Falls Church Plan to End Homelessness

In 2008, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a “Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community.” The plan and its implementation had been in talks for a little over year, and it was finally set into motion in March of 2008. The main goal of the plan is that by 2016, every person in the community will access and maintain decent, safe, and affordable housing. The plan is about 26 pages long, but still manages to provide a fairly accurate overview of the homelessness and housing situation as well as a detailed strategy to solve this problem. The plan overall is presented logically and easy to follow, with an important and valuable apparent focus on inclusion, collaboration, and community input.

The plan starts off with a list of values that explain both the reasons for needing the plan, as well as the way in which it was developed, with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion. Next, the plan discusses the history of collaboration between community and local government, with funds from private foundations (as was the case with STICC donors in New Orleans), in previous handling of homelessness in the area, all of which led to written strategies that were presented to the community in 2006. Next is a list of people on the planning committee, a mix of government and non-profit employees, community members, someone from a housing and development corporation, and one representative of Freddie Mac, one of the foundations helping with funds. Next, there are several pages dedicated to the state and demographics of homelessness in the area at the time the plan was written, in 2006, with the total homeless population adding up to 2,077 individuals.

Following the demographic breakdown was an overview of the then available shelters and housing for the homeless population, including the very limited transitional and permanent housing available, making it clear that the needs of the population were not being met. The next section of the plan focuses on the challenges in providing affordable housing, with a focus on prices in the area rising faster than wages, and especially those of low-income workers. These topics take up just under the first half of the plan, and establish homelessness and unavailability of affordable housing as a serious housing in the Falls Church area. The next chapter then focuses on the end goals of the plan, with a housing first approach that focuses on first providing housing in order to transition people out of homelessness; therefore establishing affordable housing as the main goal of the plan, as it is beneficial both morally and fiscally.

The next chapter of the plan then focuses on the details of the steps needed to carry out the plan. In it, four key strategies are put forward:

  • “Strategy #1: Prevent homelessness due to economic crisis and/or disability.
  • Strategy #2: Preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing to prevent or remedy homelessness.
  • Strategy #3: Deliver appropriate support services to obtain and maintain stable housing.
  • Strategy #4: Create a management system for plan implementation with the collaboration of the public and private sectors that ensures adequate financial resources and accountability.” (Community Plan, 2006)

The plan goes on to describe these strategies in detail, before finally finishing up with a few logistics, including a discussion of cost, of gaining support and resources from politicians and community members, and a final call to action reiterating the need for the plan.

This plan has a lot of strong points.  For one, it goes into great detail on each strategic point, detailing what’s to be done in certain situations to both prevent and deal with homelessness, rather than leaving the strategy in vague, often unachievable, terms. One especially strong point too, is the plan’s inclusion of the importance of educating the community on the issue of homelessness, both to inform those in need, as well as to ensure support from the community itself.

Furthermore, the plan’s focus on collaboration of community, non-profit, and governmental organizations is one that not only allows input from all relevant parties, but one that is proven to work for other issues in Fairfax County. This collaboration, as well as the direct involvement of community members in both the creation of the plan itself as well as its implementation, helps avoid the problems faced by communities dealing with non-profits in Arena’s book. In the examples provided by Arena, non-profits tended to decide what needed to be done, while in collaboration with private foundations, without really consulting with the community itself. From this plan, however, community members appear to have a say, and the clear main focus of the plan is ending homelessness, wherein fiscal benefits are secondary, and generally gained by the county itself rather than outside parties. The main potential flaw in this plan, unfortunately, is one that it seems would be difficult to avoid, given the limited resources and budget provided by the government. This therein is the funding provided by private foundations such as Freddie Mac, as well as their inclusion on the planning committee (Arena, 85).

This situation provides some room for issues that were brought up by Arena, with private foundations using their funds to control public projects in their favor. However, this does not mean this is automatically the case, as the foundations could merely be providing funds and backing off. This plan, however, fails to clarify their role in the plan, and indeed does not much mention where funding will come from overall, though it does project long-term savings as a result of following the plan. Overall, the Fairfax- Falls Church Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness is a fairly solid plan, with strengths of collaboration and inclusion that appear to outweigh its potential flaws, and, if implemented correctly, should serve to work fairly well, provided the facts within the plan are accurate.

Works Cited

  1. Arena, John. Driven from New Orleans How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 2012. Print.
  1. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/fairfax_strategy_end_homelessness.pdf


Reed Kingsmen

Community Power

Professor Martin

October 26, 2015

Reaction Paper 1

For this reaction paper I decided to focus on “N.I.M.B.Y” movements in particular the Windmill Programs within the United States and the counter resistance towards them.  I chose this topic mainly because of how irrational the arguments against it have been. This project if proposed on a national level would pass without issue due to the benefits far outweighing and negative attributes but due to local N.I.M.B.Y movements these efforts have been in halted in a standstill due to no one wanting it in their area.

The acronym “N.I.M.B.Y” stands for “Not in my back yard” these movements stem from local organizations working together to push things out or prevent certain projects from being set up within their communities.  President Obama’s proposed new energy policy called for new nuclear power plants as well as more offshore oil drilling near the coast. But the least controversial proposal was for an increase in Wind Power, which uses a renewable energy and it is safer to harness as well. There is a proposed plan going on in Cape Cod that suggest with the creation of an 130- turbine farm near the Nantucket Sound they could offset 75% of the gas and coal usage needed to power the area. This proposal was over a decade old due to the resistance it was met with at the local level.

N.I.M.B.Y organizations within Cape Cod rallied together to attack this project from every possible angle they could think of but with no success. They claimed it would be an environmental disaster ruining habitats of dozens of local flora and fauna, but that was quickly dismissed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society which debunked those accusations and showed they had no actual proof.  The local organizations then turned to economic complaints stating how it would affect commercial fisheries and tourism, but even the U.S. Minerals Management Service sided with the Cape Wind project; Stating that the effects on the oceanography were so minutiae that it was once again a moot point brought up by groups trying to derail the project.

The underlying reason for this overwhelming opposition to this plan doesn’t actually come from concerns about the economy or the environment surrounding this construction site, it ultimately boils down to the fact that the locals believe that these large windmill farms will ruin the view. In no way will this project completely block off the natural sites of Cape Cod nor will it create an overcast permanently putting residence in the shade like some other major building projects. It is simply “The right project in the wrong place”, and by that they mean this is an area where many rich and powerful people reside for example members of the Kennedy family own property there and worry of its value decreasing because of it.

Because of the fact that it has so many powerful enemies the project has been delayed for nearly a decade and they are starting to lose traction. The Cape Cod project in particular is starting to look at moving it farther offshore in deeper waters to squelch the opposition they’ve been facing but this plan would cost even more simply to satisfy a select few (powerful) individuals desires to keep their view out their window.


Work Cited

  1. Keller, Jared. “Can Wind Power Survive NIMBY.” The Atlantic. 10 Apr. 2010. Web.

The Need For Student Power

Rabib Hasan

Reaction paper #1


The Need For Student Power

On Friday, September 11th, hate speech was written on the door of two students of two freshman students in Mason hall. Information was passed around the dorm, and the situation was handled on the side. Little talk broke out about the incident, and it did not enter the public conscious. Vague emails were sent out by the diversity and inclusion office, but no statement was made on the issue through any main parts of the school

By choosing silence on this issue, the university has set a precedent. Their lack of words is action in itself, and this action is of one that allows racism to continue through course its way through campus life, and leaves those who identify as muslim, or are assumed as muslim, defenseless and without the backing of their own institution. This decision to compartmentalize action into one department and not make it a priority of the those at top speak to the values that we currently have at this school.

But we as the student body is almost desensitized to these kind of issues, and it comes with no surprise. Growing and experiencing a southern college campus, we are conditioned to accept conditions as they are. With the strong notion of tradition, the student voice has a hard time getting its footing and reaching its ground. But those who in marginalized minority who experience the brunts of these traditions and the side-effects of the old ways need change to occur in order to claim that our campus is a place for all.

A power balance exists here on campus. While students are use to putting blame on those in power, and rightfully so, we must look at why almost every social issue brought up on this campus takes a wrong turn, or on the flipside, how wins towards social justice are achieved.

We need to build student power. History has not provided us with the proper structures and government that marginalized groups need. Policies protecting students against hate crimes, which is why we are currently struggling to find ways to deal with these racists and sexist incidents. We need structures in place run by students who will work to shine a light on these issues through media and communituy engagement which are often swept under the rug, and bring genuine dialogue on campus that is directed not into only class discussion and lectures, but hard policy and student power in our governing structure. We need students doing actions that bring attention to broken policies and political institutions and bring a level of critical analysis to our own community.

We must also see the importance of our work and how it goes beyond our campuses. University is often looked at as the beacon of progress where our society produces ideas. We are at a significant point of intervention; ideas are made are here and they are put out into the world to inform many aspects of our country’s society. This connection is vital to our understanding of student organizing; our actions and time here on this campus matter.

Reaction 1 NFL Stadium Development Los Angeles

In class we were exposed to the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn a borough of New York City.  This paper will compare Atlantic Yards to Los Angeles Stadium plan.  Major League sports teams fuel growth and development in our country’s major cities.  The changing sports landscape can be due to replacement of failing stadium infrastructure or the need of a new stadium to house a major league team that is new to the city.  In the case of Atlantic Yards, Barclay Center allowed for a larger development that is closer in proximity to the city and is the home stadium for the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders.  The development of Los Angeles Stadium is fueled by the desire to bring the National Football League back to the City of Angels.

Paper written by Taylor Ford Sec. 1.

Reaction Paper 1 Ford

Reaction Paper 1: Fredericksburg City School Plan

For my first reaction paper, I analyzed the Fredericksburg City Public School 2014-2019 Comprehensive Plan. The schools that fall within the Fredericksburg City School System are the Walker-Grant Early Childhood Center, Hugh Mercer Elementary School, Lafayette Upper Elementary School, Walker Grant Middle School, and James Monroe High School.

The plan begins by stating why the plan was revised, quoting VA code 22.1-253.13:6. It also states that each public school develops its own plan in accordance with this one. The plan then launches into expectations for the schools that fall under jurisdiction of the school board. These expectations include a school mission, expectations of the staff, the principal, and detailing of the environment created by the school and parents for the students. They also include four goals for the schools:

  • Goal #1: Student Achievement: Fredericksburg City Public Schools will develop, advance, and support academic programs which enable students to become productive citizens in a global society and to meet laudable academic, career, and personal goals.
  • Goal #2-School Environment: Fredericksburg City Public Schools will continue to provide a safe school environment that encourages students and staff to demonstrate respect for each other and to appreciate our diversity and democratic values.
  • Goal #3- Highly Qualified Staff: Fredericksburg City Public Schools will recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified staff to carry out the mission of the school division.
  • Goal #4-School and Community Relations: Fredericksburg City Public Schools will promote, facilitate, and enhance partnerships and communications between the schools, students, and the community.

One of the strengths of this plan is that it outlines an overview of how all the schools will execute in a similar fashion. The weaknesses is that the plan lacks solutions for problems that arrive, allowing the individual schools to come up with their own solutions. The plan also takes a very abridged approach to plans for the schools in general. It comes off as a very top down approach, because it seems to be authored by people who lack understanding into the differences in every school.


“Fredericksburg City Public School 2014-2019 Comprehensive Plan” City of Fredericksburg. Web. October 22, 2015

Reaction 1

Stephanie Ingram

Reaction Paper 1

October 21, 2015

When Porn meets Community Organization


Hickey did an analysis of Pornography in Minneapolis lower income neighborhoods after the suburbanization began happening. That is, people were moving out of the area to the more suburban areas, and taking prominent businesses with them. Those people who could not afford to leave the area were left with an area with little resources in terms of shopping. Porn shops began to come to the lower income at first only a few, then eventually growing to twelve shops selling adult content. Feminists began to protest outside of the shops and picket. At first, they  took the approach of dressing in old style, hyper modest attire and picketing. Their concerns were for the safety of females in the neighborhood, as lewd comments and advances were the norm in the areas where the porn shops exist. They also went into the shops to “browse”. Many neighborhood activist groups were born out of the desire to rid the neighborhood of the porn industry. These groups did not focus on the moral or religious implications of porn; they focused on the danger toward females. Two local feminist activists Mackinnon and Dworkin became involved in the movement. Their specific position was against pornography in general as it objectified women. When they took over there was a shift in power from the community members to the feminists in positions of power (being well educated and women) who took over the campaign. At first, the neighborhood organizations were still in place. After a period of time, they let feminist leaders take control to make the neighborhood a better place. It put the focus on the national movement against pornography rather than keeping it at the neighborhood grassroots organizations.

In the article by Alinsky, what is takes to be an organizer is examined. he talks about being an organizer as a profession. The organizer does not have much time to explore other things such as relationships; they need tolerance from mates and the people in their lives. The job or organizing to create change does not have a rest or a break; middle of the night work was listed as a common place occurrence. Alinsky has a list in his article about what makes a good organizer including ten items she considers essential: curiosity, wanting to delve deeper into the issues at hand, irreverence; the search for meaning and respectfully so, imagination; innavitaviely trying to organize to best serve issues, sense of humor; appreciating the situation can turn around with a positive attitude, a blurred vision for a better world; believing in the changes the organizers hope to create despite adversity, organized organizers; being able to be the calm in a hurricane, being what they term as a political schizoid; having the ability to understanding two views on an issue, ego; the organizers have to be able to believe in themselves and the work they are doing, free open mind/political relativity; the ability being able to deal with life having uncertainties, and being able to create new from old situations. The organizer needs to be able to apply these tactics to all kinds of situations.

The Hickey article gives readers insight on a how a problem was tackled and organizers dealt with in multiple  ways. First of all, the organizers at the beginning were VERY creative wearing traditional feminine garb, and defiantly displayed a sense of humor by walking around and browsing in the store. They were displaying their power at the level of the community. These tactics also tied into the NIMBY movement; these women did not want the pornography in their backyard. They did not have moral reasoning; they wanted instead for it to be a place where women felt safe. A place without catcalls and lewd language. As the movement gained footing, it developed into an issue many community local grassroots organizations tried to take on; they were composed of both men and women. They protested, met, and organized as separate groups, still adhering to local community organizing practice that Alinsky mentioned of using the ten tactics at a local level involving local government, community residents, and community organizations collaborating to try to create a change; eradicating porn shops in Minneapolis. When the power was turned over to there was a shift from local community power to a more national type of power by letting two women who had an expertise in feminism and the field of pornography and women’s rights violations. They focused more on the issue at the national level, and many community activists let their activism fizzle out, which contradicted what Alinksy’s article suggested; they stopped believing they could make a difference. There were some gaps in Alinsky’s plan.

Alinsky’s plan could have a more complete view of community analysis. Granted he gave examples at the community level and how to keep the power when the organization is small such as when she went to see Mexican American families and made the joke at dinner; would it be different or the same then the qualities listed? This type of information could have helped the planners of the allies in Minneapolis. They could know how despite being on a small scale, to make the biggest impact. It is also unclear on the Minneapolis side how they planned for their rallies, if they had a strategy, or what they hoped to accomplish (other than the obvious eventual eradication of porn shops). The lack was detailed specifics of how they planned on doing this; like what went on in their meetings, etc.  The feminists who came in and discussed the porn issue on a national level clearly had more experience, but did they succeed in reaching the community? No. The community was  It would have been cool if Alinsky could have talked to the porn shop protesters to get their perspective on the situation and offer them sage advice on how to deal with their situation. The articles were both informative in their own right and displayed information about organizing; how it happens in the community, what happens when power is overtaken by a more powerful force, and national power and how it can be different.


reaction paper 1 stephanie ingram


Alinsky, S. (1971). Rules for radicals. New York, New York: Random House.

Hickey, G. (2011). The geogrpahy of pornography: neighborhood feminism and the battle             against “dirty bookstores” in Minneapolis. Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies          32(1), 125-151. doi: 10.5250/fronjwomestud.32.1.0125

Reaction One/ Who Has the Power?

Who Has the Power?

In the book . Driven From New Orleans: How Non-profits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization the author Arena wrote about power in a community and who really has the power. By looking at the city of Fredericksburg’s comprehensive plan it shows that a government’s power chain has many parts. This is similar to the cases written about in the city New Orleans; the power appeared to be in the hands of the government and citizens but in reality many other groups and institutions had a larger say and more power. In the Fredericksburg city’s comprehensive plan, it focuses on the partnership with major intuitions in the area, mainly University of Mary Washington and Mary Washington hospital.

The comprehensive plan of Fredericksburg came out in 2015 and stated the goals, plans, and projects of the city. A section of this plan was devoted to the partnerships with the University of Mary Washington and Mary Washington Hospital; the ways at which they are beneficial to partner with the city. By working together, there are both pros and cons to the city and the citizens. Many articles and books that have been read have dealt with power structure at the local level but mainly Driven From New Orleans: How Non-profits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. The concept of npo’s can be related to the same idea that power may seem to be coming from one place but in reality it is not. In this case the power seems to be in the hands of the government but in reality the institutions have a lot of power.

Part of the plan mentions how the city and the intuitions have an agreement to let each other use buildings/land plus they agreed to let their plans be agreed upon and help each other. “Maintain strong liaisons with the University of Mary Washington and Mary Washington Hospital, to share information, support each other’s initiatives, and to coordinate efforts” (Page 157). This appears to be the city working with surrounding intuitions for a way that is beneficial to both the city and the intuitions. However, it does not account for the citizens’ power or lack thereof. Now the intuitions have a larger say because they have a partnership with the government, possibly taking away power from the people. The people on the board of the University and the hospital are looking out for their best interest not the citizens. So whoever is in control of the institutes’ now gets a larger say. Local government power chain may appear to be obvious but it does not factor private intuitions and their part.

Decisions of the government are not only looking out for the people but also big institutions. This is not necessarily bad. By having a partnership with them is gives the government a way to protect the neighborhoods from over development. “Ensure that neighborhoods near the University are not adversely impacted by growing enrollment” (page 157). By partnering Fredericksburg city can help the citizens be protected against the growing university. The city may have to give power up but it also gives the citizens more control. It is even stated in the plan that there will be “Continue to participate in regularly scheduled Town/Gown meetings” (157). By this clause there is another way to make sure that both parties are getting what they want.

It is important for there to be a good working relationship between the institutions in a city and the government however there is also a fine line between working with and giving up power. The city of Fredericksburg comprehensive plan gives power to the University and Hospital because it puts their interest into account as well as gives them power to say no and threatens to stop supporting the city if they want to. When the city counts on the institutions for support they need to give into some demands. This could cause a slippery slope. When looking at power in a city, it is just not the elected and standing members of the government that have power but there are also silent institutions with a lot of power.

Woks cited


Arena, John. 2012. Driven From New Orleans: How Non-profits Betray Public Housing and

Promote Privatization. University of Minnesota Press.


Adopted by the Fredericksburg City Council. City of Fredericksburg Comprehensive Plan

September 8, 2005 http://www.fredericksburgva.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5099




















Erica Bressler Section 2 – Friends of Nelson County

Neighborhood organizations and NIMBY movements sometimes go hand in hand when local residents/citizens organize in order to prevent unwanted externalities or otherwise undesirable by-products of certain industries from being located in their respective communities. “Friends of Nelson County” is an example of how a local (county-wide) organization formed in order to start a NIMBY movement in central Virginia with the hopes of protecting their community from an unwanted “outside” project. Even though Friends of Nelson County isn’t necessarily a “neighborhood” organization, I think it’s similar in the fact that they are starting an organization in order to address an issue that concerns a group of people who consider themselves all “neighbors” even though they are located throughout an expansive rural county. It is also based on volunteers who want to actively organize in order to achieve the same goal of keeping something”unwanted” out of there “backyards”.

This particular NIMBY movement is of interest to me because of its close proximity to my hometown (Crozet) and because of the many occasions that I have enjoyed various outdoor and other recreational activities that Nelson County has to offer. The issue that started this particular movement was the proposal of a 550 mile long natural gas pipeline (Atlantic Coast pipeline) by Dominion Power that would cut through numerous properties in Nelson County. After local residents received letters notifying them of the prospective pipeline project, many individual landowners and concerned citizens formed groups in order to discuss the potential negative effects of the pipeline and initiate a plan to stop it. According to their website, Friends of Nelson’s mission is to “protect property rights, property values, rural heritage and the environment for all the citizens of Nelson County, Virginia.”

With this mission in mind, members of Friends of Nelson County set out to achieve their goal through a variety of mediums. A lot of their organizing happens through local forums, information sessions and protests where they both provide information to the public and also make their concerns heard. They also send out letters, emails, post signs, and update their website frequently so that both local residents and other concerned citizens constantly have updated information on the project. Their main areas of concern when it comes to the negative impacts of the pipeline are centered on economic, cultural, environmental, and historical aspects.

These can be summed up in their BOV’s public statement to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) “Nelson County is dependent upon agriculture, agritourism, and the tourist industry in general, all of which will be harmed by the project. The County’s mountainous terrain provides the critical backdrop for the business of tourism as well as the quality of life enjoyed by the residents. The pipeline will interfere with this natural resource as well as requiring the disturbance of environmentally sensitive slopes, valleys, coves, and rivers. Besides affecting tourism and the environment, the pipeline will endanger properties of historic and cultural value, reduce property values of those affected, and permanently invade the properties of landowners in the immediate path of the project while contributing nothing to the county or its citizens other than limited tax revenue.

In terms of success, I think that the Friends of Nelson County organization has started a strong NIMBY movement that not only actively involves local residents from Nelson County but also concerned citizen from surrounding counties/cities who are all effectively delaying the pipeline from being built in the immediate area. The widespread media coverage of the organization and their activities also is an indicator of their success in terms of getting their voices heard and their message out to the community.


“Friends of Nelson County.” Friends of Nelson County. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

“Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Poor Black Lives Matter (A Newspaper Editorial)

Everyone has heard that Black Lives matter. We have heard it in the news and from our slightly-annoying-political-activist friends. We have been bombarded with it on Facebook and every other social media site. We all understand: black people matter just as much as white people. But what if those black people also happen to be poor? I’m sure you’d say that they do. In fact, you might even be slightly irritated that I asked. “It’s 2015!” You might say. “We aren’t racist anymore and we certainly don’t hate the poor, so what right do you have to say we don’t treat poor black people fairly?”

I wonder, though, if a stranger were to look at our collective behavior and guess whether we value rich white lives and poor black ones equally, what would they say? See, even today “racial inequality continues to be normalized and legitimized.” We employ “symbolically antiracist gestures, such as naming an African American—or other racial minority—to endorse or head a substantially racially inequitable practice,” and by doing so, we contribute to the problem. This type of thinking is what allows us to argue that America can’t have racism because we have a black—or, at least a blackish—president. But let’s get real. Having a black president does not magically eliminate racism, just like the presence of Vince Lane didn’t magically make HOPE IV antiracist.

Think about it—when it comes time to decide where to put a new waste management center, where do we put it? Where the poor black people live. And we can tell ourselves that if they really cared, then they’d stop it. They’d say, “no way, we’ll stake out every local politician’s office if we have to, you are not building that here.” But deep down, don’t we all know that isn’t true? Because we certainly aren’t trying to build wast management centers where the wealthy white folks live. The truth is, America, that we exploit the poor black people. Our behavior today arguably isn’t that different from that of the white doctors involved in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. It’s like somehow white America decided to:
Pick a population that is “disenfranchised” (read: no one cares about them)
Do whatever wealthy white America wants
Act like its is somehow justified (and maybe put multiple Obama stickers on our cars to support our antiracist claims)

We cannot continue to treat poor black people this way. And we can’t only think about the value black lives where there has been a murder or an instance of police brutality. We need to think about them now, and every single day until we have truly reached racial equality—until we are no longer forcing poor blacks into undesirable living situations, and in extreme instances, homelessness. We need to stop acting indignant that poor black people don’t just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. We need to stop acting like they’re offered the same opportunities as wealthy whites. They aren’t, and pretending that they do isn’t going to solve anything.

Satija, Neena. “A Waste Solution May Lean Again on a Low-Income Area.” The New York Times (New York, NY), Aug. 23, 2014.

Arena, John. Driven From New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Jacob Hendrix Sect 2 “Stadium Construction”

Stadium Construction

In our viewing of Brooklyn Matters, we saw the citizens of the community feel many different emotions toward their new basketball stadium. Many were excited over new job opportunities or a new team, while others were angry about the loss of public space. Working-class citizens, many of which were looking for a job, believed the construction needed for the stadium would create opportunities that were lacking. Others thought they could receive a job working inside the arena after construction was over. Many locals viewed the new stadium as extra traffic and an obstruction of space.

Unfortunately in Brooklyn, the outcome of the stadium was viewed as negative, due to outside construction companies taking over the project. While the film focused specifically on the events leading up to the stadiums opening, I plan to explore what happens both before and after opening.

During major construction events, many civilians are uninformed, often by choice, about the events taking place. Without reading about the causes and effects or discovering who is directly effected, most people rely on what they are told by others. “The majority of individuals therefore rely on others (in particular the media) to assist them in the formation of a political opinion (Paul and Brown, 2001)”(Greenberg, p.11).  Media typically talks about what they are paid the most to say, which in cases such as this the elites are behind the words. Knowing that public support won’t come easy, they allow news outlets to speak about only the benefits of “new advancements.”  “Messages presented by the powerful leaders of referenda shape citizens’ attitudes about the issue”(Greenberg, p.11).  Without knowledge of any potential risks or damages, the uninformed allow the elites to sneak by. While Greenberg and others remain focused on the negatives presented during construction, they fail to grasp the positives that follow.

Driven From New Orleans tells us about the suffering of the city before and after Hurricane Katrina. While the black community suffered before the hurricane, blacks as a whole were essentially left to fend for themselves during and after. However, one place attempted to help the community, no matter what race, during the disaster. The Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints football team, sheltered anyone who needed refuge. While conditions may have been haunting, the dome kept them alive. The worsening conditions eventually led to a sense of community for those trapped there. “As evacuees faced these external forces, their internal stories and experiences reflected a sense of community and family support. One overwhelming similarity between accounts of being in the Superdome focused on people relying on each other, helping each other out, and sticking together”(Knoettgen, p.81).  After the hurricane passed and the media was able to capture the images of the city, the image of a beaten Superdome became the image of the city. The stadium was ripped apart, trashed, unusable, but still standing. After over a year, the stadium was refurbished and hosted one of the most monumental sporting events in our nations history. For those who were able to come back to New Orleans, this was their moment of realization that “Once an emblem of all that went wrong, the Superdome has since been used as a symbol of success in recovery”(Knoettgen, p.83).  Knoettgen describes how he saw whites, blacks, latinos, men, women, children, elderly, gay, straight, and disabled fill the seats. While most of these spectators were likely not the ones trapped inside during the hurricane, the stadium gave the feel that all people could unite in support of the Saints.  As Knoettgen explored New Orleans, he found that “The concept of the Who Dat Nation did more for the New Orleans community than simply creating the appearance of similarity during Saints games. The collective acts contributed to the creation of a Who Dat identity that transcended football games and was on display throughout New Orleans daily life”(Knoettgen, p.123).

Many in New Orleans still suffer today from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Others may suffer due to any jobs or housing possibly lost during the construction of the Superdome. Unfortunately, no plan is perfect and someone, typically the poor, suffers for the benefit of others. While many people struggle to regroup after these constructions, we cannot speak of the bad without at least providing the good.


Greenberg, M. A.A game of millions: Professional sports facilities and the media’s influence on the agenda setting process(Order No. AAI3414907). Available from Sociological Abstracts. (862599380; 201112304). Retrieved from http:// ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/ 862599380?accountid=12299

Knoettgen, C.We are the ‘who dat’ nation: City identity, narratives of renewal, and football fandom in new orleans public realm(Order No. AAI3525522). Available from Sociological Abstracts. (1520318899; 201421591). Retrieved from http:// ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/ docview1520318899? accountid=12299