Memes and jokes are so prevalent in today’s day and age, especially in light of what’s going on in the world; people use them as a means to cope with what’s going on—humor can sometimes relieve the public’s feelings about the bleak political state.
I knew memes were widespread and a social phenomenon capable of universality but I didn’t think too much about the power of a joke in government until this article. A quote that stood out to me in the article was, “Jokes, in the past, were considered for what they really are: incredibly dangerous political weapons.” This statement made me think of the event in which Vladimir Putin banned a meme of himself in Russia back in April of this year. A number of images—including one depicting Putin wearing lipstick, eye shadow, and fake lashes were deemed “Extremist” and offenders who shared the meme face a fine of up to $53 or 15 days of administrative detention. There’s a certain type of image and representation of hyper masculinity of Putin that he wanted upheld, and the “gay clown meme” threatened this image. In a way, the clown meme was a symbol of resistance of the people.
I definitely think one of the reasons why memes have such power in today’s society is due to the prevalence of social media in our culture. One tweet with a meme in it can garner up to 25K retweets and social media clicks and interactions in a mere amount of hours. That ability to share and spread information so quickly and to have such a vast outreach can be detrimental to someone or something—like a political figure or government— who is the butt of the joke.
Four Key Topics:
1 History of OTR
2 Current state of OTR
3 For OTR’s Redevelopment
4 Against OTR’s Redevelopment
// SOURCE 1 //
- 2015 Article from Cincinnati Enquirer detailing Hamilton County Ohio’s recovery from the financial crisis of 2008; specifically details how Over-the-Rhine’s housing market was affected as well as how they overcame the crisis.
- “Hamilton County’s just-completed property reappraisal shows that the value of residential property climbed about 1.1% between 2013 and 2014, from $38.65 billion to 39.08 billion.”
- Slower recovery than expectations, but good in comparison to 2011 when residential values decreased 10.5% from 2010 to 2011 and property owners lost $4.3 billion + in real estate value
- “Among Cincinnati neighborhoods, OTR was the clear winner with a 25.7% increase in residential property values.”
- “As housing prices rise in places like Over-the-Rhine, investors who want to live in the city are looking for deals in Price Hills and elsewhere.”
- “The model for a successful turnaround is OTR.”
- However, OTR has had a lot of outside help including the Cincinnati Development Corp., 3CDC, what with them contributing millions of dollars into OTR / its getting paid off with new business condos and apartments.
- “Developer John Hueber has been building been building condos and single-family homes in OTR since 2008.”
- Hueber states that he is not renegotiating on price and that price is take it or leave it; states how a couple years ago would’ve had to negotiate down but now don’t need to do that. (condos range in price from $100,000 to $270,000)
- “Even there the housing crisis slowed growth, but that’s no longer the case.”
- The article analyzes different effects of the financial market crisis of 2008 on a variety Cincinnati neighborhoods—most relevant to OTR, the article states that OTR was able to overcome the housing market crash of 2008 with the financial help from 3CDC.
// SOURCE 2 //
- 2016 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Report on “Creative Finance for Smaller Communities” featuring certain neighborhoods in cities nationwide that they recognize as “national models of public/private leadership”.
- ULI Report Study Data
- “The privately created nonprofit development corporation, Cincinnati Central City Development Corporation (3CDC) brought to Cincinnati what every community needs for its future: money, land control, and sophisticated deal-making capacity.” (p. 32)
- “The creation of the $50 million Cincinnati New Market Fund allowed 3CDC to buy property within an area defined by a strategic vision and to partner with developers who shared the same goals.” (p. 33)
- “The early restoration enhancements in Washington Park and Fountain Square, highly visible public spaces, declared that downtown and Over-the-Rhine were coming back.” (p. 33)
- In July 2003, 3CDC was created with the mission to revamp the Fountain Square District, the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine.
- At that time there were 500 vacant buildings and 700 vacant lots in OTR. (p. 34)
- Objectives of 3CDC “Create civic spaces, create high-density, mixed-use developments, preserve historic structures and improve streetscapes, create diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods supported by local business.” (p. 34)
- Early in 2004, 3CDC invested $27m in private funds to buy 200 buildings and 170 vacant parcels centered in Washington Park.
- They bought out “notorious bars and carryout liquor stores that were centers of crime and drug dealing” (p. 34)
- “In its 11-year history, 3CDC has been involved in the following projects:
- Restoring 144 buildings, including housing and street front commercial establishments
- Constructing 50 new buildings
- Adding 1,113 housing units (condos, apartments, and townhouses)
- Providing 320 homeless shelter beds
- Adding 156 hotel rooms
- Creating 845,000 sq. ft. of commercial space
- Adding 2,700 parking spaces
- Revitalizing 10 acres of parks, including Washington Park and Fountain Square
- Incentivizing millions of dollars in streetscape improvements” (p. 34)
- “Since the creation of 3CDC, a total of $842 million of new money has been invested downtown and OTR, and over 2,500 jobs and 1,100 housing units have been created as a result. As part of the city’s return, the downtown and nearby neighborhoods are now generating substantially higher annual tax revenues.” (p. 35)
- ULI Report expands on why Over-the-Rhine is now a national model of public/private leadership by referencing the investments of 3CDC in “homeless shelters, historic cultural amenities, new housing hotels, and offices.”
// SOURCE 3 //
- A 2012 opinion piece for cleveland.com local Cleveland news source website presenting Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine transformation in a positive light by Susan Glaser.
- In 2006, the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the neighborhood on its list of Most Endangered Historic Places.
- Today, OTR is home to many new urban professionals, setting up house in apartments and condos selling for $300,000+
- “Restaurant start-ups and independent shopkeepers are investing in an increasing number of storefronts on the neighborhood’s main streets”
- The pressure to save OTR was at its height in early 2000s (says Anastasia Milldam, vice president of communications for nonprofit Cincinnati City Center Development Corp (3CDC)
- “Groups had been working for years to figure out how to salvage this neighborhood. There had been so much disinvestment over the decades, no single entity could really come in an change things.”
- 3CDC = a real-estate development organization funded by Cincinnati’s most successful corporate businesses
- Over the past 8 years the organization has spent $250 million+ in OTR renovating buildings
- 42 new businesses have come to area as of 2012
- Some of the popular spots that attract newcomers:
- American Legacy Tours (offers 2-hour tours of OTR
- The Symphony Hotel (1971 mansion across the street from Cincinnati Symphony and Opera’s Music Hall)
- “The investment of 3CDC has been largely concentrated in the southern half of the neighborhood, the half closest to downtown. The northern half is home to more crime and more vacant buildings.”
- “A federal lawsuit against the city park board alleges that several rules at Washington Park—which banned rummaging through trash and other activities—discriminate against the city’s homeless. (The rules were dropped last month, but the lawsuit continues.)”
- “As with any urban-renewal projects there will be winners and losers. And I don’t meant to discount the stress of displacement that Cincinnati’s most vulnerable citizens may be experiencing. But from an outsider’s perspective—and no doubt many natives as well—the renovation of OTR is nothing short of amazing.”
- Susan Glasner’s article references the changes (such as new business developments within the area and the types of new residents the change has brought) Over-the-Rhine has undergone and presents these changes in a positive light in the form of facts, heavily praising and crediting the non-profit organization 3CDC for its investments in OTR to “improve” the neighborhood
- After diving into a wide variety of source material research on the topic of Over-the-Rhine, I spotted a common thread of the nonprofit organization 3CDC throughout my research and its impact on the area and its development since the early 2000s. All three sources acknowledge the old state of OTR and how it has changed drastically in recent years due to 3CDC’s intervention into the housing market. Two of the three sources, the Urban Life Institute report and the Cleveland news opinion piece were heavily biased in favor of seeing 3CDC’s intervention in OTR in a completely positive light; sometimes even glossing over what OTR’s “gentrification” means for the lesser income residents. One of the three sources, the Cincinnati Enquirer article—which analyzed how Cincinnati neighborhoods recovered from the 2008 financial crisis—took a more neutral side and stated what role 3CDC had extreme increase in property value in OTR by referencing numbers and facts.
- The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) official corporation website detailing a complete list of all their real estate projects, news coverage, and annual progress reports.