Much has been made of the revitalization of south Phoenix, but is that really the correct term to use? After spending eight weeks in a part of town I was told to stay away from, the only thing that is clear is that south Phoenix has been a long ignored and abused part of the city. To say that it needs revitalization is an insult to the people that have lived there and know the abuses that have been done to their community like the dumping of waste in the Salt River and lax policies concerning Toxic Release Facilities. It is clear that south Phoenix has always been a vital community with strong cultural and community ties. This is evident in the mural art, restaurants and stores that line the streets of south Phoenix. South Phoenix has always been the gem new developers and residents are saying they discovered.
If youíve read any of the previous pages on this site you know that south Phoenix is facing many issues concerning gentrification and environmental justice everyday. These issues are getting long deserved attention because south Phoenix is just now being considered a desirable part of town and what will become of the new south Phoenix is up to the many people who have interest in how this revitalization plays out, including policy makers, developers and the residents of south Phoenix. Through this class it has become apparent that policy makers and developer's interests in south Phoenix go as far as the dollars they can make there. So who will help protect the rights of the residents of south Phoenix? Fortunately, there are few people who do have a genuine interest in south Phoenix like Steve Brittle and residents like Cecilia who won't let south Phoenix be taken over by their new neighbors.
The eight weeks I spent in south Phoenix was the most enjoyable learning experience I have ever had. Being able to submerge yourself in an environment with a range of social issues like gentrification and environmental justice allows someone to see the many sides and faces of an issue that you canít really see in a classroom. I would like to thank Dr. K for her contagious enthusiasm and creativity in creating an environment that actually forces a student to examine all sides of an issue. I would also like to thank my classmates who only enhanced this wonderful learning experience, with their own viewpoints and many talents. So next time your in the area take a drive through south Phoenix, stop and get something to eat, and enjoy this immensely unappreciated part of Phoenix.
I hope you have enjoyed this site as much as I had learning in South Phoenix.
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