Urban Pioneers

Urban Pioneer

Wandering over to the web wondering what on Earth was an “Urban Pioneer” I sought answers. Well generally, as far as I can tell the main thing about an urban pioneer is that he/she chose the city over the suburbs. The city, however, can be anything from Manhattan to Nutbush (channel Tina Turner, here) city limits, which can take some of the cool hip edge off. It also plays off on the urban jungle which our pioneers are to survive, tame and make their own.

Choice is the key thing though. Urban pioneers choose to live in the city. They choose the places they inhabit. Unlike the poor natives of the locale who are kind of stuck and have fewer options. Like the Wild West or the early American Plains, there are Indians. The areas are inhabited, unless the area is some industrial park that had been deserted, most likely there is already life where the urban pioneer sets up stakes to make a claim.

The other thing about the urban pioneer is the sense of adventure. Unlike their suburban counterparts who get the move in ready home in an established neighborhood there is usually some sort of renovation of the dwelling or neighborhood. Adventure can be found in renovation a 19th century brownstone, or being a part of the urban renewal programs taking place in the neighborhood. There is change. They are part of what is to be.

The hipster set of the urban pioneer group, are young, some college educated, folks maybe with some artistic hipster talent or wicked IT skilz. They typically are lower middle class due to their age/point in their career/ choice of career. In other words, not rolling in dough. So they choose the big Victorian or Craftsman bungalow in the seedy part of town over the Jr. bedroom in the inner ring suburbs. Years of neglect and poverty must be repaired, scraped off, tossed out and replaced, and because of the lack of dough, it’s all DIY. So each pioneer’s talent and creativity is thrown in, making each project unique, sometimes a polar opposite of the cookie-cutter version in the ‘burbs. They ( I would say “I” but I think I’ve aged out of this group) will happily document all of it for the web or indy media. In my case it is just to remember what I did, and how cool it was, and the uncool moments, with the pioneer edge can be viewed with some coolness.

In time, young hipsters move out, sell off or just get older. The houses and neighborhood have been renovated. The native peoples, the original inhabitants, their number reduced or eliminated all together. What was to be, now, is. Non-pioneer types move in. Often with very little tolerance for anything out of order. These non-pioneers have a love/hate with the funky mindset that made the neighborhood attractive in the first place, and seek comfort in the uniform cookie cutter life, bringing it to the urban world.

One thought on “Urban Pioneers”

  1. Your comments on urban pionners is mostly accurate. I've heard some say that the term came about in the 70s in NYC when people moved into harlem and the bronx and fixed everything up.

    Sorry for commenting on something you wrote 6 years ago, but not many are writing using this term.

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