Marcus K. Dowling


Life is like a hurricane, here in Duck Burg / Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes, it’s a duck blur / Might solve a mystery, or rewrite history!
When it’s seems they’re headed for the final curtain / Bold deduction never fails, that’s for certain / The worst of messes become successes!
D-D-Danger lurks behind you/ There’s a stranger out to find you / What to do? just grab on to some

Duck Tales (woo oo) / Everyday they’re out there making, Duck Tales (woo oo) / Tales of daring-do bad and good
Duck Tales (woo oo)

Yes, if you’re paying attention, I just compared the present and future of the Nation’s Capital to the theme song of a 30 year old cartoon program. If you watch the video, I’d also wager that there’s quite a few Scrooge McDuck-style characters in Washington, DC these days doing the metaphorical equivalents of the Triple Lindy into a sea of gold doubloons or feverishly chasing after a dollar bill in outer space. As well, with people like myself, One Love Massive CEO Molly Ruland, our new good friends over at WeDC and so many more compassionate folks attempting to advocate for balancing DC’s commercial boom — driven by a wave of new energy spurred by the Obama administration, progressive digital era optimism, and a sudden influx of available housing and retail space — with a desire to save, improve and increase social and community services in the area, we even have the trio of Scooge’s great-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie getting into madcap adventures and waning to save the day — and Scrooge’s riches — as well. Regarding DC’s future, let’s think about other cities that have attempted to get Scrooge and the nephews on the same page and attempted to become a next-level 21st century cultural and economic hub.

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In the past decade, there have been other cities that have been swept into the “DuckTales” effect. For instance, Austin, Texas was once Texas’ capital city and “weird” Southwestern college town where tiny alt-indie music festivals took place. 2016 finds Austin at the tail end of a digital era boom that sees SXSW hosting President Obama and every brand you can think of, plus as of 2013 being America’s best economy and boasting an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent and average weekly earnings per worker equaling $919.12. Insofar as things we’re seeing in DC that have historical precedent elsewhere, gentrification and displacement are happening as well, with African-Americans making up 5% of the city’s population, and Hispanic and Asian population growth occurring. As well, affluent families without children are on the rise there as well. Though Austin’s population and economic shift is incredible, the city’s ability to continue to push the arts and community development as an aim is noteworthy.

Also, there’s Brooklyn, NY, which creates a negative precedent regarding the “DuckTales” effect and Austin’s precedent. Brooklyn and DC are much more similar in circumstance than DC and Austin, but let’s hope what’s happened in Brooklyn isn’t a mirror of DC’s future. Brooklyn was once a working class borough of New York City where strong Hispanic and West Indian/African-American populations thrived in affordable homes. Now, 2016 finds Brooklyn as the one-time mecca of “Hipster” culture, as a mix of creatives priced out of Manhattan dovetailed nicely with the blogosphere’s boom making Brooklyn a San Francisco in the hippie era-type destination. Brooklyn’s economy is currently out-pacing both New York City and New York State, too, adding 30,000 jobs in the borough in 2014 alone.

Gentrification in Brooklyn is approaching a legendary level, as what was once a Latin and Black hub is now 50-plus percent white, with Blacks at 36% and Latinos at 20% of the population of the borough. Affluent families without children are also on the rise in Brooklyn as is the case in Austin, as aforementioned. However, dissimilar to Austin, if you’re paying close attention to things in Brooklyn, Detroit — yes, with it’s one-time minority stronghold population in decline and tons of available and cheaper than NYC housing and arts space available, sound familiar?!?!? — is actually the “new Brooklyn.”

What then is to become of DC? Are we Austin? Are we Brooklyn? Or are we something in between, like some sort of Austin hippie-meets-Brooklyn urban cool thing that finds a new pocket in which to thrive as “the worst of [“DuckTales Effect”] messes become successes?” The potential for anything is possible. With hope, the money that Scrooge is diving into right now becomes a pool that benefits everyone in an evolving Nation’s Capital.

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