Communities and Social Change from Below
Chapter 6: South Bronx: a whole community fighting social exclusion
The South Bronx is a socially excluded urban area that has significantly improved over the last 40 years. It has been revitalized and transformed from a national symbol of urban dystopia into a collection of ordinary working-class neighbourhoods. However, stigmatization remains a handicap; environmental problems have not been adequately addressed; housing is still not affordable for many; unemployment is high, the poverty rate remains extreme and access to good education is a serious contemporary problem. In the South Bronx, the Great Recession hit an area that was already vulnerable, shrouded in a sense of a lack of investment. There is a feeling among residents that public authorities have failed their community and that public institutions should do more for the area. At the same time, though, in recent decades a strong sense of belonging – fostered by the ‘we stay’ movement – has helped to build a community with solid ties and a powerful organizing capacity. This community has struggled, has influenced public policies and has been able to work together with public authorities in order to improve the South Bronx. There is a history in the South Bronx of organizations and interests banding together.
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