.

.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blog Assignment #1, 2013

Please post a paragraph-long question in response to any of the three readings (or a combination of them) for Wednesday's class. Post your question by noon on Wednesday.

13 comments:

  1. In today’s society, even with a liberal arts degree, one is not guaranteed a privileged income job that utilizes the mind rather than the body. Several recent Transy grads have taken entry-level jobs in department stores, fast food industries, and factories. That being said, Hern’s article was very enlightening on the state of urban living and suggested ways, specifically non-profit development, to create “affordable” and “attractive” living for the working-class. Are you aware of non-profit development projects in Lexington currently being implemented or planned for the near future or do you believe this city will become trapped in the trend of using sustainability and “emergency housing?”

    ReplyDelete
  2. In Matt Hern’s “Sustaining Privilege” essay, he offers a “third tier” solution to rising housing prices in increasingly gentrified or densely populated city locales. His solution asks cities to use their own resources to help “finance affordable housing” while also enforcing resale restrictions in an effort to eliminate profiteering. Even though Hern focuses on these issues in Portland and Vancouver, is it also possible to relate this problem of urban growth and planning to Lexington? If so, what actions, if any, are being taken to challenge these issues? Is the city of Lexington prepared to act like “non-profit developers” even though Jeff Gross’s article alludes to a Lexington government that is unwilling to share its resources to help fund “emergency shelters” for the city’s homeless during the WEG?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The final two pages of Hern's "Sustaining Privilege" essay made me think about the model of Public Access Television. In this model, cable companies are essentially granted some privileges of a monopoly in exchange for a functioning and funded Public Access television station which is to include not only free broadcasting for the public but also equipment that can be borrowed or used without charge AND professional training on that equipment (also free of charge).

    Could a similar model be applied to Urban housing in this way: If property is purchased for or re-purposed into downtown condos (of the variety that is investment driven for the developer as discussed in the article), could a tax be levied against the property owner as a way to grow civic funding for projects such as Community Land Trusts or Co-ops? Essentially I am wondering if there is a way (as with Public Access television) to directly attach the initial costs for a public good (such as a community land trust) to those profiting privately from ventures that are, on the surface, contradictory to the issues of affordable housing as outlined in this article?

    ReplyDelete
  4. In the North Of Center Article, it mentions that homeless people are often wary of social services that are offered in our community. How then can we assess their true needs if we are unable to interact with them on the regular basis? How can agencies earn the homeless community's trust without the support of our commnunity government? Also, why doesn't the government see that by ignoring the problem they are inadvertantly creating a perpetuating cycle of mistrust and neglect?

    ReplyDelete
  5. The article from North of Center was difficult to read. Most "Lexingtonians" want to believe that our city is increasingly socially aware, when in many cases this is not true. I was once told in a class, that at any given time in Lexington, there are thousands of people on the street without shelter. That being said, are organizations like the Paragon Medical Group and others mentioned in the article available at the centers year-round, or was that only for the "emergency" of WEG? Also, are extra shelters opened during inclement weather, or in the winter months?

    ReplyDelete
  6. In Jeff Goss's article, he discusses the incredible fiscal gamble made by Kentucky in preparing Lexington for the World Equestrian Games, drawing our attention to the prioritizing of this speculative investment over such things as education and social services. Have any of the desired outcomes of the WEG come into effect yet (and perhaps not enough time has passed yet, as the article mentions)? Have any other, unplanned effects (these could be positive or negative) manifested themselves? Specifically in regards to social attitudes and awareness of Lexington's homeless population?

    ReplyDelete
  7. The article from North of Center was deeply upsetting for me. While I enjoy living here, it seems that mainstream Lexingtonian culture subjugates and subordinates the human element to an equine presence. This of course can be seen in Lexington “art,” news, and even in the architectural layout of our city (in which elegant white-picket-fences flank the well maintained roads leading directly to one horsey mecca or another.) It cannot be denied that the equine industry is a large source of income for the area, but to identify a group of living, breathing, people as an “emergency” as the great horse-man-cometh (I would think) is only bound to breed more resentment in the homeless community toward government practice. While it’s a large question to ask, I guess what I’m most curious about (rather than if the WEG created enough of a fiscal boom), is if the services provided during the games offset, in any way, the homeless community’s general mistrust of government agency or if it only strengthened feelings of suppression?

    ReplyDelete
  8. All of the articles sent to us we're incredibly poignant, especially in regards to the current excitement surrounding the development of North Limestone in Lexington. I'm wondering how homelessness can be addressed while recognizing the intersections of previous race relations in Lexington and current economic interests. I have a lot of cognitive dissonance surrounding NoLi...the fact that I adore all of these businesses because I'm the same hipster they were built for....but in the process I may be displacing others. How can I work trough this cognitive dissonance while not trying to appear as the white savior?

    ReplyDelete
  9. After reading all 3 articles, I was left with a resonating feeling of sadness and disappointment because I could easily see how someone might make the comparison between Vancouver, Portland, Stratford, and (obviously) Lexington. In the Portland/Vanvouver essay, the author discusses how, in order to restrict "market-based commodification of shelter," cities need to aggressively restrain the top end of the market as well as generously supporting the bottom end. The implementation of social housing is obviously a key way the author sees to supplement both approaches; however, are their any other approaches specific to restraining the top in Lexington (because I feel like that's one of the more difficult uphill battles we'll have to face--the WEG article being a prime example of this) because the social elite's reach permeates the political scene making it difficult to push forward legislation such as the reform Rex Burkholder suggests?

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I most appreciate about Matt Hern’s article is the clarity with which he lays out the radically different forces that are at play in the creation of cities as living organisms. Whereas he champions the kind of city that becomes “a shared social space for democratic culture” (he understands this democratic culture not only as ensuring participation in the public sphere for all but also, and just as importantly, as a sharing of privileges), he points out that what we more often have are cities that become mechanisms for “wealth-building” (145). He articulates the same distinction as the difference between “an aggressively imaginative social sphere” that crates “a city of citizens” and “the market that insists that rich people should always get their way just because they are rich” (145).
    Language is important and can change the ways we think and, subsequently, act. My question, then, is this: what would it take to change the terms of our public and private conversations about where we live, about the cities we inhabit, conceived as social spaces that determine social interactions and lives?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Carsten Volkery's article, "Olympics A Mixed Blessing for London's East End," presents an all too familiar problem for civic leaders and city planners in how to renovate an area for new financial growth without isolating the existing population and extinguishing previously thriving local business. As the hosts for one of the largest global spectacles in the world, London aimed to approach civic growth by building a new,creating a shopping district from scratch which has generated signification business growth, however to the cost of driving much of the foot traffic and tourist attention away from older establishments. This certainly presents a problem for local business owners in old Stratford,it also begs the question as to how much should the civic planners be held accountable for old Stratford's declining business? Should cities that host such large events like the Olympic's be ethically obligated to work with the cities existing architecture, to both preserve the local culture as well as protect the businesses that helped to establish the favorable conditions that allowed the games to be there in the first place? The article did mention that in Old Stratford there exists a old shopping mall that is now dilapidated, but didn't mention if it was even considered to be renovated for the same purpose. Modern cities seem to thrive on a model of infrastructure that divides it into "districts," which ultimately carve the area into disjointed zones that cater to specific purposes, types of businesses, and people. However, shouldn't civic planners be aiming to unify the city instead of creating enclaves that infer that certain peoples/businesses belong, while others don't?

    ReplyDelete
  12. The example mentioned on page 139-140 in which a man gave his house over to a specially created trust fund and is now used for permanently affordable housing in which the rent goes towards utilities and upkeep, with the left-overs being contributed to a common fund which is then donated to a charity, seems interesting and, in theory, may work on a larger scale. Some may see this plan as being slightly socialistic, with the common housing and the building being owned by an entity outside of the normal family-owned housing. Do you think this plan is feasible for use in Lexington? If so, do you believe some people would fight the idea, because of the way it could be portrayed socialistically?

    ReplyDelete
  13. In Matt Hern's "Sustaining Privilege in Portland," he discusses how in order achieve the affordability goal that is essential to truly "smart growth," diverse housing options should be pursued. He gave the Community Land Trust as one example of resistance to trends of profiteering. He mentioned that the first urban rendition of the CLT took place in Cincinnati (though not municipally funded). Has this CLT continued to be successful since its inception in 1981? Has its use in Cincinnati served as a model for other places in the city and has its use proliferated since? Cincinnati has received a lot of press recently regarding its rapid urban revitalization projects in the Over the Rhine neighborhood. Has the CLT model been considered or implemented in these areas? Has it been considered or adopted anywhere in Kentucky? Lexington?

    ReplyDelete