By Jacqueline Oates
I read in Yes Weekly that Bulent Bediz was arrested in the Glenwood neighborhood while the city was impounding cars on his property. While I understand that there has been an ongoing issue regarding unregistered vehicles in Greensboro, this is disturbing on another level.
Several years ago amid great fanfare, Greensboro council members brought in Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class to discuss raising the quality of life for people in small cities by concentrating on attracting people rather than corporations. If I remember correctly, the major foundations as well as the city council applauded this concept and it was applied with some success to lower Elm Street. It was wonderful to see hardworking, joy-giving creative people begin to turn the scary-empty buildings near Lee into havens for diverse ideas and artwork. Of course, the inevitable gentrification is now occurring since the the less wealthy made a go of those blocks and the creatives are getting squeezed out by the privileged. But that's ok I guess, that's how things go in business districts.
This leads to why I am so concerned about Bulent. He has concentrated on an area that is not right smack downtown. He has created skilled employment opportunities and re-purposed fine materials that would otherwise end up in land fills. He has concentrated his efforts on an area that would make being an artist or a creative in Greensboro economically plausible. He has taken his artistic vision to a real working poor and middle class area and created bit by bit exactly what Richard Florida spoke of so well. Neighborhoods are people and people who care about communities and dedicate their time/ work/ talent/ lives need to be nurtured.
I know that collectively you folks can come up with a strategy that won't discourage good folks like Bulent who wish to make better neighborhoods for all of us, not just the monied classes.