“Working together we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American Dream. I’ve spent my entire life in business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I’ve gotten to know our country so well. Tremendous potential. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure which will become second to none. And we will put millions of people to work as we rebuild it.”
— Donald Trump, president-elect, Victory Speech Nov 9, 2016
 
 

For a nation that is increasingly geographically unequal by income and ethnicity, where will the billionaire real estate mogul invest and how?  I want to be optimistic that in these words he intends to repair some of our most unequal neighborhoods. I want to assure that a Trump presidency does represent everybody.

 

 

Most of America’s presidents have worked in law or writing. What will be different about a real-estate developer in office? In Trump’s victory speech (min 2:55) he speaks in architectural terms. To solve the problems facing America, his strategies are physical manifestations: walls, buildings and infrastructure.

As an architect I see a glimmer of hope in these words and am eager to find threads where liberals can begin to take part in constructive projects with conservatives.

 
 

New York City has become an exclusive city for the super-rich elite. The cafes and boutiques which line the streets welcome in those who have money to pay and keep out those who don’t. New luxury condos, including many Trump Towers, continue to remold the city as a playground for the rich. If a Trump presidency intends to invest in the United States infrastructure it begs the question of for who? Trump’s luxury towers serve a very select upper class.

The average home in New York City costs $1.87 million and the average monthly rent is over $4000/month. For most people who are not part of the super-rich, this is an impossible price to pay. And that is just the average cost not the cost of an apartment or condo at one of Trump’s towers! If the Trump administration intends to build for “everybody” they will need to provide housing and infrastructure that is attainable for everyone.

Trump has consistently used tax breaks which were intended to help the public and those in need for his developments.

As the city has become increasingly unequal and difficult to live in developers continue to build luxury towers. These buildings benefit a very select privileged few. 

 
 
 
 Racist Redlining Brooklyn, NY

Racist Redlining Brooklyn, NY

While Trump is referring to an outdated and fantasy stereotype of black life he has now proclaimed himself as the one to help neighborhoods that need investment. While most blacks don’t live in poverty or in inner cities, many neighborhoods have historically lacked investment because of racist planning which has gravely impacted minorities. These strategies denied mortgages and business loans to people based on racial or ethnic composition of the area.

The Trump Administration now needs to own this reality in cities, and American’s will need to insist on the investment in neighborhoods which have been historically ignored.

This is not charity or welfare! This is about breaking the cycle of systemic disinvestment! These neighborhoods have been ignored. They lost money for their schools, institutions and infrastructure. We need to make these neighborhoods more equitable. There has to be an acknowledgement that individuals coming up in different neighborhoods are not starting on an equal playing field.

 

 
  Google Street View of Brownsville

Google Street View of Brownsville

  Google Street View of the Upper West Side

Google Street View of the Upper West Side