"Love is, as far as I can tell, the most mature response to any situation - the pinnacle of what it means to be truly human. Love is a wrench in the wheels of cause and effect, of reactionary living, of casual imitation. Yes, speed and events are all around us in the information age, but motion, true motion, is rare. Love is the movement." - Jon Foreman

Good Reads:

The "Triangle Noir"

Posted by Ryan Fowler Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I ran across a pretty interesting article was in the Commercial Appeal yesterday.

The article included a document that outlines the plans for future downtown Memphis developments.

It's called "Triangle Noir" and it has some pretty big implications. As these plans get closer to becoming a reality, the heated conversation will once again arise concerning public housing policies for the poor.

The Triangle Noir development will use HOPE VI government funding to replace the last two remaining housing projects in the city of Memphis with mixed-income affordable housing neighborhoods. The process will include relocating the residents in these housing projects to other housing options while the development takes place. Lately I've been interested in hearing what residents from the Cleaborn Homes project have to say about their coming relocation.

If you've ever been down to either of the remaining housing projects, you will quickly realize that they are definitely substandard housing units at best. Mold, collapsing ceilings, inneficient utilities, and crumbling walls are standard features of these dwellings. Most of the families I have talked to seem to be glad that they will finally be able to get out of their current housing situation. High crime and dilapidated housing don't hold much appeal, but a few have also expressed their distrust of the city to treat them with respect during the process of relocation.

While I generally support the HOPE VI funded redevelopments (I live in one), I also worry about residents who might not receive the support that they need during this process. If done right, the Triangle Noir development could be a big boost for the living conditions for many low-income residents in our city. If done poorly, the poor will be the ones who suffer.

We need to be a voice for our neighbors in the city during this process. The city government needs to be aware that they will be held accountable for the ways in which they treat families currently living in Cleaborn and Foote Homes.

I encourage others to send an email to the assistant of Robert Lipscomb, director of Memphis Housing and Community Development. Let him know that we are excited about the future developments in our city, but that we also care about the residents currently living in Cleaborn and Foote Homes. Here is the email for Mr. Lipscomb's assistant: Charlotte.Conner@memphistn.gov

We need the city to know that citizens with a voice will be watching closely, cheering them on when positive progress is being made, but also holding them accountable when it comes to treating our neighbors with dignity and respect.

To check out the "Triangle Noir" development document, click here.