Yesterday I met up with a long time friend and Brooklyn business owner and a commercial real estate developer pal. My friend is looking into expanding his business in Philly so I tagged along with them to scope out neighborhoods talk to other business owners and get a general feel of Philadelphia. We had some pretty interesting conversations regarding gentrification, the inevitable boring cloud that will roll over nyc due to pricing out creatives, and we also talked about our various view on what the future holds as far as urban development.
If you ever want to really get the lowdown on what's to come in your neighborhood, make friends with a real estate developer and members of city council. So much of the conversations about what will be allowed to go where are are determined by those two entities...with supposed input from the community residents. The part that was so startling to me about many of the views of the developer was how much money and aquisition of it seemed to be a primarily concern. For examples, the proposed plan to build a gated high rise luxury apartment building in an area of row houses. The community was completely against it. The developer was for it stating that by bring in higher earning residents the city could have more tax revenue. My concern is that property taxes are done based on average area incomes so that would inevitably push out old tenants by the tax increase. He argued that the schools and public facilities, such as parks would get more funding from that and get better...but better for whom? My concern was primarily for the residents that currently live in the neighborhood not the rich ones he hoped to invite. I understand that change is inevitable and cities are constantly in a state of flux. One thing that became very apparent in that conversation is that there is a huge gap in perspective in how residents view where they live and developers view that same region. I truely feel that most folks just want a decent roof over their head in a safe and neighborhoor. There are so many people in the business of shaping what that means to potential buyers, often done in a way that doesn't support diversity in age, backgrounds and socioeconomic position. Doing that isn't generally as profitable. So that gap in perspective of what the future of the neighborhood could be is so large that folks are often not even speaking the same language.
I don't think that all developers are bad folks and there are some beautiful examples of valuable developments such as Crane art and the teachers lofts on philadelphia. It's just that so much of the positive development is rarely enjoyed by people of color and old neighborhood residents. I'm sure alot of this has to do with the limited participation and involment if those parties with city planning, funding and development.
That limited involvement sounds like the same problem with every other sector (with the exclusion of activism) of business, from art, fashion, music, finance, tech, entertainment etc. At the end of our conversation I had a series of mixed emotions and thoughts.
I'm always honored to rock with the Toofly, Circa95 crew. Just received the press release which means the pop up shop is officially on and Junkprints (aka me) will be there! See below for the deets.
LADIES LOVE PROJECT PRESENTS:
HOLIDAY 2012 POP UP SHOP! Shopping Event Showcases Brazen Art, Avant-Garde Fashion & Design at the University Settlement!
On Saturday, November 17, 2012, the LADIES LOVE PROJECT presents its 6th POP-UP SHOP at University Settlement 183 Eldridge St from 12pm – 10pm. The PROJECT, a brainchild of renowned street artist TOOFLY, sound sensation PattyDukes & Rephstar of the Circa95 duo and creative non-profit efficionado A.Mari, highlights some of NYC’s most creative underground artists and designers. The one-day-only event boasts an intimate, yet extraordinary colorful market shopping experience – designed to familiarize consumers, media and tastemakers with artists currently celebrating prominence.
Featured female market designers and artists include Toofly, Junkprints, Vanilla Medallions, Dominique Reneè, Shiro – as well as the fellas Marka27, Rebelution, Soh Nup Ink, and a host of others, will be exhibiting one of a kind, limited edition, handcrafted goods just in time for the holidays! Event music across all genres will be handled by RephStar and Dj Enygma. A live broadcast of the event will be streamed all day at www.Circa95.com and will include the first ever performance showcase by Brooklyn based rap sensation, and self-proclaimed “Mistress of Ceremonies,” Jasmine Solano. Complimentary empanadas, coquito, and cupcake treats will be served by Jenny Kinns Cupcakes, Mi Isla Coquito, and Martha’s Kitchen. Funky fresh ladies in the *new* LLP Lounge will be rocking make-up makeovers, dope nail art, and tarot card readings. This year the photo fun will continue with homegirls Sheena She on deck with event photography and Samantha Morales holding down the LLP Photobooth!
University Settlement, a celebrated art and community space located in the Lower East Side, plays host to the eclectic mix of prosperous and established talent. Art pieces on canvas, jewelry, t-shirts, graffiti, make-up, nails, live music—you name it— the LADIES LOVE PROJECT HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP doesn’t get any more New York than this! “Having the LADIES LOVE PROJECT POP-UP SHOP in our space is a perfect fit,” says Alison Fleminger, Manager of University Settlement space. “All of the vendors have styles that honor old New York, but each demonstrates a unique progression with great, must-have niche items.” “We are ecstatic and honored to be partnering with such a NYC institution of Art! We, the LLP team and event participants, are enthused to be hosted in this inviting space – the pop up will be sure to kick the holiday off with LOVE!”