This monument is the largest we’ve seen on our travels. A placard only refers to a “tragic accident,” but based on its size, many lives were lost. When we visited yesterday, fresh offerings of candles and sliced apples adorned one shrine.
We found this guy, who easily measured 15 feet in length, in the swamp backing the last undeveloped beach in Nuevo Vallarta. The area is marked with signs warning “Peligro: Zono de Cocodrilos,” and it’s no joke: The only thing between us and him was our ability to run a bit faster.
“Gentrification doesn’t trickle down to help everyone
Regeneration boosters praise cities that ‘bounce back’ from poverty. The reality is poverty just gets bounced elsewhere
David Madden. 10 Oct 2013
It’s no secret that today’s big cities are massively unequal, and gentrification is now the predominant form of neighborhood development. In countless urban districts across the world, affordable housing is on the decline and displacement is on the rise. This is especially true in New York and London, where observers are straining to find sufficient prefixes (mega, hyper and super have all been aptly applied) to describe the pace at which gentrification is changing the city.
But most of the discussion about gentrification doesn’t do justice to everything at stake.
Here’s how gentrification talk typically goes: poor neighborhoods are said to need “regeneration" or "revitalization", as if lifelessness and torpor – as opposed to impoverishment and disempowerment – were the problem. Exclusion is rebranded as creative "renewal". The liberal mission to "increase diversity" is perversely used as an excuse to turn residents out of their homes in places like Harlem or Brixton – areas famous for their long histories of independent political and cultural scenes.
After gentrification takes hold, neighborhoods are commended for having “bounced back” from poverty, ignoring the fact that poverty has usually only been bounced elsewhere.”
Photo: Bill Cooper
In Oakland, Calif, our home city, gentrification is not only “bouncing” poverty elsewhere, but fundamentally changing the business of crime. While drug dealers loose turf with rising property values and gentrification, they’ve “pivoted” to lower-risk, better-paying opportunities — namely robbery — sometimes within the very areas from which they’ve been displaced.
Robbers target middle- and upper-middle class denizens, liberating them from their iPhones, iPads, laptops and wallets, all hours of the day. Oakland is now the robbery capital of the U.S. This, in turn, is leading to the rise of a self-security movement: Neighbors are banding together to pay for armed, private security guards in a city that can’t protect its own.
In our neighborhood, which straddles the wealthy Oakland Hills area and the poorer flats, they’re crowd-funding this effort, which is proving effective in raising money but may also disenfranchise many of the African-American residents who’ve long called this their home.
Where this ends isn’t clear. But on a global-level, it’s clear enough it doesn’t end well.