Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Living in the midst of the City

I just finished Home Girl: Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block by Judith Matloff. I could relate in many ways to the story of this woman who has chosen to purchase a house in West Harlem, a place that was not on most realtor’s maps and her friends wouldn’t come visit during the early 2000s. Her story is humbling, funny, and reflective.

She reflects at several points in the book about gentrification. As she sees her neighborhood change from a Dominician stronghold and a place that realtors have labeled frontier and those that were interested in buying there as pioneers to a multicultural block with closer amenities, she struggles with understanding whose side she was on.

Was Miguel the local head drug guy really that bad? Were her fears of her next door neighbor who liked crack founded? Should she worry about being in this neighborhood? Would it be hell to pay if Miguel found out that while relating with him she also attended community activism meetings to try to get the drug trade to move from her street?

These are good questions, for Matloff, for me, and for our DOOR year long (Dwell) participants. By living in a place that doesn’t have clear cut answers within a complex intentional community and in a neighborhood filled with stories, the answers won’t come easy.

Maybe in asking of the questions we are able to live more intentionally?

No comments:

Post a Comment