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Week 3: Corryville Rec Center

October 10, 2011

Describe and explain the “representations of social class and/or poverty” you found during your walk, along with the interactions you had as they relate to this week’s topic. Please choose at least one picture to include with your R&A post and explain its significance. How does the “mutual aid agreement” that Officer Frey specifically referenced relate to our overall focus for the week?

Our group got to visit to the Corryville Rec Center, and as we walked, we were supposed to look for and photograph examples of social class and poverty. I didn’t exactly find anything that shouted “Wretched hive of scum and villainy,” which I suppose is a good thing. Malcolm Gladwell (2006) mentions that homelessness is a “power-law problem,” where there are only a few really expensive cases of chronic homelessness, so it’s possible that we were just unlucky and didn’t see any really obvious cases. The only things that made the neighborhood look unpleasant were just a few bits of graffiti (including three instances of the same creepy face), some houses with the paint flaking off, and a few more “No Trespassing” signs than usual. In short, things that could be fixed with a fresh coat of paint. Palen mentions the “Broken Window theory”, that fixing cosmetic problems like broken windows is the best way to create a lawful atmosphere and curb crime rates. Is that all it takes to separate a low-income and high-income neighborhood?

The Rec Center itself was quite nice. A mural and a few paintings adorned the walls, and they boasted a wide variety of programs, including after-school camps. They also offered one-week programs and discounts for low-income families. Officer Frey noted that it was the main community center and the Community Council meets there every two weeks. Also, its close proximity to the University probably helped, as it would get the benefits of Cincinnati’s mutual aid agreement with UC. It wasn’t perfect, though. Alongside the fliers for different events, a rather somber poster asked for help with unsolved homicides. Corryville Rec Center was a nice place, but there were a few cracks that showed it wasn’t as nice as it could have been.


Gladwell, M. (2006). What the dog saw and other adventures. (pp. 177-198). New York: Little, Brown and Co.

  1. I liked how you pointed out that the rec center’s proximity to the University of Cincinnati probably had a lot to do with its quality and upkeep. Projects between the UC students and the rec center probably play a role in this. I also found it interesting that there was a poster asking for help with unsolved murder cases. That definitely hints at the problems within the city. What are your opinions on Palen’s “broken windows theory”? Do you think that all a neighborhood needs is a fresh coat of paint to solve its problems, like high crime rates?

  2. Jessica permalink

    Great way to find intersections between the texts we’re reading, the field experiences, and larger discussions that we’ve had so far. I’m obviously glad that you found no instances of “Wretched hive of scum and villainy” – Do you think that such blatant instances would be indicative of deeply rooted issues, or can the issues be there without the more obvious symptoms? What are your thoughts?

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