Feb 19 2012
In this part of the book, we start off with the desegregation of downtown. Shop owners believed that if there was a non white and poor population presence in their area the property value would go down, because less (supposedly rich) white people would want to shop there. There is evidence of this sort of segregation still going on today. People have said that it was building the Target in Springfield Mall that attracted undesirable customers and led to the mall’s steady decline. There was much talk about putting a metro station in Georgetown a few years ago, and people were concerned that the predominantly middle-upper class shopping areas would be dominated by poor / undesirable loiterers and teenagers instead of serious shoppers if it was easily accessible by public transportation. Though “downtown” and shopping centers are usually regarded as public places, it seems that still today not everyone is welcome.
The rebuilding/refurbishing/renovation/etc. of downtown is something I’ve seen in many places. There are streets where I grew up in Iowa and Illinois that are regulated just the same way as downtown Fredericksburg and Alexandria are. The buildings are for the most part original, and any structure on that ‘main street’ that is going to be altered has to be approved by a council. This keeps the nostalgia of downtown, which as discussed in the book, people seem to love, because they keep flocking to the areas day and night.
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