Saturday, December 08, 2007

If You're Against This

I really can't F with you. This is about our neighbors and our identity as a city. It's about what is right and what is wrong. I'm trying very hard to get off of work on December 10th.

This is not about long-term public housing design principles. I'm inclined to believe that we are indeed in an affordable housing crisis here in New Orleans. If you also have that inclination you must proactively oppose the immediate demolition of our public housing stock.


Drive-By Blogger said...

I think the old public housing should remain. Who can ever forget those wonderful moonlit walks down St. Bernard Ave at midnight with your loved one in front, so sweet, so soft so…shielding.

Who will forget the sound of gun fire, the smell of gunpowder, the charming burglar bars that decorated the nearby homes and lastly, the forced poverty and horrible living conditions that always made my life feel superior? Especially when driving down Desire Pkwy at night and that lovingly double glance confirming our car doors were locked and praying that the traffic light would stay green, and if not; the hell with it and onward we went.

The slums are New Orleans. To lose them will be like losing a part of our soul and just make me feel just a little less superior.

smd said...

I hope those that are so committed to the "preservation" of our beautiful public housing will be willing to move in if they are saved and really live amongst their "neighbors".

E said...

Who are you scared of gentlemen?

Why don't you move to a city where you feel more comfortable?

I would like my New Orleans neighbors to be allowed to return to their homes. These decisions to displace them without assured one-to-one right of return are shameful and immoral.

smd said...

You can always make a better life for yourself. It's only up to you, wherever it may lead you.

Even if it's Houston or Atlanta.

Karen said...

From the time of Noah to now, people have struggled for their homes. Faced with threats their homes will be lost, they have fought to preserve them. In the aftermath of loss, they have confronted rebuilding. Because a “home” is much more than a “house,” the loss encompasses everything, including neighbors, buildings, trees, and a collective way of life. These struggles are going on in many parts of the modern world, as globalization, environmental disasters, development, government seizure of land (for example, by use of eminent domain), conflict and economic pressures all force people out of their homes.

The negative reverberations of displacement can be grouped in three domains: excess mortality, economic setback, and loss of collective resiliency.

Excess mortality is a term doctors use to indicate that people in a particular group are dying at higher rates than those in other groups. People who have been displaced die at much higher rates than those whose lives are stable. The displaced die in several waves. The most vulnerable – babies, pregnant women, the elderly – will die during the upheaval, killed by accidents, lack of food, dangers in the environment, and other crisis problems. In the second wave, people with other vulnerabilities, like advanced heart disease or hypertension, will die from aggravation of their illnesses. In the third wave, people will die from the consequences of both long-term stress and the side effects of managing stress through the use of drugs or other substances. African-American in the United States, who are likely to have suffered from upheaval, have a life expectancy that is about 5 years shorter than white people.

By economic setback, we mean the loss of economic capital in homes, stocks and bonds and businesses, as well as the intellectual capital to manage businesses and assets. Economic setback due to upheaval takes many forms. There are economic losses due to upheaval. Insurance, for example, rarely covers all of one’s losses. People that are displaced may be relocated to less advantageous locations. A relocated business may not be able to make it in the new location. This is especially true of businesses that were marginal. In our study of urban renewal, a particularly tragic economic loss – which was also a cultural setback – was that jazz clubs located in black neighborhoods were rarely able to re-establish themselves after urban renewal. In fact, the black entrepreneurial class was so severely undermined that it has taken decades to produce a new cadre of business people.

Collective resiliency is a capacity of a people to recover from an injury. Collective resiliency is critical to the survival of populations. This capacity is created by people as they live together in a place. By working, celebrating and sharing with each other, they develop language, cultural and survival knowledge that is unique to their situation. Upheaval tears apart social networks and destroys social capital, both of which are crucial to making it possible for people to work together to repair their losses. If people are dispersed and lose their previous networks, they also lose the tools of language and culture. Their ability to rebuild is seriously comprised. People, united with their neighbors, can rebuild in a few years. People who have lost their neighbors must start from the beginning and rebuilding will take a much longer time.

Upheaval reveals the profound connections that people have with their homes. As in the myth, they are the source of our language and our society. These connections are our roots, and upheaval causes a profound state of shock that we have called “root shock.” Root shock, in people, is defined as the traumatic stress that follows the loss of all or part of one’s emotional ecosystem. The nature of root shock is captured in these words of a survivor of the murderous flood that wiped out Buffalo Creek, West Virginia in 1972:

We did lose a community, and I mean it was a good community. Everybody was close, everybody knowed everybody. But now everybody is alone. They act like they’re lost. They’ve lost their homes and their way of life, the one they liked, the one they was used to. All the houses are gone, every one of them. The people are gone, scattered. You don’t know who your neighbor is going to be. You can’t go next door and talk. You can’t do that, there’s no next door. You can’t laugh with friends. You can’t do that no more, because there’s no friends around to laugh with. (quoted by Kai Erickson, in his book, Everything in its Path, p. 196)

In any instance of displacement, communities face an urgent need to re-establish the collective home.

Drive-By Blogger said...

I'm with u Karen. Restore those ghettos, bring the people back and let's get them back into a safe environment and most importantly, our school system.

I just cannot risk anyone who left New Orleans to be educated anywhere else. I have enough competition. The last thing I need is for more people getting any sort of education.

Bring 'em back - keep 'em down! Halleluiah!

mominem said...

The quickest and most market oriented way to get people back is to give people who qualify a direct housing subsidy for market rate housing.

That is a more socially responsible method of providing assistance. It addresses problems of empowerment and concentration. It also avoids all of the distortions of behavior a government program creates.

In 2004 according to HANO's audited financials every authorized unit cost about $750 per month.