Albany in QoL Freefall

I have some Saturday shopping “habits” that all end in the same way, with me leaping from the CDTA bus, with a wave to the driver and ducking under the untrimmed branches that slap me in the face at Washington and Dove. What has always been neatly groomed vegetation, is getting out of hand…this week myself, and everyone else I’ve observed, have had to bend in half to get down the sidewalk at this busy corner and in very many walk/driveways throughout the community.

I noticed this progressive element of Urban Decline while enjoying my rides on CDTA as they crash into sagging tree limbs on all the major routes. The low hanging branches drag along the top of the buses…I don’t know if CDTA has complained to the City but I sure would! So, what, you ask? Well this is so what, a noticeable lack of care for urban vegetation is a dangerous sign of urban decline. While those who are not pedestrians and don’t use public transportation may think this isn’t affecting them, think again.

If the buses are now being beat up and the branches continue to hang low….when is this disrepair going to affect our emergency services? My prediction, it won’t be long. Oh, and if you aren’t worried about the delivery of emergency services perhaps you’ll have an ounce of empathy when you see the folks from the NE Association of the Blind as they are learning to navigate the community and getting smacked in the face with branches. (Yup, it’s happening!)

As you will see from the chart below, we are not in the beginning stages of decline, we are well on our way in Albany towards becoming the next Flint, Michigan.

 

·         Political decisions– governments can favor some areas over others, and encourage the development of some areas over others.

 

·         Another cause is the outmigration of wealthier and more skilled people leaves a lesser qualified population. This removes people who are better off economically, leaving the area to those who are usually poorer, which contributes to higher unemployment rates, a characteristic of urban decay.

 

·         Decline in Quality of housing stock- The old pre-war buildings get worse because of poor maintenance because the owners are unwilling to spend money on maintenance or because the tenants cannot afford to spend money on maintenance. The stock can also decline in quality if population densities become too high.

 

·         There was a lack of urban planning in the past. Things such as narrow streets cause traffic congestion and can force people and investment away.

 

·         The loss of industry through changing market conditions or a lack of/withdrawal of government support. As with many American cities, many of the manufacturing industries were located in the North and outsourcing of many industries to low wage Asian countries has decimated those industries. This situation has also encouraged a migration to warmer climates in the South.

 

·         The concentration of low income groups in certain areas of a city can lead to urban decay because of poverty. The residents in certain areas of the City are often low-income group (or new immigrants) who reside there for easy access to work. This carries with it social issues. Indeed, high levels of poverty can result in higher drug use and increase the level of crime, which contributes to urban decay. When crime levels go up, property prices decrease, leading to higher levels of building disrepair and eventual abandonment

 

·         Racism and a lack of ethnic integration. Historically, African-Americans might be declined jobs and loans, both of which would help their economic status as well as the health of their neighborhoods. Discrimination can therefore promote unemployment, which in turn promotes poverty, street gangs and illegal drug-trafficking activities and other crimes.

 

I had planned on uploading pictures of Albany showing trashy sidewalks, overflowing trashcans, crumbling steps on historic buildings, street people living on stoops, dog poop bags piling up in urban gardens, drug dealing in the streets and on the busses, my recent increase in Central Ave hookers and so many other things…but I’m just so damn tired of it…I’m tired of bitching about it and finding that the priorities of the City are more aligned with award ceremony than dealing with the obvious.

Besides, if you open your eyes, you will see the same thing.

UPDATE: The tree branches at the corner of Dove and Washington have been trimmed...as a matter of fact, the entire limb has been removed. Unfortunately, much more needs to be done. (Oh hey, I found a person sleeping (????) in my old trash shed! Ya gotta love a city where every one has a place to rest their head!)

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