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A body and gentrification

February 6, 2005 8:20 am by

More information about the body found on 24th St has been released. Always a good read, a long piece by Mark Holmberg goes into the housing situation, gentrification, some short history of the area, and the role of the RRHA.

Snippets from the article:

“The deceased: 61-year-old Walter Bell, address unknown. Cause of death, still undetermined. His court record, unremarkable.”

The rebirth that has transformed large hunks of Richmond has been slow to come to these numbered streets lined with faded frame houses built in the early 1900s.

“Venable Street, the main artery for traffic, cuts through this neighborhood, where a fair number of walking wounded stagger around or stand in the shadows. It’s one of the toughest sections left in the city, and a classic example of the so-called “broken-window syndrome”: Vacant, rundown buildings tend to attract vacant, rundown lives.”

If you think about it, the housing picture in some of Richmond’s tougher neighborhoods can seem pretty daunting.

Do you just want to let code enforcement and tax collectors play hardball with older or poorer residents who can’t afford to maintain their homes, but can’t afford to live elsewhere?

Do you want private-developer profiteering to gentrify neighborhoods to the point of forcing out those who live there?

How concerned should you be about saving old buildings that define those neighborhoods?

Where is the line between forced beautification and governmental intrusion on personal property rights?


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