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Thread: Urban decline zone (AIB Kingmak)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Urban decline zone (AIB Kingmak)

    Kingmak posted about fortune tellers being examples of an "urban decline use." He added other uses such as pawn shops, tattoo studios, check cashing and SOBs as examples of other urban decline uses. That got me thinking about uses that indicate that the surrounding area is in decline. I suppose methadone clinic would be one. Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Finally! Growing up on the bad side of the tracks pays me dividends!

    Cell Phone Stores
    Wig shops
    Used Appliance dealers
    Used autoparts/junk yards
    Liquor Stores
    Overabundance of Family Dollar or Dollar General discount stores
    Nudie bars

    Soup Kitchens
    Homeless shelters
    Storefront Churches/Mosques

    And the obvious: Ratio of Buildings that have remained empty, unused, and stripped for years to occupied ones.

    The nastiest manufacturing you can think of (stamping, hog butchers) as those who live in the areas not in decline would complain and the areas in decline are willing to put up with them for jobs.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Eh, no Maceys?

    Physical attributes:
    former gas stations/convenience stores replaced with used car lots, most often higher end vehicles
    security bars on windows & doors
    oversized signs with garish red or yellow backgrounds

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Finally! Growing up on the bad side of the tracks pays me dividends!
    Soup Kitchens
    Homeless shelters
    Storefront Churches/Mosques
    In my hometown, storefronts would fill with social service agencies, zapping even more life out of a struggling neighborhood business district. Who wants to stroll down a Main Street lined with food banks, one stop offices, nonprofits, and the like?



    Deeper in the 'hood, it's barber and beauty shops, furniture/appliance rental, and Yemeni delis.





    Another indicator: what I call "street glurge", bad murals that were initiated as feelgood projects.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    One more thought:

    I grew up in the Kensington neighborhood in the City of Buffalo. Kensington was what I'd call an "entry level neighborhood"; lower middle to middle class, the kind of place where many bought their first houses, and quite a few stayed. That is, up until the mid-1980s, when a wave of socioeconomic transition started to roll over the neighborhood, from south to north. Whites, blacks and Asians with means left, replaced mostly by lower income blacks. By the late 1990s, Kensington was considered "ghetto", with all the indicators: poverty, crime, children in Head Start and free school lunch programs, and so on.

    Bailey Avenue is the commercial hub of Kensington. The changes that took place on Bailey Avenue between 1984, when I graduated high school, and 1992, when my parents moved to the 'burbs, were quite dramatic.

    * Most specialty stores that catered to a middle class with disposable income closed or moved to the suburbs. Among them were a hobby shop, coin dealer, bridal/gift shop, computer store, comic book store, TV and appliance store, and an orthopedic shoe stores. One new store opened that sold nothing but pagers and urban clothing; 1990s, remember. Last time I drove through, there were a lot of stores selling Cricket and Boost phones. Of course, there was a wig store.

    * The store that sold new dinette sets was replaced by a furniture/appliance rental store. Several other rent-to-own stores opened up and down Bailey.

    * Most personal services (dry cleaners, tailors, shoe repair, optometry, etc) left. Barbers and beauty shops that catered to whites all closed, and were replaced with those that catered to blacks. Several new nail salons opened. The last time I visited, every other block seemed to have an income tax preparation business.

    * Hardware stores remained open, and one expanded thanks to an increase in tool and yard equipment rental.

    * Many of the bank branches in the neighborhood closed. A couple were replaced by pawn shops.

    * Most chain stores closed. However, one new chain store opened: Payless Shoe Source.

    * Most table service restaurants in the neighborhood closed. A new Caribbean and soul food restaurant opened.

    * Carry-out restaurants changed; less pizza and subs, more chicken and Chinese food.

    * A large number of new Yemeni delis opened.

    * Most established liquor stores closed. New residents didn't buy the wine and liqueurs they stocked. Yemeni delis do a brisk business selling forties.

    * Neighborhood hole-in-the-wall bars gradually closed.

    * Throughout the 1980s, one large men's clothing store changed their target market from lower middle to middle class whites to urban blacks. Not so much urban/street wear, but suits and dress shirts that were "shinier", brands you're not going to see at a mall, and religious clothing. They're still in business.

    * Most "white" churches closed, except for a few with smaller sanctuaries that could survive the steep drop in congregants. AME, COGIC and independent Baptist congregations took the place of Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Methodist congregations. The Roman Catholic church closed a couple of years ago. Storefront churches and outreach missions became more prevalent.

    * All of the "white" funeral homes closed. One became a "black" funeral home. Yes, even funeral homes are segregated.

    * Many storefronts were filled by social service agencies and health clinics.

    * The streetwall along Bailey Avenue started to rot away. Sidewalk-fronting buildings lost to fire were replaced by surface parking.

    * Business signs became larger, more garish, and more amateurish. Bubble awnings became more common, but many signs were just painted on the building, and a lot just looked like graffiti. I doubt any were legal.

    * Some storefronts were painted in garish colors; yellow and red were the most popular colors. Some sealed up their street-facing windows.


    This used to be the bank where I had my first bank account.


    Varsity Drugs. Where my family had all their prescriptions. I used to play with their tube tester.


    Field's Hobby Shop. They moved to Cheektowaga.


    Former pizzeria and hardware store.


    Wurzburger Hof, my parents' favorite restaurant.


    Lombardo's, the "fancy" Italian restaurant.


    Buffalo Harley-Davidson, and The Library, a fern bar.


    AM-PM Mini Market

    Get off my lawn!
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    When the city starts putting in their own social services, rec. centers, etc. to help "revitalize" the neighborhood. No one else wants to invest here, the city needs to.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

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