Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gentrification, urbanization and the diversity factor

I must say that the topic of this discussion I owe to a friend who came a posting on the city-data site about urban turnaround in Cincinnati that essetially stated that Cincinnati had shot itself in the foot because due to rampant homophobia by the religious right that drove many in the gay community away to other cities like Indianapolis Indiana and Columbus Ohio.

In large part they may have a valid point. Coming from Indianapolis I can tell you that many people born and raised in Cincinnati moved here to Indy. I think driven more by our vibrant economy than anything else. But the gay community here has been largely responsible for the Urban Pioneering and gentrification of the downtown here. In fact many in the gay community have made millions on the "revitilization" of the downtown.

Having said that Cincinnati makes perfect sense to me. I for one, dont care what some Evangelical Christains thinks. Last weekend on our trip to Cincinnati I saw alot more gay couples around Findlay Market than I expected. True mostly 20 somethings, but they were open and I found most people not really seeming to care.

Were Cincinnati's gay community to create a Marketing and Public Relations organization geared towards marketing to gay people in other cities they might have some sucess. But it needs to be done in one or two concentrated areas like OTR. Cincinnati looks alot like San Francisco and look at property values there. In order to be sucessful they need to get their act together with quality bars and entertainment. Night life in Cincinnati is not up to par with other cities in the Midwest. Not all gays want to watch a drag show. They do want a good neighborhood restaurant or pub. And there has to be a Lowes or Home depot close by.

1 comment:

ekalb said...

The gay community here was once much more vibrant during the 90's. Politically the local Stonewall chapter held some of the largest fundraiser dinners in the MidWest. Unfortunately the diversity factor was a serious contention for Cincinnati. For many years Cincinnati was the only place in the US with this law: "Article XII bars city officials from enacting or enforcing any measure that gives "minority or protected status, quota preference or other preferential treatment" to homosexuals and bisexuals". So now you may understand why many left.

Thankfully a consortium of groups fought and won the repeal of the article in 2004.

Another item about Cincinnati is that we have more Fortune 100 companies here than New York or DC. Which means that many in the gay community are more likely to transfer to other cities for business than their co-workers with children. Which makes it difficult for community businesses to keep clientele.

One of my favorite places was Carol's Cafe. A fantastic bar/restaurant. It is sorely missed in the community.

I lived in Indy for 2 years. I had a wonderful time there. But I missed my beautiful Cincinnati.

Enjoy reading your blog.