RCC Honors History Project

re constructing the tenements isn’t a way of improving the poor way of living

Posted by amissi on March 15, 2009

don’t you think that if the board of health improve the tenements by forcing the owners to reconstruct their buildings, life would be more harder for the poor because the rent would rise? i think that the government at that time should have also consider improving the wages the poor get


2 Responses to “re constructing the tenements isn’t a way of improving the poor way of living”

  1. dmcneal347 said

    I think your right. not only did the government believe in Laissez-Faire, “the belief that unregulated competition repressented the best path to progress”, at that time, but also there was so many immigrants looking for jobs that it didnt matter how much they were paid. If they were to quit or protest they would be fired and the owners would just find new immigrants to work for them. In many cases they would be evicted becuase they worked for the tenement owners. It was a viscous circle and the only thing that helped to expose this was muckraking journalism.

  2. chad612 said

    Where I am from (Minneapolis), owners of buildings that receive tax-breaks or subsidization because they provide a certain percentage of low-income housing units are heavily pressured into replacing these units if they decide at some point to rebuild higher end (condo) housing. This has been happening recently in Minneapolis as there have been a lot of speculative condo projects in the downtown and especially the uptown areas in the last few years. Unfortunately, the developers have way overestimated the number of suburbanites willing to live in these low-income, multiracial areas. With half of the units partially built or unbuilt, the number of units sold is hovering around 20%. The relocated former tenants wind up in areas with much less convenient public transportation, the decentralized sort of areas built to suit the needs of the middle class when they left the city in the first place.

    Two generations later, uptown looks like a good way to beat the traffic jams, but people who grew up in the suburbs realize why their grandparents moved away in the first place when they are first asked for change by people of different ethnicities, so they wind up driving straight in and out of their underground parking and never exploring anything in the neighborhood. The independent restaurants and shops lose their foot traffic and go out of business. The developers have enthusiastically called one area Eat Street because of the diversity of restaurants, but this probably won’t be the case in twenty years.

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