The story behind Iola’s nicer neighborhoods

News

September 15, 2018 - 9:26 AM

In the 1970s, there was a study conducted in Harlem. Two identical apartment complexes were built. One was in perfect condition. In the other, a slight bit of damage was done to each apartment — a torn piece of wallpaper, a crack in a window, a small hole in a wall. Both buildings were then occupied. After a year or so, the buildings were inspected, and the building that was in pristine condition when occupied had remained nearly so. The building that had the tiniest bit of damage when occupied was in terrible shape.

I was reminded of this study as I rode a bike through town. On the north side everything is pretty well maintained. Streets and alleys look great. The homes are well kept, lawns are taken care of, sidewalks look pretty good. The farther north a person goes, the better it gets.

On the south side, not so much. There are homes that have been well taken care of. They sit with good paint or siding, good roofs, windows, and doors, and the lawns are well maintained. But there are also once-beautiful homes that now appear uncared for. And some of the homes are in such a state of disrepair that it’s hard to believe someone lives there.

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