Here's a town that I am familiar with—i have lived near there, taught classes in the campus which is a heavily protected area on the edges of the city. I've know people who've lived in the downtown and they've described it as much worse than the worst parts of the Philadelphia, a city itself, which has struggled with areas of deep poverty. Camden is embedded in an area with pockets of prosperity—it can seem like that way around here a lot a lot; the amount of racial and/or economic segregation is extreme. Attempts to revitalize these cities and communities that helps the residents have been superficial. And now there are people, doing what they've always done in this area—revitalize through gentrification rather than trying to resolve the structural issues in this city:
Rent for a one-bedroom at The Victor is about $1,200 a month, a bargain compared with New York prices, but steep when you consider Camden's average income is under $13,000.
As a writer writing about a changing Camden, you couldn't hope for better symbolism: For most of the 1900s, the building housed an RCA stereo factory, which provided hundreds of jobs to Camden residents. After General Electric bought RCA, production in Camden was shut down in 1992 and the building was left vacant, often prone to vandalism. In 2003, a mega-developer from Philadelphia came in, bought the property, and rebranded it as a luxury loft destination for adventurous professionals.
"Come see the changing face of Camden," the area's economic development website says.
They did it with the Aquarium. The University is separate. It seems like they are going to open up another segregated area, whose residents and involvement do very little good for the people already living there. It might be related to laissez faire capitalism—in that land grabs and the solutions of the wealthy land developers are seen as the way to manage this situation, rather than looking social programs, particularly those that address community wide issues.
I don't know what you think, but it's frustrating to see, once again, these bandaid solutions that do nothing to help the citizens of Camden.