Charron, David. “Five Walkable, High-Density D.C. Neighborhoods That Are Also Quiet.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Mar. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2017/03/13/five-walkable-high-density-d-c-neighborhoods-that-are-also-quiet/?utm_term=.c65e913fea36. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.
In David Charron’s article, “Five Walkable, High-Density D.C. Neighborhoods That Are Also Quiet”, the author insists that the location close to the George Washington University is one of Washington DC’s most livable neighborhoods. The article, written for the Washington Post, feels that DC residents are currently seeking areas to live in that are close to urban centers and have city amenities, without having a complete city atmosphere. According to David Charron, the area where Foggy Bottom meets Georgetown, aka George Washington University Hospital’s location, is this perfect mix of quiet and urban living. This is no longer an area reserved for students of the university, or patients visiting the hospital. Instead, this area now has a Whole Foods and numerous upscale restaurants that offer a level of sophistication to anyone wishing to reside there. David Charron also uses the nearby hospital as a selling point, saying that having a major hospital walking distance away from your residence helps create a home which one can truly age in. Without having to worry about transportation to and from one’s healthcare, residents are able to have much more “peace of mind” about where they live. Although specific neighborhoods within this area are not listed, Mr. Charron also mentions that there are numerous “vibrant” neighborhood options which make this area so appealing for current DC homebuyers. The article continues to also talk about 14th street and the Southwest Waterfront/ Naval Yard as desirable places to live for people now living in DC.
For my previous two sources, I focused much more on the background and basic information surrounding the George Washington University Hospital itself, such as when it was built, what its used for, who owns it, etc. Now, however, I want to focus more on the area around it. I feel that this information can tell more of a story about the hospital than simple statistical information. Currently I know very little about the surrounding neighborhood, or the hospital’s past (other than renovations). This first article I’ve chosen paints the hospital, and surrounding areas, in a very positive light. It almost puts a smile on gentrification and seems to support it in this context. The author directly states that the addition of Whole Foods and upscale restaurants is a positive addition to this area, one which makes moving here more enticing. Of course, the people moving here are not the same type of socioeconomic people who were living in these neighborhoods before. But this begins to shine a light on the discourse about the gentrification of the area surrounding the hospital. For a Whole Foods and upscale restaurants to come into an area to make it more enticing, must mean that there were not such “luxuries” existing there before. Was that simply because this area was specifically for students and patients, like the author made it sound? Or is there another demographic which the author overlooked during writing. If there is a “third demographic”, were they left out of this article on purpose or by accident? Clearly this source doesn’t necessarily contain lots of answers, but it does help to open up an interesting and important topic to be researched further to better understand this built environment.
Iweala, Uzodinma. “The Gentrification of Washington DC: How My City Changed Its Colours.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Sept. 2016, www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/12/gentrification-washington-dc-how-my-city-changed-colours. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.
In “The Gentrification of Washington DC: How My City Changed Its Colours”, Uzodinma Iweala’s argues that Washington DC is losing its cultural authenticity as white gentrification changes the city. Although the argument around the negative sides of gentrification is nothing new, Uzodinma Iweala does bring a somewhat new stance to this train of thought. For him, DC was, and somewhat still is, a black city- even though it is rarely seen or projected as such. It should be noted that this article is not specifically about the George Washington University Hospital (though it is explicitly mentioned once), but rather about DC as a whole. According to Iweala, who is originally from Nigeria, DC was once over 60% black. When he grew up in DC, the city was not anything close to what it is today, or even how the people around him perceived it back then. Iweala himself was lucky to grow up in an affluent household, so even he (and his classmates) were not exposed to the city’s “true”, colored population. However, he was still able to see it, thanks to his father and other black friends. Aside from the Northwest corner of DC, the majority of the city was predominantly black. Areas such as Adams Morgan, H Street, and 14th Street were working class or immigrant based communities, which are now seen as trendier, whiter neighborhoods. Iweala is afraid, and it seems that many people he has talked to share his same opinion, that DC used to have a close-knit feel to it, which it now lacks almost completely.
The only time GW Hopsital is explicitly mentioned is when Iweala’s father talks about how he worked at Providence Hospital, which treated many middle-class black residents of DC until about the late 90s. At that time, the city hit some financial hardship, and hospitals which treated lower class citizens of DC were closed. After the closing of those hospitals, other health care facilities (such as Providence) saw an increase of lower class patients with problems such as gunshots, alcoholism, and drug overdose. Some hospitals though, such as the George Washington University Hospital, actually acted illegally and turned these patients away saying that they could not help them. This is an extremely interesting point. Iweala is quoted numerous times stating that the area of Northwest DC is the most affluent, yet GW is not located in this area. Still, this hospital was in an economic situation where they felt it necessary to turn away these lower-class citizens. This black history of DC, in particular the area surrounding GW Hospital, was not one which I ever previously thought to consider. As mentioned above, this article does not exclusively talk about GW Hospital, but I still feel that it is still extremely important to help better understand my built environment. The social history of DC in general must be taken into account in order to understand my specific section, and I look forward to using this article as a solid racial/ social piece of background. The first paper I wrote discusses how GW Hospital is stuck behind traditional racial and sexual constructs in their representation on their website. This article definitely helps to shed some light on to why exactly that might be.