South Phoenix: Who's neighborhood is it?????????

For most of the residents here, south Phoenix has been their neighborhood for multiple generations,.  their families live, work and socialize here.  History and memories originate in this local region.  Cultures do have a starting point and should be allowed to flourish.  But if many housing developers have it their way, south Phoenix  will  become another "master planned community" with cookie-cutter homes.  Just what the desert needs.

What if the Parthenon was scrapped decades ago in order to build condominiums or a golf course?  How would you feel if Rome's Apian Way, which has survived for centuries, was decimated in order to "urbanize" the neighborhood?  Would you approve if the Sistine Chapel quickly became blanketed by endless rows of tract housing?  The answer is NO!  None of us would want history extinguished.  We should feel the same way about the gentrification occurring in south Phoenix.  Not just because this "construction" is literally uprooting lifetime residents and depositing them to, God knows where?  But also because history is being destroyed as well.  History that is once eliminated can never be reclaimed.

So who would agree to this "urban recycling?"  For the most part, young, middle class, professionals relish these "master planned communities."  For them the trend is to have fewer children, if married at all.  They are foraging the suburbs and relocating to the urban communities.  They don't have time for the culture, ethnicity, diversity, or individuality.  Just give them anonymous, manicured, landscaped, HOA-clad, gated communities. 

Since the 1970s Phoenix's subdivions have sprouted up everywhere!  As Kevin Blake, Ph.D. wrote, "Residential subdivisions in metropolitan Phoenix supposedly have an identity crisis."  Many times the reason for the development of these communities is to keep out the" undesirables."  Who are the undesirables??  Who decides who the undesirables are??  Do you see my point?   Gentrification could snowball from a simple "neighborhood cleansing " to a much bigger problem. 

Most crucial problems begin with a small incidence.  The closing of a family business, the degradation of a neighborhood park, the lack of prominent businesses.  Separately these incidences do not seem that significant, but add them all together and they are vital to a community. 

Right now south Phoenix is undergoing a huge transformation.  New houses are replacing the only housing that many of these residents can afford.  Multigenerational businesses are being torn down to make way for much of this "urbanization."  So who's city is south Phoenix???  This is a very difficult  question.  But in my opinion, the world has too many "planned communities" already.

back home