The NEW Social Contract

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 06/23/2009 - 09:15.

Photo credit: New York Times

Dust off your Jean Jacques Rousseau NEO--Google "social contract" Cleveland, and, then, "social contract," Atlanta.

The game here will all start to make sense--after you PLEASE READ:

Atlanta Is MakingWay for New Public Housing, New York Times

By ROBBIE BROWN Published: June 20, 2009 

ReImagining.jpg933.68 KB

Broadview Rd.

  It will be interesting to see what happens to this fire-damaged house on the corner of Broadview and Hillcrest in Old Brooklyn--such a great corner to rezone commercial!  I spoke to the owner today and apparently she doesn't know that it is in housing court per our local council aide.  See map below and stay tuned.

View Larger Map

Gentrification vs Revitalization


Growth is inevitable and is almost always painful, but it doesn't have to be a crisis or trauma.  Symbiotic relationships exist in nature, yet when the immediate concerns of humanity are involved, too often it seems ideology trumps compassion and reason.

Perhaps this is because humans don't always feel they have the luxury of time.

Several years ago the issue of gentrification erupted full force here in Atlanta, resulting in political and social upheaval.  The poor and disenfranchised felt that they were being run out of their last refuge, and the upwardly mobile felt that they had the right to spend their money where they want.  I know the first hand trauma of seeing one's childhood home razed for capitalistic aims, having grown up in public housing, which has now been demolisheded for a private developer who's building upscale homes and a Publix grocery store. 

My childhood neighborhood was prime property once in the hands of poor Blacks, now having been turned over to affluent Whites.  It's a terrible way for a town to handle its business, leading some Blacks to view all Whites as suspect.

The architecture of the projects I grew up in was not particularly attractive, in my opinion.  However, those homes were solidly built and should have remained standing.  Maybe not in their original incarnation, but surely the preservation of the concrete floors, walls and stairwells were worth saving; for practical reasons.

DOCOMOMO and other architectural institutions have begun to talk about "embodied energy."  It is a term used to describe all the money, labor and carbon emissions it takes to build a site, those forces therefore being embodied within the site...permanently.  So, the argument goes, why redo what's already been done?  Why pay twice, for the same thing?  Also pointing to this fact, some architects an preservationists now argue that no matter how green a new building is, it will never be as green as one that's already built.

In Hindu, the God Shiva is the creator/destroyer.  But for anyone who knows anything about eastern religion, they would know that Hindi's have many Gods; including Vishnu--the preserver.

Sometimes new things need to be created--old things need to be destroyed.  But more often than not, in the name of progress, preservation gets overlooked when it should be seen as the first viable option.



First viable option

  Yes--Eternity, preservation should be the first viable option, but destruction in the name of creation should be the very last option.  Also, we should be looking at local ways to solve local problems. 

Qualifying for federal dollars to "solve" problems (usually based on a "poverty" index) should be avoided at all costs, because it allows for the confusion that breeds the corruption and abuse of public monies we see here in NEO and in other metropolitan areas. 

Rather. we should and NEED to look for ways to keep local dollars and resources working for local communities by providing the services we need HERE.  


Federal money is local money

True, true.

But isn't Federal money local money?  It all comes from local communities, so why do we see it differently when it's in a bank in D.C..  In other words, the federal government doesn't do anything that generates money.  They just distribute money. 

It is we the people, the local people, wherever we are, who do the work--earn the money. Too, it's my view that a healthy Cleveland is good for Detroit, is good for Chicago, is good for Philly, is good for Baltimore, is good for Boston, etc., etc.

Boston's Big Dig is, in my opinion, a good example of how so called "federal" dollars were used for the betterment of a local community, which ultimately benefited the whole of America.  With the Big Dig, Boston took all of its inner city highways and rerouted them under ground, opening up more surface area for greenspace and sustainable, urban living.  The Massachussetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) website states that the project produced more than "300 acres of landscaped and restored open space, including more than 45 parks and major public plazas."

Another comparison...

Before I learned the value of my art (I'm an artist) I used to throw a lot of work in the trash.  Today I don't do that.  Why, because I've learned to see the value in everything that I create.  I might evolve or transform a piece, but I rarely if ever, totally "demolish" anything.

Progress and preservation can and do work hand in hand.  That's the paradigm shift that must take place.

Work out side the system on

Work out side the system on a contingency plan, a back-up an alternative for when the real shit hit’s the fan.

That's when everybody has to take the pay cut to make it work, it should be the norm in hard times to cut from the top down. But unfortunately many at the top are over extended. That may adjust in time, modesty and having the cushion to fend off hard times.

Some that earn millions have obligations that are huge, the more you make the more you spend. For every winner is a looser. Actually that could be more like 10:1 and increasing.

What are the cost of all the things government subsidizes? Then the growth of the debt, this is what you are really worth and then this is what it really costs. It so big an convoluted that they seem to think creating a bunch of loops and long trails changes that, it actually compounds it. Ten levels to divert the losses, nothing adds value in government. It compounds the losses.

Each trip you make on the bus really cost about $5.00 or more.  If you take the bus two times a day, then if seven days a week thats about $3,500.00 a year.   If the trip is subsidized with taxes at 70% figure it out.   The cost is $291.00 a month.