Have you ever driven down a street in Chicago or any other major city and noticed an acute discrepancy in the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, some of them you speed through because they don’t seem very safe. We invest in certain communities more and ignore others and create invisible boundaries. In general, we invest in what we trust and think will produce results in the long run.
It starts with a belief system and implements it by pouring money into what is worthwhile. How we decide what is worthwhile is based on many default assumptions backed up with historical data, but our history isn’t exactly pretty. So in order to improve our economy, is it really a good idea to use prior data and assumptions to decide the future.
Perception is understanding our surroundings and people in a certain context, but it also plays a huge role in influencing the future. Whatever exists in our heads is shown through physical reality, where am I going with these super general and vague statements? The fact that we have these invisible and physical borders portrays our belief system of how things should be broken down and what communities with preferable demographics are worth the investment. When we combine perceptions that are biased with money we get results that cater to one group of people and ignore the other, which isn’t fair.
Economically neglected communities such as Inner city immigrant neighborhoods and the ghetto, experience low funding in education system and consumer markets yet high operational cost and insurance premiums for retailers. This doesn’t paint a good picture but sheds light on the problems that cause the aesthetics of these neighborhoods to change. As perceptions of demographic preferences change so will the funding to nourish the communities that are lacking resources for a productive future.