Who Belongs in Downtown?

SeattleMany American cities now enjoy an amazing reversal of fortune. Once hollowed-out shells mainly for those too poor to move — or those so rich they didn’t have to deal with the poor — cities are again filling up with educated and aspiring young people.

They are flooding into Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and other places once given up for dead. The influx of newcomers with money has raised housing prices and property taxes for many longtime residents, leading to social conflict. Who belongs downtown? The short answer is everybody. But the short answer is too short.

Consider Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood. Once a flat, low-strung area of auto repair shops, warehouses and some residents, it’s now become a real estate bonanza for shopping centers and high-rise condos. A master plan for development envisions perhaps 22 residential towers plus acres of retail and office space. People already living there are wondering what’s going to happen to their views. Then there are the old Hawaiian burial grounds.

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Authored By Froma Harrop- See the Full Story at the Seattle Times

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