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Decline and Improvement in Durham, North Carolina: An Examination of Studies and Propositions

During 2007, Durham, North Carolina experienced high numbers of home foreclosures. The cause was the phenomenon of Adjustable Rate Mortgages. These allowed people to initially pay low rates of interest that rose to non-affordable levels in only a few years. These foreclosures usually affect the poor, elderly, and African-American populations in the city the worst. “Empty Houses and Broken Dreams” by Rust and Skillern addresses the factual material behind the foreclosures. A few organizations have achieved a positive effect in the community by focusing on re-establishing fixed-rates that are affordable and improving the community. The article “Creating and Protecting Ownership and Economic Opportunity” states the problems and solutions that organizations like Self Help and Center for Responsible Lending have defined and fixed respectively. Above all, the city of Durham is working to improve the area as well as make it a place that is safe and affordable to live in. There is a high interest in improving the aesthetic attraction of the downtown area while trying to encourage businesses to fill the vacant buildings in Downtown. The hope is that with the attraction of new businesses there will be an increase of jobs. This in turn will increase the tax revenue for the city allowing for the overall improvement. Downtown Durham, Inc. has provided useful information regarding the renovation of Durham in the previous seven years and upcoming strategies. Although the 2007 financial crises had set back the entire nation, Durham appears to be on a road to recovery and development.

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The three sources used in this survey were:

Rust, Skillern, w/ Fabian and McMillen (2007) The Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Empty Houses and Broken Dreams, 1-27

Self Help Association (2007) Self-Help, Creating and Protecting Ownership and Economic Opportunity, 1-15

Durham Government (2007) Durham, North Carolina, Downtown Durham Master Plan: Seven Year Review and Updated Work Plan, 1-90

Willson Buchanan

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