Over the last three weeks I have learned about how intercultural communication affects a lot of dynamics within a neighborhood and community. I have learned how the identity of the culture changes with time along with the power of the people in the neighborhood.
In this article, I will be reflecting on my experience of the culture in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood.
To fully understand intercultural communication within a neighborhood one must look at how the formation of the neighborhood and cities as site for cultural contestation and intercultural communication complicates or even nuances the understanding of the concept.
The formation of Marcy Holmes started with intercultural communication between the Native Americans who worshiped the St. Anthony Falls and white loggers who wanted to use the river as a business (marcy-holmes.org). The communication was complicated and contested because each group wanted the land for the different reasons. Eventually the white settlers were able to gain control of the land and turned it onto an industrial neighborhood. Marcy Holmes was considered “the city’s of the neighborhood” according to tcdailyplanet.net (tcdailyplanet.net). The neighborhood had its main intercultural communication conflict when it was just starting to become a neighborhood. Now the main reason there is an intercultural communication contestation is due to the fact that the housing pricing is going up because of the amount of wealthy people are moving into the community.
To understand an area’s culture, one must look at the history, economic, and social aspects of that community. Looking at those three things will help a visitor understand the community much better when they are in the neighborhood.
Native Americans were the first people to settle in Marcy Holmes, then white settlers moved in around 150 years ago and started to develop the area (marcy-holmes.org). The area became more developed as time went on because more opportunities arose from the influx of people settling there (marcy-holmes.org). In fact, in 1850 the census recorded 656 people in the St. Anthony Falls area, the first business was opened in 1847, and the first school was opened in 1848 (marcy-holmes.org). The area was obviously expanding at the time and becoming a place to start a life with a family. It was becoming an industrial area and mills were starting to pop up.
The culture of the area now has a lot to do with the things that were left behind from the past. Some of the buildings that were being used as mills are now apartment complexes. For instance, the Pillsbury A Mill is being reconstructed inside to become affordable apartment units (DuBois, 2012). Along the river many old buildings are being used for miscellaneous things such as Segway tours, apartments, and restaurants. The history of the old Marcy Holmes is extremely intertwined with the day to day life in modern Marcy Holmes. Everywhere you walk you run into something of historical value dating back to the beginning of the neighborhood.
The economic standing of Marcy Holmes consists of students as well as young affluent professionals. The students are quite poor and live in houses closer to the University of Minnesota where the rent is much cheaper than where the young crowd in the working world live. The young professionals are considered affluent and trendy according to many conversations that I have had with people around the area. Joseph, a man I talked with who is a resident of Marcy Holmes, stated, “The rent has been going up in the 12 years I have lived here due to the increase of younger and more affluent people moving into the neighborhood.”
The social aspect of Marcy Holmes is divided into two sections, students and young professionals, as I stated earlier. The students around the usually attend the University of Minnesota because it is affordable housing that is off campus. As a resident of Dinkytown and a student at the University of Minnesota, I enjoy the atmosphere of Marcy Holmes. I love how close it is to school as well as the cultural background that I run into on a regular basis. I go on runs around the neighborhood and find something new that I haven’t seen before. I personally love to run to the Stone Arch Bridge because there is an amazing view of the old factories and the Mississippi River.
Young professional’s social aspect of the area is quite broad. They live so close to downtown that they could easily walk to something going on across the river. There is the Guthrie, which is one of the most prestigious theaters in Minneapolis. There is a list of things to do on certain days in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood at marcy-holmes.org such as, Ten Second Film Festival (marcy-holmes.org). It is quite self explanatory, you make a Ten second film to show to an audience (marcy-holmes.org). It is held at the Soap Factory, which is an old soap factory converted into “a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation” (soapfactory.org). The young professional’s social aspect is quite artsy and trendy.
Now that you know about the history, economic, and social aspects of Marcy Holmes, I want to tell you about how culture influences communication within cities.
I believe that culture influences communication within cities because in every city there are different neighborhoods that have different cultures. Some neighborhoods are culturally similar and some are extremely different.
In Marcy Holmes the culture is “an urban entertainment scene by night, Marcy-Holmes is a welcome mix of old and new, traditional and trendy” (tcdailyplanet.net). Marcy Holmes attracts people who like the “traditional and trendy” culture and it influences communication. It influences communication because of the attractions. The attractions being things like the Ten Second Film Festival or a Frisbee Golf Tournament. The events going on in the community creates togetherness for people and influences people to communicate with each other. They are coming together for a common cause or event and it inspires communication within the city. These events are not limited to people only in the neighborhood of Marcy Holmes, making it a great way to open up communication to other people within the city of Minneapolis to experience the community’s culture. Culture influences more communication within Marcy Holmes because of the events that are put on around the neighborhood.
In conclusion, Marcy Holmes has had an extremely interesting past coming from the Native Americans to industrial neighborhood to now an artsy community of students and young affluent professionals. I learned that to fully understand a neighborhood one must recognize culture contestation and intercultural communication and comprehend the concept of it. I also learned about how the economic state, history of the area, and social aspect of the neighborhood effects who decides to live there and what type of culture they will have. According to Martin and Nakayama, “Cultural adaptation is a process by which individuals learn the rules and customs of new cultural contexts” (Martin & Nakayama, 2010). When people move into a new neighborhood then they need to learn the aspects of the culture and by me living here I understand the culture of the area and the social norms that go on. Understanding intercultural norms is a key factor to learning how to communicate with people who differ from yourself. You must understand someone elses culture to be able to effectively communicate with them. I feel I understand Marcy Holmes now that I know the history and understand the culture of the neighborhood.
DuBois, A. (2012, April 18). Pillsbury a mill to be converted into affordable housing. Minnesota Daily. Retrieved from http://www.mndaily.com/2012/04/18/pillsbury-mill-be-converted-affordable-housing
Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2010). Intercultural communication in contexts. New York: McGraw-Hill.