Rebuilding the South Bronx

The Times‘ Michael Kimmelman takes a walking tour of the Melrose section with Amanda Burden, director of New York City’s Department of City Planning, and a video of their interview highlights some striking examples of new development that is ongoing in the South Bronx.  Some of these blocks are the same ones that were infamously devastated by arson, property abandonment, and street crime in the 1970s and ’80s.  Among my earliest memories of New York City, I remember riding through parts of the city that looked like scenes from a war zone: shells of buildings, flame-scorched, hollow, scattered among vacant lots, and defaced with neon-colored graffiti.  And, of course, people on the streets reflected a human version of the same desolation.  Fortunately, most of that Dante-esque nightmare is now gone, but the vacant parcels have persisted for a long time.  Notably, the Bloomberg administration’s strategic focus, according to Ms. Burden, is centered on the construction of high-density affordable housing, and on rebuilding the area’s traditional fabric of standard blocks and mid-rise, mixed-use buildings.