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Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography!

The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities

The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities | Matt's Geography Portfolio |
Residents and planners around the country are dreaming up innovative ways to create eco-friendly, self-reliant communities. But turning ideas into reality is a tall order.


Urban revitalization projects gentrification have been an important part of the American scene since the 1990s.  As we reconsider the city, and some of the associated issues with dense living, many are also thinking about the environmental impact of urban life and rethinking how to make neighborhoods more sustainable.  This article uses the Denver Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood as its case study for analyzing sustainability with the city.  

Via Seth Dixon, Gregory S Sankey Jr.
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have totally thought about this before, and a family that I know just spent the past several months remodeling their house to be more 'green.'  I think that in addition to energy, neighborhoods could have community grow-ops, where they grow all the necessary crops to sustain their area- fruits, vegetables, grains, cotton, etc. and I think that the communities would be cleaner, greener, and brought more together if they had the opportunity to work every day to provide for themselves and their community.  I miss out on a lot of enjoyment in life because I have to do things like school.  Other people miss out because they have work, or other obligations.  I think that if people farmed as communities, it would be economically, environmentally, and socially proficuous, as well as eliminating a need for capitalistic trade with other regions, where people might get cheated.  I have so many ideas of Utopia that I have gotten from reading and philosophizing with friends and acquaintences, but there really are so few people that have the ability to implement anything on a large scale, that I am often frustrated with these concepts of 'betterment.'  It really is sad that people are taught so much these days, because their brains are full of garbage, rather than new possibilities.  It would be really interesting to have an experimental colony where these ideas of sustainability could be tried out, but I think that will happen long after my generation has died.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 3:11 PM

Here we have the perfect example of the positive effects associated with gentrification. Unused and weathering space being revitalized and re-purposed for the benefit of local economy and communitites. Not only that but the intention of these projects is to also operate in an ecologically sustainable manner by using as little resources as possible. The occupation of mill space is something that's even been seen here in Providence, most notably the hope artiste building in Pawtucket on the Providence line.

Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography Education!

Portland: A Tale of Two Cities

Portland: A Tale of Two Cities | Matt's Geography Portfolio |

"Portland is a city that some residents praise as a kind of eden: full of bike paths, independently-owned small businesses, great public transportation and abundant microbreweries and coffeeshops. And then there’s a whole other city. It’s the city where whole stretches of busy road are missing sidewalks, and you can see folks in wheelchairs rolling themselves down the street right next to traffic. It’s the city where some longtime African-American residents feel as if decades of institutional racism still have not been fully addressed."

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I don't think that Earth offers everything for everyone.  Given the situation of predetermination about birthplace and essentially upbringing, social class, and outcomes, in an infinite universe (infinite until proven otherwise), a single small planet cannot possibly offer us everything we are destined to need in the universe, let alone the towns that we are limited to.  I do not believe in choice, I believe in destiny... I do not blame people for racism or crimes, as HORRIBLE as they may be. I think that people are made into what they are by the world around them, in existential and defining ways.  Yeah, there is plenty of room for improvement and change in Oregon, but realistically, there is also more room for improvement in other areas too.  I don't really see humans as the sort of people that will ever get better without some sort of divine intervention.  I am taking the perspective of separation of paradise and purgatory that was mentioned in this article, and applying it to a different scale, but I do believe that mankind is to be condemned by the universe, due to its faults and inability to play well with others.  The world freaks out when kidnapping victims are found after a decade of abuse and captivity, but this same world breeds animals for slaughter and consumption... Earthlings clearly have been taught to not care about those that are different, whether in looks or species... I think the kidnapping situation is vile and appalling, but I also think that breeding species for slaughter (which affects more living beings) is democratically more of an issue.

Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 8, 2013 1:11 PM

Portland, Oregon is often discussed as a magnet for a young demographic that wants to be part of a sustainable city that supports local businesses and agriculture.  This podcast looks behind that image (which has a measure of truth to it) to see another story.  Relining, gentrification, poverty, governance and urban planning are all prominent topics in this 50 minute podcast that provides as fascinating glimpse into the poorer neighborhoods of this intriguing West Coast city.  When in cities, we often use the term sustainability to refer to the urban ecology, but here we see a strong concern for the social sustainability of their historic neighborhoods as well. 

Tags: neighborhood, gentrificationurban, place, culture, economic, racepovertyplace, socioeconomic.

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, November 19, 2013 1:21 PM

Recently I came across a craigslist post from a gentleman who was trying to rally individuals to Portland with him for a journey on the "Michigan Trail" to Detroit. He made promise that the intention was to perform rejuvinating work in  Detroit alongside it's current residents and that there would be "no gentrification." 

Not that I found these statements or intentions to be profound or useful in anyway, but this podcast really put a nail in the coffin for me. The effects of gentrification are well known for both their positive and negative aspects. But the bottom line is this, regardless of intention the poor and diverse populations will be displaced unless it is from them that this renaissance takes place. Not Portlandia hipsters looking for some sort of "promise land."  

Portland apparentely has it's own issues with gentrification and a class of social and cultural norms that make it difficult to make the case for cities on the rise to take the same path.