Soraya Hebron: There Goes the Neighborhood


Photography, Audio and Text by Soraya Hebron


Streets that used to sing sounds of children playing on the asphalt and neighbors chatting on porches now only echo the steps of passers-by trying to get to the other side. No one cares about the boarded up house on the corner or the empty school building down the way. These places only matter for liquor bottles and trash. For now, these places are nothing to worry about, just ghosts we don’t notice until new things come to take their place.

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In the city there is always room for new, because the new city has no limits. With every inch occupied by a Starbucks, pet spa, thrift shop or yoga studio, there is always room for new. When new finds its way to the lot down the street, it knocks out familiar faces and feelings. It drowns out familiar songs and familiar walks down the street to the park where everyone you knew was always there waiting. But today they’re not there. And the park isn’t there. But there’s a quaint café. And its filled with new faces and new drinks that look refreshingly carefree. There are bike lanes and bike shares and bike riders with helmets riding past the corner where that old boarded up house used to sit. The one you never noticed until it was gone.






The city is changing. It’s turning brand new. The question is, new for who?


“There Goes the Neighborhood” explores both the desolation and perseverance that characterize urban redevelopment in low-income neighborhoods.



Editor’s Note: Click play to hear audio recording of neighbors describing the change they see taking place in their Philadelphia neighborhood.


Photography, Audio and Text by Soraya Hebron, Copyright 2016.


About The Author: Soraya Hebron is a senior majoring in Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016. To read more articles by this Soraya Hebron, go here:

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