Neighborhoods in South Phoenix
By: Shiva Delpazir
I visited an older neighborhood that was around 7th
Avenue and Baseline. The first thing I noticed is a lot of yards are
full of old cars, trashcans, old antique items, among other things.
They all have hand made wood fences or beaten up chain link fences
that stood about 4’ high.
residential area looked as if it had been custom built and appeared
to be a lower class neighborhood. Although there were many children
playing outside that day, the safety of the neighborhood is very
questionable. I did not notice any types of surveillance devices or
personnel around, and I questioned weather or not this neighborhood
was very safe. Most of the inhabitants I saw in the neighborhood
looked as if they are of Hispanic origin. Although this area looks
as if it is very old and run down, it was alive with children and
people walking around, even on a Friday afternoon.
In an article
by Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public
History, about gentrifications and it’s effect on older cities
being rebuilt. She points out the fact that gentrification is
beginning to take over older neighborhoods in highly populated areas
and while new homes and businesses are being built, landmarks and
older buildings are being destroyed. She explains that although the
neighborhood might begin to look newer or cleaner, all sense of
culture and comfort to the current residents of the older
neighborhoods is going to be lost, such as in New York and LA. Much
like the Los Angeles neighborhoods that Hayden describes, the newer
neighborhoods in South Phoenix seem to have little or no identity.
houses in these new subdivisions all look the same; they all have
the same color, same structure, and they are all kept in top shape.
Most of these new subdivisions are also controlled by homeowners
associations, and these homeowners associations control the
neighborhood so much that the neighborhood loses any sense of
identity or culture that people bring to it.
harsh fact that most developers refuse to face is that most of the
Hispanic residents of South Phoenix have brought their Mexican
culture with them, or in the case of the Chiconos that have been
here for many generations, the Mexican culture influence preceded
the newcomers by a long shot. To an American who has no familiarity
with the Hispanic culture, the neighborhood’s appearance could be a
little bit startling to white Anglo middle and upper class
individuals because of their ethnocentric views on other cultures
that are not American. To a Latino, the other neighborhood’s
appearance could in fact be normal and comfortable and the newer
neighborhoods being built in South Phoenix could serve as a threat
to the existing neighborhoods. It is true that the area is
developing in South Phoenix and there are a lot of changes being
made. But one must question whether or not the culture within the
neighborhoods will be preserved once these new developers take over,
and what rich cultural heritage may be lost in the process.