Throughout my journey into the research of the Seward neighborhood, I have learned many things about many dynamics of this seemingly normal community. But I now believe that to be the very opposite, being something very special.
I have previously written about the history of Seward and feel that I have a grasp on what the community is about, but I would now like to explore why they are what they have become and how they created such a tight knit neighborhood.
I came upon the website of the Seward Neighborhood Group, a group formed by neighborhood residence, which is very much a symbol of the relationship that Seward has with everyone living there and how proud they are to live in that neighborhood.
With the slogan, “Making Seward a better place to live, work, and play,” I get the strong impression that they not only see this as they place that they live, but really something that they consider their home, more so than just their house. Rather than traveling into the center of the city, they would rather visit their local restaurants, art galleries and also work in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood as a whole considers itself a community, even though the culture make up is very diverse. Not once in my research did I see anything negative about a certain culture or ethnicity, but rather a celebration of its people.
By this group being so active in the community, this tells me that they are giving it their all to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood. It seems to be important to them that people outside of the community see them as a community to respect but also visit. As an outsider, I would often feel intimidated to enter an unfamiliar neighborhood, but this group has very much made me feel welcome.
After many discussions in class, I have come to the conclusion that the communities relationship with one another very much speaks about the future of the neighborhood. As close and proud as they are, I see this community growing and maintaining its history.
According to About.com, Seward is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the cities. Not to be a broken record, but the identity of the neighborhood has been preserved because of its celebration of its culture and its past. There is a large portion on the SNG website dedicated towards the history and past of Seward, contributing to that preservation.
As the SNG website states, early on in the development of Seward, many immigrants made up the growing population of the neighborhood. With this, it has been understood and known as the community of many cultures. This is not a new development, but rather one that has come from the very beginning. Had the history been different, such as only one culture making it up, then its identity today would absolutely not be the same. We may still see it as the neighborhood made up of many cultures, but this would not reflect its history.
During our interview with a resident of Seward, we asked her the question, “If you had to describe the neighborhood to someone who has never been there or heard of it, what would you say to them?,” she responded by saying, “I would say that it is neighborhood in the cities that is kind of small but nice. Has a lot of shops and restaurants and everyone is nice. Kind of old, lots of different people…” Her comment about their being many different people living there shows that it is being recognized, but was never mentioned that this is a bad thing.
We then asked her, “I see that there is a lot of diversity here, would you say that that changes the dynamic of the community?,” she said “Totally, it’s everywhere. My neighbors actually moved here from Laos, I think. They are Hmong. It isn’t just a bunch of the same people, makes it really different.”
This interview sealed my views on Seward, as I now believe that the identity of the community stems from is history and remains true to its roots. Thankfully, the Seward people are proud and continue to keep is history and culture alive.
James, C. (n.d.). The seward neighborhood. Retrieved from http://minneapolis.about.com/od/minneapolisneighborhoods/p/seward.htm
Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/