Author Topic: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city  (Read 4752 times)

Tacachale

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2017, 05:06:27 PM »
Charleston benefited from what my dad calls the "Charleston model of historic preservation", in which the peninsula declined so much for 60 years that no one invested in it, and therefore didn't demolish much until the preservation movement really took hold. Now it's a major tourist attraction.

It also benefited from having a very strong sense of its own identity. Unfortunately, most of that identity was based on horrible things: the Old South and Lost Cause of the Confederacy myths, the subjugation of African-Americans. The city's true history is extraordinarily ugly, and they've only recently made attempts to present it in the public sphere.

I’m confused - are you meaning to link racial oppression and Charleston’s current pedestrian-scale vibrancy?

I’m saying that Charleston’s strong sense of identity, which has been a big factor in its success, is tied in very large part to a sanitized and one-sided version of its history, based on the Old South/Lost Cause myth, which was a tool of racial oppression.
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vicupstate

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2017, 10:00:30 AM »
Charleston's identity is as the most histortic and historically preserved city in the country. You can see what the built environment looked like stretching back tot he 1600's and continuing through to today. The ambience and uniqueness is what draws people there. It is not the same as Richmond or Gettysburg.
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vicupstate

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sanmarcomatt

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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 10:43:10 AM »
Interesting that a large part of their determination hinges on parking.

By and large this would be one of the strictest policies I have seen, which speaks to the severity of the issue SMM described. But on the surface it looks pretty fair.

Tacachale

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2017, 03:02:30 PM »
Charleston benefited from what my dad calls the "Charleston model of historic preservation", in which the peninsula declined so much for 60 years that no one invested in it, and therefore didn't demolish much until the preservation movement really took hold. Now it's a major tourist attraction.

It also benefited from having a very strong sense of its own identity. Unfortunately, most of that identity was based on horrible things: the Old South and Lost Cause of the Confederacy myths, the subjugation of African-Americans. The city's true history is extraordinarily ugly, and they've only recently made attempts to present it in the public sphere.

This is about 90% false.  If the 60 years you are referring to is 1865-1935 then you would be right. In modern times, Charleston has not fared any differently than any other comparable Southern city in terms of economic development. Like all cities it saw population move from the core to the suburbs after WW2.  Jacksonville or really any other city was no different.  Efforts in other cities to 'renew' the core, which priamrily failed through the 1980's were not possible in Charleston because of the preservation ordinance. These were enacted in the 1930's and dramatically strengthened and expanded terrritorially in the 1960s.  New construction simply happened elsewhere, primarily other sections of the city such as West Ashley, and suburb cities like North Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Again that is no different than other US cities.

For Charleston urban renewal involved renovation moreso than demolition and new construction. This pretty much guranteed that a pedestrian-centric dennse environment was mantained on the peninsula rather than falling victim to an auto-centric orientation.   
 
Yes, the first shots of the Civil War were shot in the harbor. But Richmond and Birmingham were the capitols of the Confederacy and NC supplied the greatest percentage of troops. Local resistance to integration was not comparabe to the well known events in other cities and states during that period. Slavery, the Confederacy, and Jim Crow were on the whole South.   

I have been to many of the Museums in Charleston and slavery is not whitewashed or ignored that I have seen. The Slave Market museum has been in operation since the 1930's and on the National Register since the 1970's.  Freedmen's cottages have been preserved as well as antebellum mansions.   

In terms of representation of African-Americans in govenment, observance of the MLK holiday and other local civil rights laws, few Southern cities could match Charleston's record in the last 40-50 years.         

Re the "Charleston model of historic preservation", he was talking about the city's decline in the mid-to-late 20th century, the same time frame many other cities were in decline. The metro area wasn't growing and people on the peninsula were fleeing for the suburbs. The preservation movement (and other factors) played a part in the city saving its historic buildings, but it also benefited from the fact that no one was tearing stuff down to build skyscrapers, parking for skyscrapers, new government buildings to accommodate a growing population, etc. Unlike in growing cities like Jax, the Charleston peninsula was mostly left intact.

Charleston's identity and the "most historic city in America" bit are, and always have been, tied to the "Old South" trappings. And that's  based on a manufactured, one-sided version of the city's history that is oppressive. Charleston's not the only city guilty of that, but it's *very* strong there given the city's history.

If you think Charleston doesn't whitewash its slavery history, you're kidding yourself. Charleston wasn't just another town that had slavery, it was the epicenter of the African slave trade in the British colonies, and the epicenter of the Indian slave trade before that. That's not evident in nearly any of Charleston's museums, and until they started making a better effort in the last 10 or so years, most historic sites downplayed slavery and portrayed it in paternalistic terms. None of the museums or public monuments I've visited have mentioned anything about the Indian slave trade, which was the main cause of the depopulation of Native Americans in the Southeast. While most American cities do a poor job with their Indian history, in Charleston it's almost entirely erased. Even in Jacksonville, which does a much worse job with its history than Charleston, treatments of local history in exhibits, parks and museums usually start with the Timucua.

The Old Slave Mart is another perfect example. It reopened just 10 years ago. Before it closed in the late 80s it was mostly a collection of Gullah arts and crafts and it avoided saying much about slavery. It's much better now. Frankly I was disappointed by Fort Sumter's treatment of slavery's role in the Civil War the last time I was there in 2010, but it was league better than it was when I was a kid in the 90s, when the whole place went out of its way to act like slavery was not the cause of the war.

IMO city has gotten a lot better in the last 10 or 15 years and made a lot of strides (I haven't been to the Old Slave Mart, but have heard they do a good job). But still, they're just scratching the surface of their history. The museums run by the city or the feds do a better job than stuff like the Calhoun house, the Confederate museum in the market square, or the plantations outside the city, for instance. Even the Battery, with its prominent Confederate monument, leave a lot to be desired.

All this is to say that a strong sense of identity can help with preservation and place making, but it has drawbacks of its own.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 03:19:20 PM by Tacachale »
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sanmarcomatt

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 05:06:30 PM »
Interesting that a large part of their determination hinges on parking.

By and large this would be one of the strictest policies I have seen, which speaks to the severity of the issue SMM described. But on the surface it looks pretty fair.

It does appear rather strict. It will be very interesting to see how all of these things play out with Charleston real estate over the next few years. Multiple hotels have come on line recently adding many rooms to the hottest area.
 In addition, a large number of multi-family units will be added to the same area as well. I am not sure how much "Luxury" ( like everything being built these days) inventory can be absorbed there. Sprinkle in rising interest rates and it could  make for an interesting stew.

vicupstate

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 06:01:18 PM »
Quote
Re the "Charleston model of historic preservation", he was talking about the city's decline in the mid-to-late 20th century, the same time frame many other cities were in decline. The metro area wasn't growing and people on the peninsula were fleeing for the suburbs. The preservation movement (and other factors) played a part in the city saving its historic buildings, but it also benefited from the fact that no one was tearing stuff down to build skyscrapers, parking for skyscrapers, new government buildings to accommodate a growing population, etc. Unlike in growing cities like Jax, the Charleston peninsula was mostly left intact.

Completely false. The migration from the Rustbelt to the Sunbelt during the period you list was occurring just as much in the Charleston Metro as any comparable Southern city, JAX included.  The urban core was losing popualtion to the suburbs as it was everywhere. There was no 'Charleston model' but an Auto-centric/Interstate driven model that was occuring nationwide.  The metropolitan area most certainly was growing.  There was no demolition on the peninsula because it was not generally ALLOWED. The growing population settled in the suburbs, JUST LIKE Jacksonville. It might be news to you, but the Southside was almost completely developed  in the time period you listed. The old city limits of Jacksonvile (just like the old city limits of Charleston) lost 50% of it population in that time.     

Quote
Charleston's identity and the "most historic city in America" bit are, and always have been, tied to the "Old South" trappings. And that's  based on a manufactured, one-sided version of the city's history that is oppressive. Charleston's not the only city guilty of that, but it's *very* strong there given the city's history.

Preserving history means just that. Preserving what was there. Plantations were there and they were preserved, but so were the inns and homes of the Colonial era, the newer but still historic housing and commercial buildings that came after the Civil War as well.  Ships from the 20th century also. You seem to advocate removing any thing that was in existance during the antebellum period. THAT is whitewashing history.     

Quote
If you think Charleston doesn't whitewash its slavery history, you're kidding yourself. Charleston wasn't just another town that had slavery, it was the epicenter of the African slave trade in the British colonies, and the epicenter of the Indian slave trade before that. That's not evident in nearly any of Charleston's museums, and until they started making a better effort in the last 10 or so years, most historic sites downplayed slavery and portrayed it in paternalistic terms. None of the museums or public monuments I've visited have mentioned anything about the Indian slave trade, which was the main cause of the depopulation of Native Americans in the Southeast. While most American cities do a poor job with their Indian history, in Charleston it's almost entirely erased. Even in Jacksonville, which does a much worse job with its history than Charleston, treatments of local history in exhibits, parks and museums usually start with the Timucua.

Charleston was the biggest port by far during this era. The slaves didn't all stay there, they were ended on in all the slave states. Does everyone that came through Ellis Island consider themselves an immigrant to NYC?  Many did settle there, but many more settled elsewhere. I have not experienced the 'Gone with the Wind' glorification you describe. Boone Hall plantation certainly provides more exposure to the Slave quarters than to the Main House. McLeod Planatation does likewise. The Calhoun Mansion was post Civil War.       

       
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 06:25:34 PM by vicupstate »
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Tacachale

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2017, 11:47:58 AM »
Quote
Re the "Charleston model of historic preservation", he was talking about the city's decline in the mid-to-late 20th century, the same time frame many other cities were in decline. The metro area wasn't growing and people on the peninsula were fleeing for the suburbs. The preservation movement (and other factors) played a part in the city saving its historic buildings, but it also benefited from the fact that no one was tearing stuff down to build skyscrapers, parking for skyscrapers, new government buildings to accommodate a growing population, etc. Unlike in growing cities like Jax, the Charleston peninsula was mostly left intact.

Completely false. The migration from the Rustbelt to the Sunbelt during the period you list was occurring just as much in the Charleston Metro as any comparable Southern city, JAX included.  The urban core was losing popualtion to the suburbs as it was everywhere. There was no 'Charleston model' but an Auto-centric/Interstate driven model that was occuring nationwide.  The metropolitan area most certainly was growing.  There was no demolition on the peninsula because it was not generally ALLOWED. The growing population settled in the suburbs, JUST LIKE Jacksonville. It might be news to you, but the Southside was almost completely developed  in the time period you listed. The old city limits of Jacksonvile (just like the old city limits of Charleston) lost 50% of it population in that time.     


You're missing my point. Charleston saw very little development in the urban core compared to cities that were faster growing. There was no demand for new office buildings and skyscrapers and the like, so they weren't built. In places like Jax and Charlotte, most of the growth was also outside the urban core, but downtown continued to be developed, and so a lot of older buildings were demolished for the new ones. No doubt the preservation movement helped Charleston, but if there were a demand for office buildings, they would have been built. I read yesterday that the block the Slave Mart was on was scheduled to be demolished in the 1960s, and most of the other buildings were in fact destroyed.

Quote
Charleston's identity and the "most historic city in America" bit are, and always have been, tied to the "Old South" trappings. And that's  based on a manufactured, one-sided version of the city's history that is oppressive. Charleston's not the only city guilty of that, but it's *very* strong there given the city's history.

Preserving history means just that. Preserving what was there. Plantations were there and they were preserved, but so were the inns and homes of the Colonial era, the newer but still historic housing and commercial buildings that came after the Civil War as well.  Ships from the 20th century also. You seem to advocate removing any thing that was in existance during the antebellum period. THAT is whitewashing history.     

LOL! And you are projecting. No one, least of all me, "advocates removing" anything. I really don't see how you could have gotten that from anything I've written, here or anywhere else. What I'm advocating is better, more historically accurate interpretations of historic sites. Charleston has done a better job in the last 15 years or so, but they have a loooong way to go.

Quote
If you think Charleston doesn't whitewash its slavery history, you're kidding yourself. Charleston wasn't just another town that had slavery, it was the epicenter of the African slave trade in the British colonies, and the epicenter of the Indian slave trade before that. That's not evident in nearly any of Charleston's museums, and until they started making a better effort in the last 10 or so years, most historic sites downplayed slavery and portrayed it in paternalistic terms. None of the museums or public monuments I've visited have mentioned anything about the Indian slave trade, which was the main cause of the depopulation of Native Americans in the Southeast. While most American cities do a poor job with their Indian history, in Charleston it's almost entirely erased. Even in Jacksonville, which does a much worse job with its history than Charleston, treatments of local history in exhibits, parks and museums usually start with the Timucua.

Charleston was the biggest port by far during this era. The slaves didn't all stay there, they were ended on in all the slave states. Does everyone that came through Ellis Island consider themselves an immigrant to NYC?  Many did settle there, but many more settled elsewhere. I have not experienced the 'Gone with the Wind' glorification you describe. Boone Hall plantation certainly provides more exposure to the Slave quarters than to the Main House. McLeod Planatation does likewise. The Calhoun Mansion was post Civil War.       

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say here. Charleston was objectively the epicenter of the slave trade in the colonies, first the Indian slave trade, then the trans-Atlantic African slave trade, and finally the domestic trade. But unlike Ellis Island, which everyone knows was a major gateway for immigrants, Charleston's history as the major slave hub isn't well known. In the case of the Indian slave trade, it's entirely plastered over. Charleston was so important in the slave trading industry for so long that all the focus on every other part of the city's history is a cop out. Again, some venues are getting better, but on the whole they have a very long way to go.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 02:24:25 PM by Tacachale »
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

sanmarcomatt

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2018, 02:14:02 PM »
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/what-charleston-s-proposed-short-term-rental-rules-would-mean/article_a0a9aa30-dc2e-11e7-b399-4fc289ded504.html

Regarding the Short Term rental issue.

We are about to head to Charleston and I have noticed that the cottage we usually rent is now a long term rental only. It may be unrelated to the proposed changes, but interesting. It was a moot point on this trip as Mrs Smm demanded 'luxury' this time :)

vicupstate

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2018, 03:24:16 PM »
Be prepared for heavier than usual traffic. Westbound lanes of James Edwards bridge (connecting Mt. Pleasant to Daniel Island) will be closed for four months. It is impacting traffic throughout the city. Broken cable is the reason for the bridge closure. 
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sanmarcomatt

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2018, 03:33:56 PM »
Be prepared for heavier than usual traffic. Westbound lanes of James Edwards bridge (connecting Mt. Pleasant to Daniel Island) will be closed for four months. It is impacting traffic throughout the city. Broken cable is the reason for the bridge closure. 

Thanks for the heads up.Luckily, we will just be affected on arrival and departure as we never use our car when we stay DT.

ben says

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2018, 04:03:08 AM »
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/what-charleston-s-proposed-short-term-rental-rules-would-mean/article_a0a9aa30-dc2e-11e7-b399-4fc289ded504.html

Regarding the Short Term rental issue.

We are about to head to Charleston and I have noticed that the cottage we usually rent is now a long term rental only. It may be unrelated to the proposed changes, but interesting. It was a moot point on this trip as Mrs Smm demanded 'luxury' this time :)

Where are you staying?
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sanmarcomatt

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2018, 08:25:03 AM »
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/what-charleston-s-proposed-short-term-rental-rules-would-mean/article_a0a9aa30-dc2e-11e7-b399-4fc289ded504.html

Regarding the Short Term rental issue.

We are about to head to Charleston and I have noticed that the cottage we usually rent is now a long term rental only. It may be unrelated to the proposed changes, but interesting. It was a moot point on this trip as Mrs Smm demanded 'luxury' this time :)

Where are you staying?

We will be on the top floor of the Belmond. Charleston Grill is one of our favorites so we are hoping the hotel experience is up to task. It appears to have gone through some nice renovations and club level is allegedly legit. We shall see.

The location is a little south of where we prefer to be and catching up on Charleston Eater it is amazing what has opened on upper King just since we were there in November. It may be better that we are a little further away. Consumption may approach dangerous levels.

MusicMan

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Re: Charleston: America's most rapidly gentrifying city
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2018, 09:14:58 AM »
Charleston, like Norfolk, is under extreme threat from rising sea levels.  Buyer beware....... 

If it gets hit by a Cat 3 or bigger hurricane this summer it will be a major disaster.