In the Puerto Rican section of downtown Holyoke, Massachusetts, urban blight is giving way to creativity, growth and cultural pride. Community gardens are replacing gang-infested lots. Small farms are sprouting up on the edge of town, bringing fresh produce to inner city markets. Family-run bakeries and restaurants are popping up in growing numbers. Annual festivals and celebrations are drawing new visitors downtown.
For thousands of Mexicans like Rosa Magana, the dream of living in a home large enough to humanely accommodate her family hovered far on the horizon. Then an initiative by a local building supply company in Guadalajara gave her the tools to make her dream come true. “Now I have a house in which my family lives a much better and more dignified life,” she said.
One of four persons in Argentina is unemployed in the wake of the nation's recent economic meltdown. Hundreds of people in Buenos Aires, the capital city, are trying to support themselves and their families by scavenging recyclable materials from the garbage. Scavenging, however, is a marginal, disreputable and unhealthy activity that is subject to police prosecution.