City Desk

Chatter: Park Morton’s Salt

CoverFront_19What you said about what we said last week.

In last week’s Housing Complex column, Aaron Wiener chronicled the stalled progress of Park View’s Park Morton complex, whose public housing is slated to be redeveloped as part of the city’s New Communities project. To which reader Max responded, sparking a thread of more than 70 comments, “While the city faces a terrible low-income housing crisis—there is not enough low-income housing—the housing agency has screwed up the other three new communities projects, further reducing the low-income housing stock. And those were the easy projects as Park Morton has way more challenges than the others. Even if you chose [to] ignore the fact that New Communities and its predecessor HOPE VI have failed to meet its own stated objectives, and even if you totally ignore what the residents want (the resident in this story urged for renovation instead of demolition), the City Paper and its developer lobbyist/reporter continue to push for this disastrous policy.” He also added, “It might have been dangerous for you to walk through that neighborhood 10 to 15 years ago, Aaron, but today it’s dangerous for that neighborhood for you to walk through.”

Urbanism blogger Richard Layman chimed in with a clarification: “Note to Max, FWIW a lot of the ‘black flight’ from Ward 4 wasn’t displacement, but willful choice. If new (true, usually white and Hispanic) residents didn’t move into the neighborhood, the population would have declined precipitously.” He also wrote, “With regard to this particular location, lately I have been enamored of the idea that rather than have one developer develop an entire large parcel, break it up, at least as it relates to affordable housing, to include some lot sites that could be 100 percent affordable projects.”

To skeptics of the city’s efforts, SoOdd wrote, “The intention is to replace [Park Morton] with denser mixed income housing, and to replace the units on a one- for-one basis. Look at Navy Yard. Most of the public housing units have already been replaced, and the remainder will be within a few more years. Now does it happen as quickly and easily as advocates for the public housing residents would like? No. But it does happen, and it makes possible a better situation for residents (who no longer are segregated only with other poor people) and it’s also better financially for the District (which gets tax revenues from the new market rate units).”

GETOYT pushed back, writing that the missing units in Navy Yard “should be replaced before anything else is razed in D.C. Communities are destroyed, families displaced. D.C. was not a cash economy before gentrification. Communities were self-sustaining by sharing resources...when you destroy communities you destroy resources. Who will then provide them?”

Run for Cover

Is White Ford Bronco just a typical ’90s cover band—or does it represent something far more insidious? Commenting on last weeks feature on the group by Perry Stein, not that ian wrote, “...and suddenly everyone who’s said D.C.’s music scene sucks is vindicated.”

To the defense of White Ford Bronco’s fans came not that henry, who asked rhetorically,  “because people enjoy the songs they grew up with?” not that ian, again: “Because people choose to ‘invest,’ if you will, (with their time/money/energy) in a louder version of what they hear every day on the radio when there are dozens of incredible local bands/songwriters/etc. who work their asses off to create new music and can’t find an audience where they live. I don’t fault [White Ford Bronco], I’m sure they’re nice people who are happy with their success and that’s great. But it’s telling when a band is consistently ranked among ‘top local bands’ by D.C.-area readers and gets this kind of coverage for playing the soundtrack to VH1’s I Love the ’90s.”

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