An Artful Rebirth in Columbus

Posted by Harold Simon on November 17, 2014

In two excellent articles and a video, The Atlantic magazine profiles the good work the community development field is doing in Columbus, Ohio. As part of a larger series on reinvention and resilience in communities throughout the country, the magazine takes a close look at the Franklinton neighborhood and the Franklinton Development Association (FDA).

Like so many other communities in America, Franklinton has seen its share of abandonment—fully 25 percent of the buildings were vacant, giving the FDA lots of room to work.

The association and others in the community collaborated to create the Franklinton Arts District, which is using arts and culture to turn the community into a “destination” while working hard to keep residents from being displaced. "We have the opportunity to do what people would call gentrification, only without the negative component of it…the displacement of an existing population," says Jim Sweeney, FDA director.  Read the full articles here and here, and come back and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

(Photo credit: Urban Scrawl III, Franklinton, by Flickr user GmanViz, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)



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Harold Simon is executive director of the National Housing Institute and publisher of Shelterforce. Email Harold at

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