High-End Homogenization

One of the readers of the Newburyport Blog sent me a fascinating email in response to the previous post and the label “vanillaization” of Newburyport by Mr. Karp and New England Development.

The phrase my reader used, was “high-end homogenization.”

Oh my. Talking about nailing it.


I looked up homogeneous in the dictionary and got this from Microsoft Word: “Having a uniform composition or structure.” And, “All of the same or similar kind or nature,” from wordnet.princeton.edu.

Thinking about our downtown, one could certainly see this trend possibly on its way.

So the issue really isn’t, in many ways, about chain stores or not to chain store, but do we as people living (not visiting) Newburyport, MA want “High-End Homogenization” dictated by Mr. Karp and New England Development?

For me arguments for non-regulation, whoever’s got the best stuff to offer floats to the surface, yada, yada, yada (yes, I’m sure that could piss a few folks off) would be quite beside the point.

To me, this could be a power and control thing over our city, the city of Newburyport, MA, with someone, some entity, with enough money to go there. Boy, I don’t know about you, but the power and control thing just doesn’t sit well with me.

An argument could be that the “High-End Homogenization” would be “classy.”

Well, there you go. “Classy.” “Class” in the old sense–money and class. “A group of people within a society who share the same social and economic status; the structure of divisions in a society determined by the social or economic grouping of its members” (Good old Microsoft Word again).

And it really, for me, doesn’t have anything to do with either being sophisticated or tacky. It has every thing to do with being exclusive. My guess would be that different but equal socio-economic groups might not be wanted here.

I think that is what BuyLocal/supportNbpt.org is attempting to address. And since they are the only ones out there willing to take this fairly courageous stand, those who do not want the specter of “High-End Homogenization,” well, yes, it’s a matter of “political will.”

As I understand it, the thought could be that the Newburyport Planning Board might be a way to begin to address this issue. And since much of the research has already been done, I would imagine that the Newburyport Planning Board would look at this slowly and with care. We are often very lucky with the volunteer boards that we have in Newburyport, MA.

Mary Eaton