10/14/2005

$266,666 Artist Lofts...

Artspace - 1219 Main Street
Do the math. Buffalo Blogger, Craig Howard - America's North Coast - just filed this post about the new Artspace project opening soon over in this part of town. Here's the map for other arts and education happenings here on this side of Main Street. I guess his favorite Senator was at Kleinhans yesterday and formally un-veiled Artspace's plans here in the 'hood. Well readers of this blog knew about this development 8 weeks ago in the Artspace Archive.
Here's Craig...

And really, what other economic development could anyone expect from artists? I know, I know this is all due to Richard Florida's ideas to which Buffalo clings like fleas on roadkill. The hope is that ultimately, given a hip Buffalo arts scene, that the real movers and shakers -- engineers, software designers and the like -- will be attracted here to start some actual, economically-productive businesses because Buffalo's cool -- and damn the taxes, regulations and unions.

Florida came up with his theories during the high-tech boom of the late 90s in an attempt to explain why the young entrepreneurs that were building the "new" economy located where they did. But ultimately his whole theory doesn't matter because those crazy 90s dudes blew all the money they were given, their businesses died, and they left places like San Jose worse off than they'd been before.

I've been linking to Richard Florida's nemesis Joel Kotkin, historian of 'the city,' for awhile...his work is worth revisiting, especially Kotkin's Rise of the Ephemeral City, a must read.
Perhaps most important, an economy oriented to entertainment, tourism, and "creative" functions is ill-suited to provide opportunities for more than a small slice of its population. Following such a course, it is likely to evolve ever more into a city composed of cosmopolitan elites, a large group of low-income service workers, and a permanent underclass--or into what San Francisco is already becoming, what historian Kevin Starr describes as "a cross between Carmel and Calcutta."
I just did the math for Artspace. Wonder what the construction cost/unit is over at BMHA. And after seeing a few viable houses come down in record number here in Masten this week - right behind the new Artspace area - I'm left wondering if the money $266,666/unit would have been better spent in establishing a revolving loan fund to rehab some of the existing housing stock...and create a few incentives for the artists, too...lending at prime, perhaps...

Seems like we are seeing the first signs of 'gentrification' in Buffalo...clear out the 'slum and blight' and build something (subsidized, Buffalo style) new.

And so it goes. See also....Urban Legends by Joel Kotkin
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

1 comment:

davis s said...

the eternal rightwing neagativism mixed with analogies that are not equivalent as seen at America's North Coast gets a little boring. You do have a great point which people never seem to get. Just spemd some money on these properties and people will stay and live in them. The only reason they are vacant is becasue of bad ownership combined with bad tenants. Ther are no renovated buildings in Buffalo that are vacant and that is a very interesting fact