September 14, 2007

Neighorhoods of Augusta, Georgia

In his second inaugural address in 1995, Governor Chiles stressed the importance of breaking down intractable social problems into their moving parts and basic units. He said he wanted to look at not just towns but neighborhoods, and see them as the smallest barometer of a city's health. A couple examples come to mind, but most recently the layout of Augusta, Georgia comes to mind when I think about where the boundaries are. I can't think of a place I've been to in Florida yet that shows it this vividly.

The above photo is Walton Way, one of the main avenues to downtown Augusta. I took this photo standing on one side of the line; two blocks farther down you're into a slum. I stood next to Summerville wine and liquor, an upscale fancy joint. Two blocks down is a gas station with prison bars on the doors and windows and a sign saying "no more than 4 students at a time." It gets worse from there as you approach downtown on Walton, gets better near the hospital, then hits bottom in downtown proper.

The locals told me that when the three textile mills in Augusta closed down and the mall opened, downtown died and the neighborhoods bordering it never returned.

Makes me think about neighorhoods, Lawton Chiles, and John Edwards.

Wealthy Augusta, mid-town off Walton Way

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