Urban Fold

Redefining Blight

From New London to the Atlantic Yards, the last month has seen a flood of news around the issue of eminent domain. Diana Lind wonders if we need a new definition of 'blighted.'

"While I would agree that there is much vacant land in the Atlantic Yards area, that there is an 'inadequate street layout' and other problems, the fact is that the neighborhood is fairly vibrant nonetheless. And while I think that the train yards could be revitalized, I don't think that other buildings, where people currently live and don't want to leave, need to be taken over. Is the definition of blighted problematic or is the whole concept of eminent domain the problem? I'm curious to know if there are lots of instances when non-controversial eminent domain usage radically transformed a neighborhood into a much better place."

Full Story: Eminent Domain: Can We Define Blighted?

Comments

Comments

Residents have to be involved in process

This is a very important subject that requires full participation from residents of the argued "blighted" areas. Often, the determination of an area being blighted is made by an outside party who aims to impose their vision re use of the land on the residents of said community.

Residents need to be engaged and lead the planning process. No one living there should be left out. Bottom up planning, not top down.

"Blight"...

I believe Jane Jacobs would have had a thing or ten to say here on 'blighted' neighborhoods...

And that was almost 50 years ago.

Will we ever learn?

Today, I live in a vibrant and walkable Inner SE Portland, Oregon neighborhood, right in the heart of where the proposed (and infamous) Mount Hood Freeway was killed in the 1970's.

Needless to say, if it wasn't for the people here who successfully fought that disastrous monstrosity 35 and more years ago, the neighborhood where I live now probably wouldn't even exist. Or if it did, it would be a deadly and destitute dark crime-ridden strip in the shadow of an elevated "superhighway"...

As much damage as Powell Boulevard eventually did to Portland's historic Brooklyn neighborhood, it doesn't even come close to the full-scale catastrophe that the Mount Hood Freeway would have been.

I'm currently open to provide walking tours and whatnot on that...

People learn

People like us learn the lessons, but I suspect some do not care- they make profit the only bottom line. People and communities are not part of their bottom line.

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