Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Work (M.S.W.)

Degree Program

School of Social Work


The Heartside area is located in the central city of Grand Rapids and is bounded by the streets of Fulton, Wealthy, Ionia and Lafayette. The neighborhood has seen a number of developmental changes in the last seven years. These changes include structural changes in buildings and a change in the clientele who visit and live in the area. The development of the VanAndel Arena, in 1995, brought many new restaurants and stores into the neighborhood. An area occupied by vacant buildings, homeless shelters, and limited growth, Heartside has seen a rapid, intense period of redevelopment. The current residents in the Heartside area are confronted by this new development. They are witnessing new changes, and new faces in the neighborhood. The neighborhood which was once considered by some to be “too risky” to drive by, is now being inhabited by those individuals. The neighborhood is seeing more activity, new development and a new future. The residents have been affected by the change in the neighborhood. They are aware of the changes that are happening in the neighborhood and are aware of the concerns about their place in the neighborhood. Many of the locals view the structural renewal as a positive improvement, but are unsure of its impact on them as residents. Urban planners and other experts hope to see continued developmental changes take place in the Grand Rapids area, but few have asked the important questions concerning the residents and their place in the Heartside neighborhood.


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