difficult for these families, usually forcing them to relocate and completely change their lifestyle. Likely, many will be forced to move in with family members in other similar communities, thus perpetuating a life of dependence.
Have the governing bodies of this great city been acting as enablers, allowing this poverty to continue from one generation to the next? Should they have taken a stronger position when buildings were obviously crumbling and becoming unsafe? Would encouraging higher education of the children in this area have resulted in a better standard of living?
Have they followed the displaced families to see what has become of them? Has this action had a positive effect, forcing a reexamination of priorities and resulting in a better life for those involved?
If a profound loss of quality of life has taken place, have they stepped in to offer assistance and guidance? However, is this just another way of enabling a weakness in our society?
Certainly there are many benefits of these changes, not the least of which is a healthier community, which will attract the more affluent. These positive effects follow the pattern of redevelopment in other cities, and are easily defined.
Certainly our society cares about it’s own, but we are also guilty of looking the other way, hoping the seedier side of life will simply go away.
It will not. Do we care?