Watching a Video Made Me Realize What the Black Community is Missing for Economic Development

dontonbori I was looking at a scenery picture of Osaka, Japan and I was like, this look like Venice and Amsterdam but more electro-cool and wanted to look at a video of the Dontonbori shopping district. When I looked at the video, I became shocked because things clicked in my head and I finally figured it out. This is the video – see if you can tell: What many of you guys don’t know is me and the 3rd Strategic Institute research these videos for several years to understand economic activity and patterns and practices that can be brought to global urban areas, including the hoods in America. This is not new as I blogged about this plenty of times on this blog that this is how we worked on the Locations section of HustleSpace where we can determine business models to put on a street block. But I watched this video and it brought memories of a video I recorded in Tokyo for this blog going out shopping and talking about all the economic activity just everywhere in Japan. Then I remember watching videos in Seoul, Korea that looked similar. But I did not put it all together until I was doing research on another aspect of the hood and realize what we do not have in the black community here in America will create economic activity – we do not have pedestrian malls. pedmall A pedestrian mall is a no-car street where people can walk freely through. Basically, the road is closed off to cars and only for taxi cabs and delivery trucks and that’s it, if at all. This is an urbanization trend going on worldwide like the picture above is in Mexico City because this creates economic boom of commercial shopping districts. pulaski_madison If you think about cars, they are evil to a shopping district. This is the west side (best side) of Chicago on Pulaski and Madison. This is a struggling commercial district like many black communities we have researched for HustleSpace and I realize from all my research, all of the black communities – we allow cars and this setup. Notice the setup on Madison and Pulaski – cars are parked alongside the street and you see 4-lanes with 2 lanes going each way. You should see the problem already. Cars do not shop and spend money on Madison and Pulaski in Chicago – people shop and spend money on Madison and Pulaski. We don’t need any damn cars in a black commercial shopping district, we need people! Look how much space on Madison and Pulaski in Chicago is basically given to cars instead of people! Look how much little space is for people! This is how our black communities are being handicapped by these evil cars! In order for brothas and sistas to empower ourselves and our communities, we must learn to look worldwide for patterns and practices that we can apply to our hoods and a pedestrian mall need to be the first order of the day we setup to revitalize the commercial district in our hoods. underground Many of you will argue that the Underground Atlanta was a pedestrian mall but there is a problem – the Underground Atlanta was too small and too narrow and do not have large buildings to scale up an area. And if you haven’t heard, the Underground was sold and they going to tear all that crap down anyway. Check out this pedestrian mall in Ginza district and it look like they close the street for the weekend because I remember this street but you will see how much room people got to walk down the street and notice more volume of people shopping and walking and more activity. You want to know what stands out in the video above more than anything. The following image is what I noticed. ginza They setup chairs in a middle lane for people to sit down. If you look at the background, do you see how much more people are on this stretch of road walking in the middle? This increased traffic create increased economic activity and more businesses and more jobs in that local community. This is what we need to do in our communities – get rid of all those damn cars and close the street off to cars and give it to the people! parklet One of the things we can setup is transform the parking spaces to parklets – these are spaces for people to sit down and relax or engage in other activities in spaces that were formerly designed as parking spaces. nightmarket At night, we turn the pedestrian mall former street area into a night market for vendors in the community to sell goods and street foods and bring in more economic activity. All the big business close down so the hood accommodate the smaller merchants to attract people to the area to do business. Despite what simple minds want to believe – night markets actually have little crime and will make the whole community have lower crime as a result because people are out and about. promenade Let’s start rebuilding and revitalizing our hoods like the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica and rip out these streets and get rid of cars and make it pedestrian only to walk and shop. This increase foot traffic and buying potential and increase economic activity which in turn generate a demand for jobs. This is what we are missing in our hoods and I researched hoods from all over and just realize this is what we are not doing in the black community that we have to implement ASAP.

10 thoughts on “Watching a Video Made Me Realize What the Black Community is Missing for Economic Development

  1. i saw the night markets in vancouver bc.they tried the pedestrian mall in downtown baltimore but wrecked it by bringing the methadone clinic down there too and a flood of heroin addicts came with it.

    1. That’s a common problem in the black community where someone would place a recessive business model in their commercial shopping area. For example the Madison and Pulaski area above – someone thought it was a bright idea to open a casket shop on this main strip.

      But the city and community in Baltimore should have been passionate about doing the ped mall the right way and if they failed, that’s their problem. But lesson learn, we have to create studies that say these kind of businesses are impediments to ped mall and deal with them before moving forward.

  2. Hey Ed:

    To implement this model in the hood, would there be a potential obstacle regarding “zoning” permits, etc?

    Thus, would we need to get people in place on the political side to push this development through?

    1. You would need your city council member to make the necessary moves to get it going. The best way is to find an urban planning group in your city and ask for their help to study the area and help write a feasibility story and sell the case on your behalf. Try to get the community involved too – despite what people stereotype – black communities do like to see change if they can actually see the outcome being positive and give them a chance to make money also.

  3. BTW, are you referring to Old Town in Baltimore or another place?

    Lexington street, sadly the Old Town area died off. After Sam Glass men’s wear went out of business, I saw no reason to go down there, he was a big foot traffic draw.It is still open but nowhere near its heyday in the 70’s

    1. Lexington street is interesting but I noticed something about the buildings – they are too wide/big. If we look at the buildings in Osaka/Tokyo and even the picture of the Mexico City, they have small format stores that are very small and dozens and dozens of them – this to me is the best way to run a pedestrian mall and have a bunch of mid-merchants in there paying their taxes to the local economy, not one or three anchors and a bunch of cheap clothing shops.

      Back then, we didn’t have the knowledge or the patterns and practices to adopt but today, I think we got the know-how to do it right this time.

  4. VERY KEEN OBSERVATION BRUH! That is part of the economic model we are implementing with the Black Wall Street International (www.bwsintl.com) which we call by a slightly different name; walking neighborhoods. It is slightly different, in that it bounces off the neighborhood, much like the Santa Monica example you gave. Please visit our site as I think we have some common energy that I think you want to connect to with what we are doing. It seems you share a common energy and vision! inquiries@bwsintl.com

    1. Walkable communities are not the same as a pedestrian mall and have two different urbanized goals.

      Walkable communities are about sidewalks and paths like the capital city of Brasilia. Pedestrian malls are a commercial development optimization to accommodate high-density traffic for high density transactions.

      We are talking about pedestrian malls in high density hoods.

  5. I came to another post on here about Dr. Claud Anderson trying to see what he was all about, seeing what others had to say about him (good and bad) and what this blog had to say was pretty strong critism. What you critized was his lack of actionable plans. Following that, I wanted to see what the plans that his blog laid out.

    It’s in that context that I say this but, I’m pressed. I live near 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica and it is a busy, shopping center that is center of activity and an attraction. Places like that do make money but, they have to be in the right areas. But, find an underserved community and build investment in that space, you can create something that not only makes money but, brings pride to both people and place.

    Lastly, the point about car-less shopping districts is spot on. What isn’t readily apparent about 3rd Street Prominade is that the place isn’t just shopping. On the floors above the shops, is where many tech companies offices’ are located. So with both shopping and offices, a few blocks away, there is housing. It’s huge money making district.

    I would love to see something like this that was Black owned.

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