The Destruction Cycle

The Destruction Cycle.  I like that.  It sounds ominous and terrible.  I doubt anyone will look at it and shrug it off saying, “Oh, the life cycle.”

In the diverse group I work with are the entrepreneurs, investors in their own future, who venture in the world of real estate.  The general discussion started around a piece of property for sale on the edge of The Bad Part of Town.  Being diverse, the topic of gentrification was tossed out.  It was strange to hear the same individuals who are investing in real estate express that it was wrong.  The evil was identified as ripping off the home owners by only paying fifty or sixty thousand for a run down town house, only to rehab it and sell it to someone else for three hundred thousand.

The urban growth cycle has been observed and documented before.  Communities are born, grow, flourish and eventually start to fail.  The value drops and lower income families move in.  Add to that the tendency for investors to rent these houses, the lack of ownership stresses the neighborhood more.  The life cycle for the are in question was about eighty years.  Most of the construction is making use of the existing foundations and some are trying to preserve the amazing architecture and stone work.  Others are just trying to make as much money as they can with cookie cutter apartments that could have been designed in Mother Russia during the Cold War.

We destroy our past to create our future, building on the bones of our ancestors and our history.  There is no Year Zero for us or our descendants.  They have to start from where we are as a nation, a people, with all the good and bad that got us here.  Growth and competition, robber barons, railroad tycoons, medical and scientific breakthroughs, we don’t know if we should applaud or lament because of the lives sacrificed to get here.  The Constitution allows for the growth cycle.  It allows for the nation to change.

It’s all of a piece.  I look at society and see natural competition, destruction and growth.  Back up and look at it again.  We can’t forget the past but we can change some of the things we don’t like.  Our children will change more.  We are going to have to destroy some of the old neighborhoods to do it, not everyone is going to like that, it’s how we grow.

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