economic development

“Garbage” Versus “Good Parts”

Throughout the United States, there is a strange obsession with maintaining towns like the beginning of Charles Dickens novel: there are the “best of parts,” and there are the “worst of parts.” The “best” parts have attractive businesses that appeal both to residents and tourists, while the “worst” parts have multiple copies of franchises that sell remakes of similar food. Unique trades and services are offered in the comfortable parts of town, while the disadvantaged areas offer predatory practices and restorative services, such as bail bonds and paternity testing. Potential business owners that live in such companies are blocked by investment firms that see only the poorly assigned businesses, while seed money and financial capital flows through wealthy neighborhoods. To add insult to injury, most marginalized communities have garbage flowing everywhere, reflecting the thoughts of the majority of outsiders.

Despite the fact that many working-class residents clean other facilities for low pay, the expectation is that such a population should still feel enough “pride” in their communities to constantly clean there as well. Few people in the upper echelons have actually worked in the service sectors, so they fail to recognize that between sporadic schedules and sleep requirements, there is little time to arrange for neighborhood maintenance, and few people who would simultaneously be available. That is problematic, considering that several contractors live in working-class neighborhoods, but are currently being paid poorly enough that they cannot afford home maintenance.

Remember the franchises and gas stations that exist primarily in low-income communities? Most of those businesses create a lot of waste, and sadly, not every business has been socialized to offer waste disposal—and most people are on their way to alternate destinations. There are almost no biodegradable wrappers in fast food, and the sugar-laden beverages are offered in plastic water bottles with entrepreneurs who have not encouraged customers to bring their own bottles. Well-established neighborhoods are accustomed to those kinds of amenities, and attract tourists without effort. Distressed communities are often ignored by local government entities, only capturing attention of academics who study the area and then abandon them. Trash is not just the responsibility of the constituents in proximity of an area, and government officials should avoid demonstrating overt bias over the areas that they too often offer for “renewal.”

Featured Image: Recycling Plant at 820 and Hemphill, Fort Worth, Texas

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