Keys to Brooklyn’s rise

As posted yesterday, affordability and transportation/convenience were long-time Brooklyn assets that did little for economic rejunevation until safety began to improve. But how and why did these neighborhoods become safer?

As is more than well known by now, it was just a matter of time before the artists began moving in. The number of designers increased 2.5 times from 1980 to 2000, while authors/writers more than doubled from 1990 to 2000. Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brookln, held the honor of having the most artists per capita in the U.S. – 14,000 in total. It shows – as I walked through the neighborhood a few weeks ago, artist studios, murals, richly decorated interiors and galleries filled my senses (image). However, it did seem to have become less diverse as it became more ‘safe’.

Immigration is a key factor for economic growth, according to Creative Class author Richard Florida. Brooklyn also has nearly a million immigrants, many of them from the West Indies. About 38% of Brooklyn’s population is foreign-born; 55% including their children. That’s a lot of rich culture, diversity and independent-owned business – jewels in a creative class community, and along with that group, the first signs of a ‘safer’ neighborhood.

Lower rents among all this activity also help entrepreneurs in the nascent phases of their businesses, which may explain why unemployment rates dropped from 10.6% in 1990 to 6.3% in 2000.

What factors have you seen make neighborhoods safer? Speak your mind below…

  • Lionel

    Either you have a typo in the post above “…many of them now from West India” or I think you should check your source. Brooklyn has a large population from the West Indies, which are islands in the Caribbean, not related at all to western India. There are also many Indian immigrants in the borough but I doubt that is what was intended by your comment; the population of Indian immigrants isn’t nearly as large as the West Indian population.

    Otherwise, I’ve been enjoying your posts!

  • Thanks for the heads up. The New York Times would have to be the one with the typo – the source is right here under ‘Ancestry’.

  • Scott

    The error is that West Indian people are not from West India. They are from the West Indies.

  • My bad, thanks for making sure the post is accurate.