Thursday, November 15, 2012

Curious City: How are Neighborhoods Formed?


Comment by BornAndRasied( Me)
Which Chicagoans are defining neighborhoods? Who gets to define where we live? How can one take into account the collective that live in the space we call a neighborhood? I don't think we care to figure that out, and if we do, then maybe we should take it a step further and ask why we have the need and desire to name where we live and cement that by putting in a map. Why? Who benefits and to what extent? I guess, as a  Chicagoan, born and raised, one who never defined my space by neighborhood,  and I have to say, this recent (past 30 years) phenomenon perpetuated by developers, and urbanists, who consume space in this city as they would any niche style of music, fashion, or craft beer, is bogus, any way you cut it.  I've seen too many poor neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color, that give little value to capitalizing on a neighborhood name, unless it's in response to gentrification and as a form of resistance, get steamrolled by urbanists that are altruistic in their impulses, yet the organizing and crowd sourcing that they use in order to justify a new neighborhood name ultimately leaves out many of the people that share their space and have been in there for generations. It's soft-core gentrification. Place matters for sure, but people are situated differently in place and when it comes to defining it, we need to be aware that neighborhood is defined differently depending where you're situated. Let's resist the need to create distinct neighborhood identities, it's just an extension of our ongoing, insatiable human need to find our unique, individual identity. Who benefits, just us and people like us.

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