Monday, January 23, 2017

Video shows inner city regeneration can be achieved

Having written recently about the decline of city centres - including my home town - and how it affects people's income, jobs and lives, I am specially happy to recomment a vido by American film-maker Kirsten Dirksen, which you can watch via Youtube or on her blog.*

The 30 minutes-plus film traces the history of a citizens' revival plan of the main street in a small urban community in Water Valley, Mississippi, where over a couple of decades some 18 retail stores and businesses had closed, creating a lifeless, ugly Hight Street.

It was largely a private initiative to start with which gathered in numbers and strength to create a local business association, which succeeded in renovating 29 solid brick-built buildings and opening a variety of small businesses - among them a restaurant, drugstore, art galley, a boutqie hotel, apartments,  and a 10,000 squate feet 'alternative' supermarket selling fresh, locally produced foods and fighting off a challenge from Walmart.

Local jobs have been created and as one observer notes Saturday nights see the whole area crowded with people - many of them students at the local State University.

The video offers a tour of several of the buildings before, during and after renovation and is a heartening reminder of what can be done when determined local people get together to bring about change.

* Kirsten's blog is: Select under 'Categories' 'videos' - it is the latest currently posted on her site. Commentary is in English.

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