While attending Robert Curvin’s speech on his novel “Inside Newark” I felt as though I didn’t get a modern perspective of how the city has changed from it’s past. I’ve never personally been to Newark but I because I am from an urban area like New York City. I tried to think of the problems urban areas face in general. He kept mentioning effective leadership throughout his speech but he never really described what that means and how that can be done. Although he had expressed his opinion on some of the political figures that have run Newark I thought he would discuss some of the community based organizational improvements that have mobilized in the city.

Newark Before  Newark Riots
Because I’ve never been to Newark, I needed to rely on the photos I found online, I wanted a picture of Newark before and after the riots because Curvin mentioned that the race riots really shaped Newark’s history. He also said that Newark has a predominant minority population. One interesting discussion that came up was about the declining population in Newark, I was not aware that many people were leaving and not coming back. I had just assumed that it was a densely populated city that had deep issues with receiving funding and like New York City, filled with distressed residents who are being displaced due to urban redevelopment. Which raised a great question by one of the people that attended the event about if gentrification is an inevitable product of urban redevelopment. I felt as though Curvin didn’t really go into specifics with his answer basically agreed that it is inevitable but he didn’t dig into what improvements or solutions could be made to help those who are struggling with the changes happening inside the city.

Newark today

Interestingly, this picture of Newark makes it to be like any other city, but this second photo below is of Rutgers Newark, making the city look highly metropolitan and urbanized.

Rutgers_Newark_campus_003

From an outsider perspective I would have appreciated the different changes Newark has made versus the past and now, how it has grown, what are its plans today and what are its goals for the future. I think planning comprises of thinking about the well being of the community and catering to it, I would have liked to hear more about the communities within the city, what they need and what they want and what steps are being made to meet their needs. What type of leader does it need?

Trapa Barua

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