Monday, July 23, 2007

My New Town

Vancouver gets some coverage (not the greatest) in the Washington Post today.

It covers how the provincial, federal, and local governments in BC, Canada, and Vancouver respectively promised to build greater housing for the downtown East Side of the city for the Olympic Bid. The fear in that community here is that its a cover for gentrification.

The article correctly points out that the neighborhood has rates of AIDS/HIV and Hepatitis C infections comparable to the so-called Third World. But for American readers I should point how very different the neighborhood is from say an American ghetto. I've walked in this neighborhood in the day and at night on a number of occasions and there is no fear of getting jumped or shot. As someone who used to live in Detroit, the Bronx, and a community in Chicago where I went to sleep to the pit-patter of gunfire nightly, I know that feeling of "desperation" and "fear" lurking in the corners.

The downtown East Side feels sad and worn down. Tragic but not desperate. It's also a very strange place, strange in a challenging way, in the sense that people really know each other. As opposed to city anonymity and suburban walling off mentality, people are out and visible. It's definitely tough to see the out in the open drug use, prostitution, and homelessness.

It's really fascinating living in a city that generally is pretty un-excited (some/many? antithetically opposed to) the Olympic buildup. The costs have already run over projection. There's some delays. Questions about the environmental impact. Questions like this about neighborhoods and the question where do these people go if you gentrify? I think the downside from my pov is that the Olympics is this sorta foreign business aggregate/herd that is just going to rush through create a fiction on TV and then push through to the next one.

On the positive side, there is a nice train line being built from downtown to the airport. That may be the best to come out of it.


At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Durwin said...

Hi Chris: Stopping by...Olen and I met an interesting fellow (perhaps he already told you) Bruce Sanguin who told us he is planning to write a book on Integral Christianity. Thought you might want to check him out:

I am guessing Olen probably already conveyed this to you, but since I was here at your blog...
Best, Durwin


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