Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Nagin Endorses Historic Preservation?

Karen Gadbois highlights President-Elect (it feels so good) Barack Obama's policies on cities, affordable housing, and historic preservation:

The response of some to these statistics is to call for still more demolition, abandonment and neglect of older and historic neighborhoods. In the last three decades we lost from our national inventory of older and historic homes 6.3 million year-round housing units. Over 80 percent of those units were single-family residences. The vast majority of them were simply demolished – were thrown away as being worthless. These demolitions occurred at the very same time that the number of units of affordable to low-income households has fallen. In essence, America has been worrying about how to dismantle the barriers to affordable housing and the same time it has been dismantling the very homes that are, or could be, affordable.

For a variety of reasons, a better way is to revitalize our older and existing neighborhoods. For starters, studies show that repairing older homes, even those with moderate or server physical problems is a cost effective way to create housing. While rehabilitation isn’t the only solution to the affordable housing crises, there are as many as 3 million vacant older and historic housing units that could be brought back to use. These homes can be put back into service – either in homeownership or scattered site rental projects – through market forces and the wise use of CDBG and HOME funds as well as the enormously successful technique of twinning federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Expect Mayor Nagin to announce tomorrow a total reversal of his entire recovery policy to this point in order to match the directives of the new Obama administration. After all, Ray Nagin wholeheartedly endorsed Barack Obama and his vision for revitalizing America's cities. He certainly wouldn't want to be an obstacle to change and progress by continuing policies antithetical to those for which Barack Obama stands. Also look for the Times-Picayune to more forcefully differentiate between Barack Obama's urban vision and that of the Nagin-Blakely syndicate in its articles and editorials. You'll recall that the Times-Picayune endorsed Barack Obama specifically because

He knows cities -- historic cities, gritty cities. He came by his knowledge pounding the streets of Chicago's South Side as an organizer, grappling with the needs of poor people. For our own great and complex city, we could use a national leader who appreciates that we are more than a sentimental memory of a college romp on Bourbon Street; that we are a culturally rich American treasure, filled with resilient citizens and worth protecting from the encroaching forces of nature.

Right? We can expect these things to happen, can't we?

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