Brooklyn Development Brings Gentrification Worries

When I am out and about, I always pay attention to how people navigate around the city. As an architectural designer, it is important to understand how people use space. As people are shopping, I've notice that people like to browse around for a while and take little breaks in between. This is the reason that plazas help commercially zoned areas to grow.

New York City knows this all too well. Just look at the developments in the city around Times Square and outside of Macy's in Manhattan. They have closed off parts of Broadway to make room for pedestrians and people who want to have a seat. And the changes have made quite a difference for the business as well as the people.

Living in the heart of Bed Stuy and Crown Heights for the past few years, I see that the area lacks these elements. Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street have both been vibrant for many years. I've always enjoyed exploring the many types of shops, even the many dollar stores. But I always felt it could be more.

Needless to say, I was invigorated when I saw the Bed-Stuy Streetscape Project the other day. The existing conditions of the corner of Fulton and New York Avenue are lacking, when it comes to the built environment. As I ride my bike past here everyday on my way into work, I feel that the corner has much more potential than is used.

Clinton Hill has started a project as well. At the intersecting triangle of Fulton, Putnam and Grand, Putnam Triangle may be getting a facelift as well. Having washed my laundry at one of the storefronts on the triangle, I have waited to see it become more than a few plants surrounded by pavement. These proposals don't get greeted with open arms by all, though. For some of the reasons, I understand why.

15 years ago, not too many people ventured into these areas unless they lived there or made money on the streets. Notorious, the bio-pic film about Christopher Wallace, gave a glimpse of the drug trafficking going on in the neighborhood. But this didn't reflect on the entire population of the place. For the majority of the residents, it was a love-hate relationship with there home surroundings.

Many working people have dealt with the headaches of this crime. Those folks have felt neglected, which only increased when the demographics began to change.  While we all want to see our home and it's surrounding area at it's best. But many have seen the growth only to push them out of their long time home. I'm not saying that growth is bad but it certainly is when it doesn't include those who have suffered through the hard times.

1 comment:

  1. I've been a Brooklynite for many years (2005 to now) and seen the changes. Some are good and others are on the backs of people who endured the hard times but also wants the piece of the action. Question is what can we do as a whole to include everyone? This past elections proves just that. Now its a wait and see.


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