On a couple of my other blogs I've posted some old material; the following paragraphs are from a short-lived site I hosted during summer 2000 and so fun to remember and think about. I'm blogging the introduction here, and then posts on the three topics we actually developed, in topical order rather than jumbled according to date. In what used to be my almost usual social-scientist identity (whatever happened? It got outpaced by the theologian, I guess), I initiated the subjects we discussed.
Welcome to The City! Whether you've always been a city person, whether you live in a suburb or rural area and wouldn't have it any other way, whether you come to the city mainly for fun – to see the sights, hear the sounds, shop the stores, enjoy the restaurants, have an out-of-the-ordinary experience – you'd probably like to join our virtual city! We'd love to have you, and you probably have lots and lots of ideas and opinions to contribute. Welcome!
From: Leah (Original Message) Sent: 8/23/2000 12:27 PM
Who gets what, why, when, how and where in terms of goods and services long has been and continues to remain the central focus of life in the city for many people. This has always been so in any geopolitical area with a distinct income disparity between different groups and different individuals. Globally, of course, but also in the "First World." In the United States we see it in striking terms, striking because there exists such splendid wealth back-to-back with such indescribable poverty. "Why" probably is the first question. Individual income combined with the inefficient and short reach of governmental and private not-for-profit agencies first come to mind as primary factors. But there are people living in the inner city with adequate incomes who have known only a culture of poverty and who therefore choose either consciously or unconsciously to continue that lifestyle.
From: Aisha in response to Message 1 Sent: 8/29/2000 11:14 PM
America's foundation is built on the many backs that we step on or stab to get to where we are today. It's definitely survival to the fittest. This is not a democratic country. There is no such thing. Democracy would only be successful if everyone wanted the same thing for everyone else...Pure equality. That will never be. Because there's always someone that wants you to kiss their ass. On the other spectrum, there are so many spineless jellyfish out there that are willing to do it. Fighting for beliefs or rights has become about as faddish as bell-bottoms. The rich will be the "haves" while the poor will be the "have nots." When the "have nots" finally get tired of pressing their noses against the windows of the "haves" lives, that's when the division will stop. Knowledge is power. If everyone could empower themselves and their children with the will that you can be successful no matter where you're from, then we can ALL receive equal justice.
From: Leah (Original Message) Sent: 8/26/2000 1:38 PM
Living in Boston this summer, I've experienced an incredibly rich diversity in what might be called the "popular arts." The music takes two basic forms: live and impromptu (Gospel, soul, hip-hop, steel drums, rap, and probably some forms I don't recognize) and recorded CDs. Some of the CDs blast forth from houses, cars, or boomboxes on foot, some of them are simply background to whatever activity is in progress, for all ages, any age. And the CDs are quite likely to contain what's generally called "objectionable lyrics," as well as evoking very definitely objectionable images.
I'll comment just briefly on the visual arts. To me, they're far more exciting than the music. Colorful, representational paintings on the sides of buildings, on trash cans, on sidewalks. And of course, the large paintings the local daycamps and preschools turn out—some of them are very well done! In contrast to the Inner City Arts are the Downtown Arts. Some more sophisticated, professional versions of what we have here in the inner city, but downtown one also can find classical concerts, free and not, as well as museums, most of which charge an admission price way out of the range of most of the people around where I live. However, there are a few cost-free times at some of the museums, but unfortunately it's still a hefty price to get into the special exhibits.
From: Leah (Original Message) Sent: 8/19/2000 6:46 AM
I'm concerned that the high price of good housing in most cities will be sending people out of the Metro/Central City area to less expensive, but also less desirable and attractive neighborhood and housing. Part of my concern includes the very real possibility of more affluent people and families moving into the vacated housing, rehabbing it, and increasing the value not only of their own housing, but also of the housing stock in the surrounding neighborhoods.
From: Aisha in response to Message 1 Sent: 8/20/2000 8:57 PM
I live in Georgia. Suburban "sprawl" has affected every area of our state. No community is really safe. Even though there is more money being brought into the less desirable communities, the prices have been skyrocketing. Whoever has the gold holds the key...
From: Leah in response to Aisha
You said it perfectly: "Whoever has the gold, holds the key..." Community organizing is the only answer that has any chance at all. People may think it's behind the times, but if bunches of people would get out there, they'd find it works!
From: Torrie in response to Message 1 Sent: 8/25/2000 4:30 AM
It seems that here, in Ohio, the cost of housing is less expensive within the city. There are a few exceptions—German Village, Victorian Village, Italian Village. The cost of housing in the suburbs is skyrocketing—along with increased property taxes. Property taxes alone consume 30% of my monthly mortgage.