The New Urban Renewal

The New Urban Renewal

In the 1920’s, New York City’s Harlem and Chicago’s Bronzeville were world-renowned centers of black arts and culture. But as time passed they became equally known as places plagued by poverty and crime. But in the late 90’s, the two neighborhoods made a comeback – driven largely by the return of the black middle class.

Sociologist Derek Hyra is the author of the The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville. The book looks at the similarities – and the differences – in resurgence of the two communities. Hyra told Eight Forty-Eight’s Richard Steele he came to his interest in the inner city via basketball. As a high school star in an affluent suburb of New York City, Hyra’s coaches told him that if he wanted to play at the Division One level in college, he should head to the city to face the area’s toughest players.