I needed to drive 140 miles to pick up Tootie and Kathryn from an evening arrival at the Charlotte airport. Using the opportunity I got to Charlotte early, parked the car, took my bicycle out of the trunk and spent most of the day looping though the streets of Charlotte.
I took lots of pictures. Charlotte calls its downtown Uptown. In a couple of areas I was struck by extreme and pervasive teardowning. Southeast of Uptown in the prosperous neighborhoods of Dilworth and Myers Park small houses built in the 1940’s – 1960’s are being torn down and replaced by much larger houses. Sometimes this is done in good taste, sometimes not. I think this practice upsets the neighbors but there are a lot of bigger problems in the world. It also shows the growing inequality in America.
There is very different teardowning going on in the other direction, northwest of Uptown in and near the neighborhood of Seversville, which looked to me an African American neighborhood now gentrifying. This whole area is only about two miles from the high rises of Uptown.
All over the country 1920’s houses in the bungalow/arts & crafts style are popular. Clearly there is insufficient supply in Charlotte, so the gentrification of this formerly mostly African-American neighborhood allows incoming young professionals an opportunity to build their own 1920’s bungalow. There are a few original houses in the 1920’s style in Seversville, but mostly plain box houses are being replaced by brand new houses in this 1920’s style. The house on the left is old, the house on the right in brand new.
My car was parked across the street. An older small house wedged between two brand new larger houses (that look old!).
Right old, left brand new
Left old, right new.
Bicycling just a few blocks further west and the gentrification stops in its tracks. Commercial strips are essentially abandoned, two or three miles from Uptown Charlotte. Is it all based on race? I think it is. Every city in America has areas like this. Why does no one want to live or work here? These parts of towns have modernist commercial architecture that would have been torn down in more prosperous areas.
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