Category Archives: Reflection

How is change managed in a city, and who manages that change? Do people have a “right” to the city?

Changes can be hard to accept, whether it’s a huge or something very small. In fact, changes are necessary sometimes. During two of our last classes, we watched movies about changes that happened and are happening in NYC. These are the changes that we ordinary residents of the city cannot manage, because of our limited power. Changes in a city are managed by the higher class people, who have enough money to afford convincing government that their plan is good. In reality, all they think about is making more money. I believe people don’t really have the right to manage changes in their neighborhoods. They do have some power to stop those changes temporarily, but eventually, they will have to give up. Though, I do think that people should not have too much power over managing the changes, because they will almost always choose the old over new, where they feel comfortable, but they do need the change. I think people who make changes, do need to highly respect what locals want, whether it’s something new or old. By respect I mean, integrating old stuff into new to make everyone happy.

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Based on the two documentaries “My Brooklyn” and “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,” I learned that it is the elite, the wealthy, and the business developers who are in control of the “power” and have more say and “benefits” of many of the changes in the city. In the first documentary, “My Brooklyn” I noted that it was the City Council is in charge of the land use, where there it enabled for these developers to create these plans that changed the downtown Brooklyn neighborhood. Many of the developers targeted the Kings Plaza mall to replace it with a better one called Albee Fulton mall. Many of the people who already worked and lived there for many years had to relocate with no help at all, even after having a meeting with the City Council members. The people who were part of the downtown Brooklyn were displaced in many ways that they either lost businesses and their customers. This plan changed the community in many ways. I feel like one angle that “My Brooklyn” video focuses on is that this problem happened because neighborhood was of a “racial dynamic.”

I think we have the right to the city because many of us are paying the taxes and we do live in the city. Having developers pursue what they want will disrupt our communities. In both films, I understood that urbanization changed many of our lives and many ways that the city functions (for the better or the worse). Many of the events such as the protesting of building a highway or a mall could have been changed, if enough of the people and the community were able to fight the developers, such as how Jane Jacobs did, because she was skeptical about things and about the people who lived in the city.

How is change managed; Who has a right to the City ?

We can all agree on one thing; change is the only constant in life. Change can be scary, risky, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unacceptable. This we can’t stop, what can we do about change then?  Napoleon once said, “One must change one’s tactics every 10 years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.” In today’s society the pace of change is immensely faster, and it will only continue to accelerate. The question then becomes, how do we manage change and who has the right to make the decisions that cause these changes?

In the movies “My Brooklyn” and “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”, the one constant was Change. In both movies, the decisions for the change in the area was made by high ranking bureaucrats and the civilians were left to deal with the effects of the change. They were collateral damages and the loss of their businesses and homes were looked on as acceptable losses for “the greater good”. Changes in cities shouldn’t always be about money, there are people who call cities their home and should at least be considered in some capacity while making these changes. As citizens and inhabitants of a city, we should have as much rights to the city as the decision makers because at the end of the day, without the people who make cities, there would not be any cities. We would just have a cluster of empty buildings.

The City is what it is because of the people who live in it