Hating on the ’hoods

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We’ve heard your snickers, seen your derisive Facebook comments and withstood — on some level, even understood — your mockery.

But let it be known, haters: LoFi is happening.

The portmanteau describes the lower end of Greensboro’s Fisher Park neighborhood, a once desolate stretch that has been activated into a genuine district by new businesses, new residences and the incoming greenway. We came up with it in the office one day. And yeah, it reminded us of the “South Park” episode deriding this type of shorthand and the gentrification that generally accompanies it.

Yes, haters: We saw the SoDoSoPa episode too. Ha ha.

But no one’s laughing in DUMBO, the Brooklyn neighborhood down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, or NoLibs, the Northern Liberties entertainment district in Philadelphia, or even the section of Charlotte north of Davidson Street known as NoDa.

Truth is, SoHo wasn’t always SoHo. The name for the Manhattan neighborhood south of Houston Street was coined by an urban planner in 1963. TriBeCa, the triangle below Canal Street, was named by a neighborhood association in the 1970s.

Real cities have distinct neighborhoods: the Mission in San Francisco and the Heights of Cleveland and Chinatown in just about every big city in the country.

And real cities change every day. Some of these neighborhoods are maturing, making it necessary to amend the old map of the city to fit this new reality.

That’s why there’s a Back of the Yards in Chicago, articulated when the meatpacking acreage became more residential, and a SoBro in Louisville, Ky. — an area of colleges, a library and residences south of Broadway.

And that’s why LoFi.

It’s a graceful moniker, conveying a sense of analog adventure  with a hint of self-deprecation. We’ve also heard BatFish bandied about to describe this same space, referring to the intersection of Battleground and Fisher, which is totally badass but somehow not quite on point.

Plus, there’s precedent for journalists giving names to sections of the cities they cover. Damon Runyon named Skid Row in Los Angeles. Neighborhoods are also named by the communities themselves, like the Irish Channel in New Orleans. And unless one of those two entities steps in, naming rights often go to real estate developers, like Marty Kotis’ Midtown.

To be clear: We’re on board with Midtown. That stretch of Battleground and Lawndale deserves the recognition of a name.

And you better get on board with LoFi, because it’s totally happening.

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  • Michael Driver

    One Word. Dowisetrepla.