Monday, July 13, 2009

White (and Black) Flight

A new documentary has been made about first and second-ring cities and towns and the economic and cultural problems they face.

From the story:
The documentary, “A New Metropolis” by filmmaker Andrea Torrice, focuses on a number of problems, including white-flight, dwindling tax bases, crumbling infrastructure and population loss, that have affected many inner-ring suburbs.

(Yeadon Councilwoman Jacqueline) Puriefoy-Brinkley said many inner-ring suburbs were formed to create spaces for white people to live outside of cities. When blacks began moving in, many white people left and took the resources with them, she said.
This is an interesting formulation. After all, what the people who moved out took with them was themselves. They didn't take sidewalks and fire hydrants. What they took were their own earning power and lifestyles.

It isn't just white people who fled and continue to flee cities. Black families leave as well to make a better life for themselves and to protect their children from the negative influences of the inner-city culture and lousy schools. Left behind were people without the personal resources or interest to get up and go themselves.

A social truism is that bad culture chases out good culture. It hardly ever works the other way around.

4 Comments:

Blogger steve mcdonald said...

"A social truism is that bad culture chases out good culture. It hardly ever works the other way around."

Sure it does, it's called gentrification. Go check out Northern Liberties and parts of Fishtown if you don't believe me.

July 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM 
Anonymous jake said...

Steve,
Key word here is "chase". You don't see yuppies chasing street gangs and drug pushers out of their newly-gentrified neighborhood.
What happen is that government wants its piece of the new prosperity through higher property taxes. That's what forces the bad culture, as well as senior citizens and longtime residents, out of a neighborhood.

July 14, 2009 at 12:09 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue in first ring suburbs is more complicated then bad people chasing out good people. Places like Upper Darby or Yeadon were "moves up" for city dwellers in the 40s and 50s who wanted a garage to avoid parking on street and a little patch of ground to mow and plant some tomatoes. The definition of a "nice house to raise a family" has changed dramatically since then. People are looking for 1/2 or more acre yards, 2 or 3 car garages and distance from their sometimes noisy neigbors. What was once "nice" isn't what others are looking for. Gentrification is pushed by childless couples (most retirees, yuppies or artsy types) that see good value and location but don't care about school quality because (a) they have no kids at home or (b) they've got the money for private school. To them, first ring suburbs aren't "nice enough" and are too far from the action of the city.

July 14, 2009 at 12:30 PM 
Anonymous minky said...

This may take some by surprise and even some back a little but does the word "fear" sound familiar. I watched the white folks fly out of Yeadon back in the late eighties and early nineties. They must have realized in some way that the neighborhood would change in a way they did not appreciate. Such as teenagers being murdered just around the corner. You know to deny that changes and not for the better don't happen when minorities move in is to live in the land of Ozz or just wishful thinking.

July 15, 2009 at 9:35 AM 

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