When you think of the concept of a community the idea is to establish stability and provide support to all the lost souls who wander within it. A community is a home first then gradually becomes a sense of identity for residents. You’re able to connect individuals to a particular neighborhood just by actions and certain behaviors that were created in their homes. As these neighborhoods grow and prosper over the years each will either strengthen or weaken. The responsibility should be placed on the generations that grow within these communities to keep it thriving. Over the years it seems that the younger generations would rather see their neighborhood deteriorate than be build back up to its glory.
The neighborhood of Overtown is a community that was once strong but gradually became an eyesore to the city of Miami by being riddled with crime and violence. Many of the residents were struggling to find a way out to find a safe place to live, work and play. Unfortunately, these families moved out of the neighborhood to find safer spaces but never returned due to the area never being healed. In the end, you’re left with a community that becomes a wasteland because all the heart has left. So what can you do when a community has lost all sense of stability and support? For the generations to come to the neighborhood of Overtown and other cities alike should gain financial stability, lifestyle support, and community appreciation to redevelop the community.
Finance is the key to success in life. Having this type of stability can open a lot of doors to bring support and appreciation to any community. The best way to introduce this concept is to first educate the residents on how to be financially independent. This type of education can be the start of entrepreneurship, property investments, psychological and physical well-being. Residents of low economic communities should be given the tools to help them prosper financially. Everyone should have the opportunity to be given options when planning for their future. Leaders that represent the city of Overtown should put together classes on financial independence and generational wealth to continue to push forward the redevelopment of this town. Making money is easy it’s done every day but gaining the sense to put a portion of our earnings back into the community that we live in is the lesson we have missed over several generations. Financial literacy has been the missing puzzle piece when speaking on redeveloping neighborhoods that have fallen.
As I stated before individuals seek out communities that will also provide support that they are not receiving anywhere else. Overtown can be a place for young creatives, entrepreneurs, and professionals to connect and grow with each other and all their endeavors. The location alone sets the stage for this idea. Its several blocks from the creative playground of Wynwood as well as the business district of Downtown Miami. It can be a melting pot of several different cultures with the same focus and tenacity to succeed. When visitors witness the energy that welcomes them in the streets, more and more people will want to be a part of a neighborhood that will give them a sense of hope when pursuing their dreams. A dream can become reality when you have the drive and support each step of the way. The new generation can accomplish this by creating spaces and opportunities to cultivate vibrancy that will bring individuals together all through love and positivity. This was the type of energy Overtown was originally built on, therefore, it can live again.
When a person feels loved by a community they will forever appreciate it. Don’t get me wrong the “Towners” of Overtown show lots of community appreciation when asked, but more of it needs to be shown in the streets of the historical neighborhood. There is so much history that runs in Overtown it’s not hard to miss but very easy to be overlooked. We have got to show why we love Overtown as our community and why we chose to live in this neighborhood of Miami. We have got to get the residents to fall back in love with the neighborhood so that it can grow.
Community appreciation is present but can it be strengthened with involvement from businesses and individuals. Involving residents in the redevelopment process is key to making them feel like they have skin in the game. No one wants to feel like an outcast or in the throes of gentrification within their own neighborhood; therefore, moving forward with town hall meetings being held often and announced more frequently. When you have people care, love and appreciate their own surroundings, so much growth can happen in a small space of time.
The next generation of Overtown is present and able to see the value that is hidden in these streets. It’s imperative that the culture of Overtown is preserved and enriched even with new developments, so its history will never be erased. Having a focus on financial literacy, lifestyle support, and community appreciation is what’s needed to get the city of Overtown on the track to prosperity. Overtown should provide a safe haven for all families to live, play, and feel comfortable in a community that was once separate from a world that saw them as less than. We all know the value that is within the neighborhood – investors and developers see it as well – it just needs the stability, support, and appreciation that is once had to shine again. There is a renaissance already underway.