“OTR A.D.O.P.T. transfers abandoned buildings to qualified new owners at reduced cost. The catch? You must commit to rehabilitating the property and returning it to productive use. You must also demonstrate an ability to successfully complete such a project. A.D.O.P.T.-Advancing Derelict and Obsolete Properties Through Transfer.”
This banner was spotted by Laura Spess, an urban geographer in Cincinnati in during the 2014 APHG reading. The Over-The-Rhine neighborhood is very close to the reading, and the urban renewal here is quite controversial. Many point to the economic positives and infusion of investments, while other see social displacement of the poor. After the reading we were discussing the messages embedded the sign (and the urban landscape). The OTR ADOPT organization conceptually thought of poorer neighborhoods as orphans and that the gentrification process should be likened to adoption. While the merits and problems of gentrification can be debated, I find that particular analogy painfully tone deaf and wasn’t surprised to find the organizations website, well, derelict and obsolete.
Questions to Ponder: Why might this analogy be problematic? How might current residents of the community feel about the message?