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Friday, April 23, 2010

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Interesting article. My first apartment was in a cockroach-laden apartment building just off a car dealership/prostitution route in East San Diego in the early 80s. Before long, the neighborhood was adopted by Vietnamese refugees, and it was the best thing that ever could have happened to it. Children played in the courtyards and begged to pet my dog. Old men turned spaces between the concrete into herb gardens. Abandoned stores became shops with names I couldn't read or pronounce. Within a few years, the neighborhood was considerably safer and more vital. It took many of the locals much longer to notice that the changes were positive...if they ever did at all.

More Midwestern cities should try to appeal to immigrants and refugees who are financially struggling in traditional hubs such as LA and NY. While I was working for a refugee resettlement office in another East Coast city a decade ago, some clients moved to Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis because of the lower costs of living.

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