- Sep 2009
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Actually we are very close to agreement on this issue. [/FONT]Are you sure the whites were 'given' ownership? Didn't they pay the full price for those apartments?
I do take your point about ownership makes individuals stakeholders who see directly the need to maintain their own property, and care about the state of the neighbourhood (because if that goes down, so does the value of the property).
But that doesn't mean that we can just hand poor people houses, in the belief that they will all see to it that the properties, and neighbourhood, are well-maintained. Whereas most poor people would act responsibly if given real estate, the fact is that a lot could not or would not, the major reason being lack of money for maintenance. And then there are the ones who go around destroying things for the hell of it, or take drugs and leave messes everywhere. Only a minority of the poor (as with the rich) are like that, but in a densely populated area, they can have a very damaging impact. One druggie damaging a lift, thus taking it out of service, inconveniences the whole building. A couple of drunks using the space under the stairs as a toilet will make the whole place reek. A few juvenile delinquents who dim-wittedly think its cool to run around and spray graffiti on the walls introduce a threatening element which, for a prospective tenant or buyer, can be very discouraging.
The nub of the issue is security.
In the British experience, in the 1960s and 1970s thousands of blocks of flats were constructed. Nothing was wrong with most of them, and initially each one had a concierge (= security officer/janitor) to man the entrance and help maintain some sort of order. Very soon, cost-cutting was deemed to be necessary and the first thing to happen was the withdrawal of the concierge (you can understand why, having round the clock concierge cover in a block with say 40 homes would cost something like £1000 a year for each resident). Thus vandalism, of the type I have described above, became rampant and led to general malaise. So, obviously, having an officer stationed at the building entrances is essential, and CCTV should make the job more effective.
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Up to the early 60's in the US, banks regularly red-lined districts for the purpose of segregation. Banks decided who was going to get a mortgage and who wasn't. They did this to insure property values. Blacks could not move into white areas. The areas that blacks could move into were short on services and already in decline.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Paying a mortgage and paying rent are not free but difference has an impact on the behavior of the residents. Low down payments were offered an an incentive to fill Co-op City. This was not offered to the black housing projects. Just having ownership goes a long way to keeping the halls clean.
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Systemic urban decay and drug prohibition is another issue entirely and worthy of its own thread.[/FONT]