My open letter to the residents of
South Moutain Village

   By Cassandra Thielen

To the Residents of South Mountain Village aka "South Phoenix":

The last 8 weeks have been surprising, informative, and enlightening.  Considering that I spent a lot of time growing up in South Phoenix, I am just as shocked and surprised as the old communities and residents when viewing all the new construction and development. 

My mother's entire family originated from Texas and settled in South Phoenix.  This was common amongst the Hispanic people.  When minorities relocate, most tend to prefer to live where others are similar to themselves.  My Lita and Tata (Spanish for grandparents) did not speak fluent English, so I believe this is why they chose to reside within South Phoenix.  My mother, along with my 2 tia's and my tio, graduated from South Mountain Highschool.  Currently, I still have family residing within South Phoenix who presumably do not want to leave. 

My family's roots in South Phoenix is one of the reasons I am interested and concerned in the gentrification that is currently underway within this community.  Any change within an area will always have both negative and positive effects.  Some do not want to alter their way of living at any cost.  While others support the change.  I am not sure what side of the discussion I would be on if I were a resident within this community.  I am aware of the negative effects of gentrification, such as the potential displacement of current residents as the reinvestment in the area raises housing taxes and costs (to learn more visit these websites dedicated to this topic FIELD DAY ANALYSIS part I (fEB 14) ,  Field Day analysis, part II (feb 21) , Habitat for Humanity ).  However, I am also educated on the potential positive outcomes of this rejuvenation of land and neighborhoods such as property value increase, new business establishment, and better external upkeep of communities.  Either way, I will be watching and voicing my informed understanding of this process of urban change to fellow classmates, family members, basically anyone who is interested and will listen.  I have lived in the city of Phoenix my entire life and do not plan on leaving any time soon.  So, I will be a witness to the gentrification of South Phoenix into South Mountain Village now and in the future. 

I want to thank those residents who were willing to take part in mini interviews and share their thoughts about the changing atmosphere of this area.  I want to especially thank those who accepted our group with open arms without prejudice or stereotype.  Also, I would like to thank our guest speakers for sharing their plans and roles in the rejuvenation or better known as gentrification of South Phoenix.  I owe a personal thank you to Dr. Kristin Koptiuch for creating such an elaborate and educational opportunity for us students, along with myself, at ASU West. 


Cassandra Marie Thielen

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