Back when I was studying my regeneration certificate I studied a module in physical regeneration. This was an opportunity for me to see how regeneration of towns and cities could take place in regards to the physical environment. I discuss this, now in the context of black people, whether you are here (UK) or abroad. The point I wish to make is clearly we have black areas which are sometimes said to be unclean in regards to the streets and the buildings, especially shops. The regular quoted point is that there is a mentality of if one building is cleaned the. The neighbours will then clean the outside of their building or paint it. This includes cleaning the Path in front of your house to install/contribute towards a sense of pride in the community.
This can also extend to the purchasing of buildings, since doing this course I have seen a number of buildings, which if I had access to funding, I would turn into a building that promotes economic and social activity within the local community. In the UK black people are now very reliant on the state to provide funding and resources, as oppose to an avenue to providing additional funding to what we can raise as a community. This is because we A. don’t trust each other to group our money together and B. we take a Eurocentric view on wanting to see where our taxes go and want it to work for us.
There is an alternative which our (mainly) West Indian descendants did, which was to pool our money together and buy (by a pardnor or Suso system). Back then it was houses but how about buying a old building and renting it out to black businesses at a low cost to make a small profit but also to be responsible for building maintenance and ensuring customer service standards are kept up to date. The maintenance of buildings and businesses is importance for a local sense of pride and cohesion.
In one class, the lecturer had said that the sense of a local area can be gained by looking at the state of the buildings, if they are occupied or not. There is much agreement to this as if there are many boarded up buildings. In the black community, this can only encourage squatting and delinquency, when a community group could combine funds and purchase the building.
There are initiatives in American black communities of black people purchasing buildings and leading them back to our own at favourable rates. This when analysed is more beneficial than gentrification occurring when the middle classes start to move in after property moguls buy the properties at a cheap price attract hipster then the area becomes expensive to live in. This is a choice we have at least in the areas not gentrified, yet.