That’s My Neighbor! (Week 4) – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

That’s My Neighbor! (Week 4)

For this week’s post, I wanted to write about the community at HOPE Village Revitalization. As I have mentioned before, HVR is a ‘community development corporation’– it is by the people and for the people. At first, I had a hard time answering the question, “So, what do you do there?” because it seemed like there were so many things going on at once. Soon, however, I realized that the goals and actions of HVR were constantly shifting and adjusting to the expressed needs of the community.

There are over 5,000 residents in the HOPE Village neighborhood, although it seems as though everyone knows everyone. When I meet new people at the farmers market, they always refer to the other people they know there as ‘my neighbor.’ At the most recent market, I heard my boss recognize multiple people, exclaim “That’s my neighbor!” and then check in on them and chat for a bit. It is a friendly, supportive, and loving environment. In a promotional interview that our Market Manager did, she described HOPE Village as being “neighborly without being nosey,” which I think is an excellent description and also ties back into How To Kill A City.

As gentrification in a neighborhood increases, so does this ‘nosiness’ that my coworkers were mentioning– either literally or in the form of involving the police more. At HOPE Village, I have noticed my bosses/coworkers trying to solve issues on their own rather than call the police, and I see this as being ‘neighborly.’ However, some people who are newer to the neighborhood are far more likely to call the police instantly, and I see this as being ‘nosey.’ As a part of our marketing strategy, we sometimes use the social media platform called NextDoor, which links all users in a certain neighborhood and allows them to post about what is happening in their neighborhood. From monitoring this, I have noticed that some users are quick to comment, “Call the police!” and other reactive things, while other users comment, “Have you tried talking to the person?” or “Can you call the Block club?” This solution, the ‘have you tried solving the problem on your own?”, is a neighborly solution in that it requires communication and helps to avoid the involvement of police in areas that are already over-policed.

(Here is a photo of HOPE Village’s main office and our weekly produce & prepared food giveaway)

2 thoughts on “That’s My Neighbor! (Week 4)”

  1. Gabrielle Lilly

    Hi Josie! Your description of HOPE Village made me think back to the ideal communities activity we did last week because HOPE Village seems to embody a component my group talk about – strong community ties. I feel like nowadays people are becoming more and more disconnected from their neighbors and the people in their community, so I am glad to hear the connections your boss is actively looking to start and to maintain.

  2. Hi Josie!

    Wow! I really loved your post. HVR, from your description, seems really special. I love the emphasis on being neighborly, and communal, rather than jumping the gun in stressful situations. I even find myself in tough situations where my first thought is to “call the police!”, but in reality, if I am acknowledging oppressive systems, I also should be acknowledging the societal conditioning that makes me believe I HAVE to call law enforcement. Thanks for letting me reflect on my own self while introducing me to this great community! 🙂

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