Middle: Photo of Fulham, UK: Helsinki51
“We knew our corner of Fulham was on the downward slide when, instead of hearing songbirds, we started noticing squadrons of crows,” says resident Maxine Fox. “They had grown fat and glossy on a diet of discarded fast food and vomit. It was a shock to discover that an area that was quite smart when we moved there in the late 1980s could go downhill.”
This is a quote from an article in the UK Telegraph entitled, “Going Down in the World” concerning what happens when once solid neighborhoods go into permanent decline. These places do not gain Starbucks, yoga studios, or Gaps, but instead begin to show public disorder, filth and neglect caused by abandonment and poverty.
In Van Nuys, even many single family neighborhoods have multiple cars and trucks parked on the curb: a sign that renters and multiple adults are living together under one roof. Many homeowners do not cut their lawns, they leave trash cans next to the curb, they move out and rent their own homes to sub-leasers. The similarities with declining UK areas is striking.
The article explains more signs of reverse gentrification: “….multi-occupied housing, cracks on pavements, old abandoned mattresses with funny stains on them languishing outside rooming houses.”
Just this morning, here in Van Nuys, I was awakened by the screaming sounds of crows. We often see discarded condoms and fast food wrappers near our home. There are two trucks parked full of junk left on the corner of Gilmore and Columbus every night. Houses near Victory and Columbus look like maximum security prisons with iron gates and regiments of militant Pit Bulls, Dobermans and German Shepherds. There is also that mattress left at the corner of Hamlin and Columbus.
Is someone trying to tell me something?