Thursday, July 27, 2006

White people moving into black areas stories.

Culture: The first from the Washington Post as they follow a white couple who moved into nice part of Prince George's county of wealthy black people. The article starts off promising then falls apart as it goes into a we are the world mushy melodramatics about whites, blacks living in harmony and meshing with one another. Lines like this make my eyes roll even though its innocent enough.

Many black neighbors say they love the neighborhood mix. Although it is majority African American, at times it can look like a mini-United Nations. Michelle Jackson, a part-time consultant and Habitat for Humanity volunteer, says her 10-year-old son "plays with a Caucasian boy, an Asian boy, a boy from the Caribbean and an Indian boy."
You have to dig around to read the Hoppers are not entirely that comfortable in the area yet and one black person bring up white flight. But other than that it gets a bit too sweet for me. The other story I hold as more significant comes from South Africa. Formerly apartheid black areas are going thru a housing boom and renovation like Soweto. The BBC doesn't go into mush mode and sticks to the facts.
"In the past few years, Soweto has received a major makeover. Almost all the streets have been tarred and shopping malls are springing up. It will soon have its first four star hotel and upmarket shopping mall. This has seen some houses in the upmarket sections of the suburbs selling at over a million rand ($140,000). On the streets of Soweto, children still happily play in the streets and everyone knows their neighbours. Estate agent Mayibongwe Ntsele says these are pull factors, as people want to leave the quiet lifestyle of the historically white suburbs with their high fences. The arrival of democracy in South Africa saw township dwellers flocking to the suburbs where black people had previously been barred by segregation laws. But today things are changing. Black people are moving back, and even some white people are taking an interest, according to Mr Ntsele. "I usually get calls from white people who want to have a home in Soweto to stay, because they experience the lifestyle of the black people not just that cold life style. Soweto will be a suburb on its own," he says. "
"The property boom does not affect only Soweto, but also townships in South Africa's other main cities. A recent survey by a leading bank found that for every township home put up for sale, there are seven potential buyers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. It also found that 96% of the township homes are selling at their asking price compared with 60% on average in the formerly white suburbs. Tracy French of home loan company Mortgage SA says developers are battling to keep up with demand. "There is definitely a lot of confidence in the market - the laws have made buying property affordable and demand is keeping the market alive," she says. The boom has even seen white property companies moving into the township to get a share of the cake and banks are now offering home loans for the less affluent households. Estate agents expect the property boom to continue for a long while, as Soweto transforms itself from just a large dormitory providing labour for Johannesburg to a potentially affluent city in its own right. "
Read both stories.

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