Urban Geography Blog Post #4 Image | Posted on February 26, 2016 by saorsa2014 Usual rules … Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
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These five photos all show people who are standing up against gentrification. Gentrification is the process of urban renewal- when wealthier people arrive in an existing urban district, increase the rents and property values, and change the district’s character and culture. As a result, many poor communities are displaced, leaving them upset with the situation. However, although the effects are very contradictory (and often seen negatively), the impact of gentrification varies in the way that you look at and varies from city to city.
First, gentrification can have many positive outcomes. For example, it reduces crime, increases the economic activity, and increases the number of new buildings and curb appeal while providing the development of new shops, new restaurants, and new jobs. One main problem with gentrification is that often times, the wealthier populations are the only people who use these amenities because the previous residents begin to find themselves economically sidelined. Adding to the controversy, the wealthy newcomers are acknowledged for “improving” a neighborhood while the poor, minority residents are displaced by the skyrocketing rents and economic changes. With the impact of gentrification on the cities themselves, how does it emerge in a society?
Gentrification usually happens in areas and districts that have qualities that make them desirable. For example, the convenience of urban neighborhoods and the availability for cheap housing makes an area a target. Another attraction is old houses and industrial buildings because people now see fixer upper houses as an investment opportunity more than they have in the past. Gentrification also works with a sort of snowball affect. The idea is that once one person makes a move into the city and fixes up a house, more and more people will begin to follow. Although it sounds like a good idea, sometimes gentrified neighborhoods can become a victim to itself, especially for renters.
Along with social changes, areas that undergo gentrification have many physical changes. As new construction occurs, parks are built, and streets are often restored. New arrivals often push to improve the district visually, but can add to political conflicts in the area. With new public spaces and amenities being built, the differences in race, class, and culture grow even wider. The people who lived in the area first, start to feel excluded because they are different socially or they just cannot afford to live there anymore. Gentrification separates the two classes of people who are living there and ultimately push the poor out when they can no longer afford their monthly rent.
Ultimately, gentrification is a source of change that is integral for the future of urban cities across the globe. It will always be a system of “checks in balances” in the sense that some people will lose things while others gain, but usually the wealthy are the ones gaining. Like shown in the bottom left picture, many have believed gentrification to be a form of racism as it separates people based on class and race. Gentrification is an issue that is currently happening in the United States, and is still controversial as to whether it is good or bad, politically, socially, and economically.
Excellent, very nice discussion.
These images show people who are protesting against gentrification and eviction in their neighborhoods and cities. Gentrification is the process of redevelopment of neighborhoods and portions of the city. The process of gentrification is made possible when middle class residents, who historically had left cities from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, form an appreciation of what’s going on in cities, and begin to buy and invest in properties and improve neighborhoods in incremental stages. On the outside this seems like a perfectly acceptable process from the point of view of the people making investments to properties (making a return on their capital) and city governments who enjoy increased tax revenues due to increased property values.
The five photos, however, show the implications of gentrification from the point of view of current residents. While upper-class residents were leaving the city in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s these residents were left to live in the central business district. The poor, elderly, disabled, and the racially and ethnically marginalized were unable to relocate to the suburbs or to the Sunbelt region of the U.S.
These people were left to deal with a fiscal squeeze caused by declining property values, decrease in tax revenue, and a decrease in government services including public transportation and education. To make the situation worse, legislation in the years following World War II kept the population left in the center cities unable to purchase homes (due to loan restrictions and red-lining), removed from housing determined as “blighted”, and lacking public housing assistance or options. Residents still in the CBD were left to deal with the impacts of deteriorated infrastructure, fire, healthcare, education, and food services leading to an on-going cycle of poverty.
Gentrification is spurred by a desirable trait within an area that makes reinvestment attractive. Sometimes this could be a public-private partnership such as tax incentives (or raising taxes to move renters out), but could also be a unique amenity such as proximity to a river, or architectural merit, such as brownstones or historic districts. Gentrifying populations tend to be young, single, and looking to live close to where they work. Increase in interest in the area causes property values, taxes, and rents to all rise. Often times, renters cannot afford the increased prices. Additionally, the prospect of selling a property coupled with tenant laws causes landlords to not make improvements (or even perform maintenance) to their properties. In an attempt to force renters out some property owners resort to making the residences completely unlivable and unsafe.
The combination of rising prices, deteriorating conditions, and having effectively no place to go understandably causes much strife among people currently living in gentrifying areas. These sentiments are reflected in the messages on the signs stating, “Honk if rent is too high” and “Gentrification displaces low-income residents”. Another important factor of gentrification also pointed out on one sign is that “gentrification is racism”. This is due to the fact that gentrified areas often aim to push out current residents (rationally marginalized people) either through eviction or economic conditions which current residents simply cannot afford, so that young, often white, employed people can move in.
– Kera Lathan
I was listening to NPR a couple of days ago and ran across a story about gentrification focused on Brooklyn and thought it would fit well into this discussion: http://one.npr.org/i/469805223:469805225
Very nice work, thanks for the NPR reference.
These images depict crowds protesting the massive gentrification process that occurred after the hollowing out process in America in the 1980s. Gentrification refers to the sudden shift in presence of wealthier families and wealthier businesses in a community due to increased interest or potential market in a specific area. This incoming of wealth results in a rise of property values within the neighborhood. As the average income increases, poorer families cannot afford to live in that neighborhood anymore. Gentrification is problematic because it forces people who can’t afford to live in the city out, and leaves the minorities, most commonly, on the street or in very awful living conditions.
Gentrification can occur either with a fringe of commercial development or just one street at a time. The process of gentrification happens when young people who live less than conventional lifestyles move into an area. Soon, families with white collar jobs begin moving in. As this happens, commercial redevelopers start buying entire blocks or other larger properties to renovate. All of this causes the value of property, tax revenues, and service costs to go up. Again, leaving the poorest population in that area unable to pay these fees.
Displacement is an awful and devastating result of redevelopment and gentrification. A removal of the poor population takes place. Many residents get evicted from current properties because they can’t afford to pay the rising rent prices, or they are forced out by commercial developers who are buying their apartment buildings to develop into something more valuable. They are forced from the city center where there are jobs. Most of these people do not own cars, making walkability a necessity for their lifestyle. Therefore, they need to live in a location that is easily walkable or accessible by public transit to hold jobs.
School systems are affected by gentrification. The richer population will often get a new school built in a district, or draw division lines so the poor children are not able to attend the same schools as the middle-class and up population. Schools are segregated, but done in such a way that is easy to get away with. This creates a lack of diversity, which is a very bad thing. Children should grow up in an environment that makes them aware of all kinds of people.
The government encourages gentrification because it is “beautifying” the city. Of course they don’t want the homeless and low income people to populate the city centers. This is where tourists visit and special events are held. They would much rather push these people as far from the city as possible, where they have no opportunities, to protect their own reputation.
Very nice discussion.
Gentrification vs rehabilitation, is this the appropriate title for this phenomenon? However urban redevelopment is couched it will have both winners and losers. If the plan requires displacing residents in anyway then this group almost automatically becomes the losing party. Once evicted or displaced the former resident either has to find comparable transitional housing or a permanent solution for their housing needs. This alone is going to generate costs for moving, deposits, rent down payments or lease down payments, and utility deposits. There could also be other cost associated with this displacement especially when there are not any local alternatives in the same cost bracket. The former resident may now have to commute a long distance to a job that that may no longer be worth it.
On the other side the city will get newly improved properties that will provide more tax dollars which will support the increased services in this rebuilt area. This could in turn help to lower the costs for surrounding areas and even the city as a whole because more money is entering the city coffers. In truth this will probably only affect the new residents of the redeveloped area. A different sector of society will move into these redeveloped areas. In part this will be due to higher rents and housing costs required to offset the cost of improvement. Another factor will be that the displaced resident may not be able to afford to move again so soon to reclaim their old dwelling.
Redeveloping one property successfully will inspire more redevelopment and this will continue to displace more of the poor and invite in more of the well to do. Of course not all redevelopment replaces poor with rich. A simple revamping of a neighborhood might only bring in the next higher tax bracket. Regardless of the wealth of the new residents someone is going to be displaced. In the case of the Brixton evictions, the railway company was not throwing out residents but instead they were about to displace small established businesses. They had intended to rebuild and refurbish all of the arch spaces along the line. This would increase the lease costs for these businesses who were an integral part of the community.
San Francisco is its own special case as we discussed in class. The young, unattached, well paid tech workers are causing a housing bubble of epic proportions. Even those members of the middle class that could once afford to live here are finding it difficult to do so. Gentrification is redevelopment that unfortunately creates a desirable location from a once affordable location. Although this process often seems racist in nature it is also class based. Because of long standing inequalities in American society the poor are often “people of color” which is just a polite way of saying not white. In some situations, the displacers are a specific demographic that is multi-racial but they are tied together by some other exclusive factor. In San Francisco these people are likely to be educated, tech savvy, young, single, and employed by the tech industry. In other locations the targeted displacer might be young couples without children but who also meet a certain income level.
Regardless of the final residents’ status in society there is always an upward trend in their prosperity level. Why spend the money on refurbishing a building if you cannot make more money in the end?
Excellent, nice discussion of pros and cons, although do I detect a touch of cynicism?
It has been argued that urban renewal and gentrification are different sides of the same coin. These images of people protesting against gentrification, speak to the less than favorable side of a movement that racially, socially and economically deconstructs pre-existing neighborhoods in moderate- to high- density areas in cities while homogenizing new ones in their wake.
Many neighborhoods in cities were affected by ‘white flight’ and the hollowing out of cities in the post-World War II era. The population that remained to bear the brunt of the ensuing fiscal squeeze was poor, often non-white or immigrant – but nonetheless racially and culturally diverse.
With government enacting eminent domain to actualize city improvement projects, and with (less than ‘traditional’) professionals looking for cheap housing and work spaces, these communities regain their attractiveness. Over time the infrastructure and the property values increase and those with the economic wherewithal take up residence in these areas, while the longstanding residents are marginalized.
The first photo from San Francisco (top left) indicates how the growth in the technology sector, and the subsequent relocation by younger, skilled, obscenely well paid workers (yuppies) are altering the economic stratification of neighborhoods there.
Because technology companies tend to hire racially diverse employees, the racial make-up of San Francisco might not be altered as dramatically as other places. There are a number of well qualified immigrants (descendants of immigrants), and people of color, that work in the sector.
The divide therefore, is primarily the result of the economic disparity – property rates have become so high that both the lower, middle and middle to upper class are finding it increasingly hard to afford living in the areas being flooded by the influx of technology workers.
Many of these neighborhoods were very desirable and people could at one time, afford to live there and therefore had the luxury of choice – which is quite unlike some other areas where people had no other option for housing.
The image (left, second from top) that of the Brixton protests are an indicator that urban renewal/regeneration/gentrification is not unique to the United States, and that the process yields similar outcomes no matter where it is employed.
England is perhaps one of the first countries in the world to have embarked on urban renewal because of the often squalid living conditions that existed within the city. While this is not the case with the businesses close to the arches which are slated for redevelopment, the result is the same – people being dislocated to make way for improvements.
Network Rail, the company proposing the redevelopment of the Brixton arches is in many ways using the process as an economic tool for reform. While they have offered to help the businesses in the area relocate ‘temporarily’, they haven’t entirely given their assurance that these traders – some of whom are non-white – would be able to return to the area when the redevelopment is completed.
While the people in Brixton might be in some cases economically better off than some others facing similar situations – like those in the remaining images – they feel the same. Many people would like to see improvements in their neighborhood, but not at the cost of losing their home or business.
The loss of diverse social capital makes it hard to argue that urban renewal and gentrification does not have an underlying racist and cultural agenda in addition to the obvious economic reasons that spur the process.
Ultimately gentrification’s success is measured by how much better a neighborhood becomes – with improved living conditions, increase in business, social services ect. – but it will almost always come with the price tag of the displacement of the diverse population that once lived there.
Very nicely done.
The people in these five images are participating in active protests against gentrification in their cities. Gentrification at its core is a restoration effort put forth by a city to clean up its inner parts in order to try to bring money back into the city. It’s an effort to clean up the “slums” that are in a valuable area of the city, usually near the central business district at the city’s core. Its surface intentions seem like good things for the parties involved: the city removes the parts of it that are undesirable, it allows for potential increases in their tax revenues, and provides nicer housing than what was previously there. It also creates a revitalized city core that encourages a city that was previously just a nine to five city to become a twenty-four-hour city. This pulls people back into the city and allows the city to improve overall financially.
The problems associated with gentrification far outweigh the good. Gentrification happens in low income neighborhoods, usually minority communities that are overwhelmingly black. These populations don’t have the means to stop the city from taking away their homes. These are places where people have lived their whole lives because they haven’t been able to afford to leave these places, and or they are possibly choosing to stay in these places because of the community they have found there. These “slums” are not slums to them. These places are their homes where their communities and families are. This is one of the biggest flaws with gentrification is the underlying racism that comes along with it (bottom left image).
When cities decided to undergo a gentrification project they have to first get the land from the private owners. The owners of the land will usually wait until the property has reached what they think will be its maximum value, but not wanting to pay more in property taxes, will allow the structures on those lots to deteriorate in order to force people out on their own since they can’t just evict people for seeming no reason—or they’re not supposed to. That policy obviously isn’t always followed as displayed by the top and middle left images of those two groups protesting evictions in their neighborhoods.
Property owners will raise rents until it forces out the unwanted people who can’t afford it (blacks, minorities, impoverished), and allows the upper middle and rich upper classes to be ushered into a newly renovated, cleaned up area of the city close to the center of the city with new amenities not previously offered. That’s what the gentlemen in the stop right image are protesting about in their city. These people forced off and out of their homes are not given another place to go. They are indefinitely without a home and pushed to other parts of the city away from their communities and resources that they established from their time in the community. (bottom right image).
With all of gentrification’s goods that it brings, its bads are more prominent. It is a process that almost hurts more than it helps.
The images for this blog post all show protests about gentrification of urban neighborhoods. Gentrification usually begins as small scale, individual redevelopment of lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods that have some ‘unappreciated’ merit, like aesthetically pleasing architecture. There are two general paths that gentrification can follow; it either begins on the fringes of a larger commercial redevelopment project or it may start one street at a time near some sort of attraction, like a park, train station, etc. Generally, the first individuals to participate in the gentrification process are young, single people who lead non-traditional lifestyles (i.e., without a 9-to-5 job). Eventually, affluent families with white collar jobs will follow and continue the process. In the final stage of gentrification, commercial redevelopers will enter the market and begin to renovate larger or multifamily properties that individuals or families could not afford to purchase.
The results of gentrification are normally quite negative. From a fiscal perspective, cities may be pleased when gentrification begins because of the promise of increased property tax revenue after the value of property in the neighborhood increases. However, the service costs for gentrifying neighborhoods also increase dramatically, potentially canceling out the increased tax revenue. A gentrified neighborhood’s new residents will demand a much higher level of services from the city, including schools, libraries, sanitation, fire, police, parks, etc.
During the initial stages of gentrification, the diversity of a neighborhood may increase dramatically as people from different lifestyles and socioeconomic statuses flood in. But once the old residents are fully pushed out, the diversity will likely become lower than it was initially. Normally, this means that non-white residents will be pushed out by incoming white gentrifiers, leading some to consider the process of gentrification racist, as shown in the bottom left image. The population of neighborhoods generally increases as well during the gentrification process.
The primary problem of gentrification is displacement. Unfortunately, gentrification will always cause displacement of the neighborhood’s original residents, who can no longer afford to live there once housing prices have skyrocketed. The two images on the right show residents protesting about the burden of gentrification on low-income individuals. When low-income residents are removed from gentrifying neighborhoods in the city center, they are also being removed from the place where they are most likely to find work, making their lives that much more difficult. Sometimes, the displacement that takes place during gentrification may be done deliberately by the city or landlords evicting residents to clear the way for gentrifiers, as reflected in the top two images on the left. Other times, the displacement may not occur in such a deliberate way. Homeless people are also gravely affected by gentrification’s displacement. Unsurprisingly, the new whiter and wealthier residents of a gentrified neighborhood do not want to confront the problem of homelessness in their everyday lives. Thus, during the process of gentrification, the homeless population will be removed from the neighborhood. Additionally, homeless shelters will be removed or relocated to discourage the newly displaced homeless population from returning.
The five photos displayed show various groups protesting against the gentrification process from continuing or beginning in their neighborhoods. Gentrification is the process, usually carried out by individuals, of buying and redeveloping properties, with or without subsidy from the public or local government. The gentrification process can take place on the fringe of commercial development, but doesn’t necessarily have to. However, for gentrification to occur the area must have good potential, that is, that the area has merit due to its location or architecture as well as redlining not taking place in the area. There are three stages to achieve gentrification. First young people, usually living less than conventional lifestyles, move in the newly redeveloped properties. Second, families move into the area, families moving in means the community must generally contain a wealth of white color jobs. The third step in the gentrification process is often large commercial developers moving in the area and redeveloping whole neighborhoods at a time.
The top left photograph depicts protesters holding a banner reading “Eviction Free San Francisco”. This photo illustrates some of the drawbacks to gentrifying, namely the pushing out of low income residents through increased rents and property taxes. Other fiscal results of redevelopment include a more mixed and increased tax revenue and service cost increases. These services include firefighters, police, and sanitation, both personal and infrastructure.
The top right image exemplifies much the same sentiment as the top left. This time the protesters sign reads “Honk if rent is too high- Fight Gentrification”. This slogan is just as inflammatory as the “Eviction Free San Francisco” banner, only these protesters are calling on the public for more action, asking them to fight against the perceived evils of gentrification and redevelopment. Other consequences of gentrification include effects to surrounding schools and the education system. When families new to the gentrified areas move in they often do not want their children attending the established public school that existed before redevelopment. This either leads to tax payers funding new separate, usually white, public schools or the call for creation of new private schools, furthering the diversity gap. This gap leaves the lower income schools with even less funding and assistance than before the area was gentrified.
The middle left photo shows a similar protest this time with a “Stop Evicting Brixton” banner. Similar to the top left photo the protesters are objecting to the rent and tax cost increases due to gentrification. The demonstrators clearly believe that the benefits of redevelopment do not outweigh the costs associated with increased costs and displacement of the established population.
The bottom left photo also shows protesters marching, holding a banner reading “Gentrification is Racism”. This statement defiantly has some validity due to the population change and displacement that accompanies gentrification. The population change fosters changes in life-cycles and diversity. First the diversity of the area increases when new residents, usually middle to upper class and white, move into the generally lower income and minority neighborhoods. Diversity increases in these neighborhoods till a point when all the original inhabitants are forced out and the gentrified area has low diversity once again.
The last photo, on the bottom right, once again displays activists campaigning against gentrification, holding a sign reading “Gentrification Displaces Low-Income Residents”. This statement is an unfortunate but true consequence of gentrification. The higher property values displace and remove the local poor population. Either deliberately or incidentally the poorer population is removed, both through higher cost housing and through discrimination in service provision.
Very nicely done, very thorough.
The post war central business district in the United States looks very similar like the one in Europe. People living in the central business district are not only locals but they are also from different ethnicities. These are mostly people that came to the United States to take advantage of the great economic growth that was taking place thanks to the production of war material, the construction of residential projects in the outskirts of the city (urbanization) and the production of white goods and cars. Among the migrants who came to live in search of better opportunities can be mentioned: the Chinese and the Italians.
The suburban flight from the central business district began to take place as a result of the American dream, which is highly materialistic and the central business district was not being able to offer that with the arrival of immigrants and other new comers. Most of the people who were able to move out of the central business district were the clerical workers who could afford to buy a house in the outskirts of the city. These clerical workers also had to be able to afford to buy a car (gasoline) and any other type of transportation that would take them to their workplace in the central business district.
I consider this first movement of people away from the central business district as one of the first attempts of gentrification. The houses that were built outside of the central business district were built like that with the purpose of avoiding that immigrants and any other low-income class lower than the clerical one would move there.
The movement of the clerical workers outside of the central business district meant that a lot of the clerical services migrated with people.
These residential projects started to be built in a way that there is no connectivity, which is the essence of a community. This is represented through the so called cul-de-sac that for most people back then and nowadays gives them a sense of safety by keeping unwanted people outside.
The resultant part about people moving out of the central business district is the so-called urban donut where there were a lot of unemployment and there some cities that still are fighting to recover. Most of the hollowed out part of the city is very easy to identify since it’s a very well circumscribed circle that is known in most parts of the United States as the loop. Very low-income housing is left in these areas, ethnic groups remain, new incoming immigrants, few jobs, and food deserts. Most sources of food for the people who was left living in the urban donut were convenient stores and fast food restaurants. The access to fresh food is very limited and food access becomes very expensive.
Some of the consequences that urban sprawl has caused and is currently causing is the contribution to segregation by race and class. Low-income people living in gentrified areas suffer a lot of discrimination when it comes to the provision of public services.
After World War 2, everyone that could afford to get out of the heart of the city moved to the suburbs thanks to government subsidized loans by the VA, and the Levitt-style home. Because of this massive outwards migration, the inner city quickly became the run-down living space for the poorer, usually minority or elderly population. Because the population was now poorer, the city did not receive as much tax revenue from the people living there. This movement away from the inner cities, sometimes known as white flight (since that’s generally the group of people who had the money to move out), combined with the decrease in tax revenue lead to the crumbling of the infrastructure inside of these cities. More recently, a phenomenon known as gentrification has started to take place to reinvigorate the inner cities of the United States.
The photos in this series of photographs are protests directly against gentrification. The term gentrification was coined by British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964. It has come to refer to a multi-faceted phenomenon that can be defined in many different ways. Generally, gentrification is a trend in urban neighborhoods, which results in increasing property values and the displacement of lower-income families and small businesses. Gentrification is a common and controversial topic in urban planning. It refers to shifts in an urban community lifestyle and an increasing share of wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values. Gentrification is typically the result of increased interest in a certain environment. Early “gentrifiers” may belong to low income artists, which increase the attractiveness and flair of a certain quarter. Further steps are increased investments in a community and the related infrastructure by real estate development businesses, local government, or community activists and resulting economic development, increased attraction of business and lower crime rates. In addition to these potential benefits, gentrification can lead to population migration.
Now, looking at the three photographs on the left individually (not the right 2 because they’re just general protests against gentrification rather than pertaining to a certain place), the first photograph (top left) is a protest against the gentrification going on in San Francisco. The gentrification and eviction of some of its population is taking place due to two main causes. The first of these causes is the massive expansion of the tech industry in the area. The expansion of the tech industry means that more people are trying to live there, and they’re making more money on average that they were before, thus leading to an increase in housing prices. The second cause of the housing price boom is the huge amount of unregulated, speculative construction going on in the city of San Francisco. Because of this tech industry expansion and speculative construction boom, the average person can no longer afford to live in the San Francisco area.
The next photograph (left center) is a protest of the gentrification and evictions going on in Brixton. In this area, people and businesses are being forced to move out of their homes and places of business so that the city can gentrify and improve the attractiveness of the city.
The bottom left photograph states that gentrification is racism. This is a somewhat interesting concept. Gentrification does usually affect the poorer people in the inner cities (usually African American people). Although on its face it could be viewed as racism, really it’s just the city wanting to improve its image and it just happens to be displacing the poorer (usually minority) population of the inner city.
The pictures show the response of individuals to the now common practice of gentrification. Gentrification is the influx of investment from outside source to a previously under developed community in order to raise the value and in turn redevelop the area. The thought is that with the influx of interest in the area new businesses and other economic development will raise the worth of the whole area. The argument against the process is that with the uptick of economic development the current residents and business are priced out of the area and left with little to no way of subsisting in their former homes. Most of the residents are renters and as such have no stake in the gaining development of the area. As the area is rejuvenated the tenants are unable to afford to stay in the area. The Post-World War exodus of people to the suburbs led to the initial demise of these areas. The people who remained in the area were those that were either the people that were too poor to move out or the racially unwanted in the suburbs. As these populations remained and suffered through the degradation of the area the population that left offered little to no respite for them. Now after generations of poverty in some of these areas, the more affluent areas are now trying to spread into the unwanted areas. This process of gentrification has a tremendous impact on the residents of an area. While in theory the process should help them it more often forces them out as the protesters are pointing out. Everywhere you look in today’s modern cities there is at least one area or neighborhood that is undergoing some sort of gentrification. We have all heard or seen these areas of revitalization, which is a softer name for gentrification, areas like DuPont Circle in D.C. or Silicon Valley in San Francisco. While the areas do succeed in most cases, the people suffer and are just pushed off to another area. At times the relocated population will be up rooted again for the process to happen all over again. Instead of possibly working in unison to achieve the same outcome with less negative impact on the residents, the investors choose to “block bust”. If the time and money were invested in the population as well as the area, a great deal of good could be done while still achieving the end goal of profits. However the time spent would increase and thereby lower the initial profits gained and so the process continues with the poor moving from rental to rental and unable to set roots while the rich continue to make money by pushing them out and developing the land instead of developing the population and the land.
Gentrification is a very controversial redevelopment technique. Ultimately it creates displacement of the poorer population whether it be deliberate or incidental. Ideally gentrification will visually improve the neighborhood/business district. Making the area more appealing to wealthier residents and tourists that will allow for the gentrified area to increase its tax revenue.
Gentrification can occur among both residents and businesses. Poorer commercial business districts have been know to be redeveloped to increase leasing amounts and tax revenue for the area. This can be done in multiple ways and usually is encouraged by the local government. The re-development usually makes the area much more appealing to future potential residents and tourists. Some local governments have been known to back developers with risk free loans in order to redevelop certain focal points of their city. With the end goal obviously being to bring in more tax dollars for the city. The raise in lease prices and/or the destruction of the commercial building will cause the displacement of local businesses that may currently occupy the proposed site of redevelopment.
Gentrification among residential neighborhoods often looks much similar to that of commercial gentrification. It usually starts by making the area more appealing to single people with less than traditional lives. Something along the lines of building more nightclubs, bars, and other activities for those leading the single life. From here the vision will change with the goal of trying to get more wealthier families into the area to attract development of commercial and residential properties. This redevelopment of the current and surrounding residential buildings will displace some if not all of the local lower class. Due to the raise in rent and increase in cost of living prices. This will cause serious friction between the upper and lower classes living in the area.
Many of those affected by gentrification argue that it is a form of racism. That is destroys the community or social capital that has evolved out of the neighborhood. This is because it displaces low-income residents that tend to be a minority and replaces them with wealthier residents that are usually white. Not to mention that some areas in the bigger cities that are gentrified are essentially turned into ghosts towns. Mainly because the people buying up the residential housing are only using it as a vacation home.
Cities are obviously inclined to help in gentrification, especially those that are currently struggling with being a nine to five city. A nine to five city being a city in which most people commute from the suburbs to work inside the city then return back to the suburbs after work. This is bad for the city because it does not provide as good of a tax revenue stream as if the workers lived within the city. So it is in the cities best interest to attempt to make the central business district and its surrounding residential more appealing to potential residents. Some would argue that gentrification is not the answer to this though. Maybe something more along the lines of smart growth and new urban-ism.
This is a link to a good video I watched awhile back by Seeker Stories on Gentrification in London: https://youtu.be/fsf2fq-jvY8
Good discussion, thanks for the reference link .
There is a growing trend of gentrification in the American inner city. This is a large part of the plight we see in Skid Row (see my reply of UG Blog #5). But this is something at which we, here in Fayetteville, are getting a small glimpse. Yes, it is not on the same scale as it is in most major US metropolitan areas; and, yes, it does have the same racial connotations because Fayetteville is relatively racially homogenous. It does, however, give us some personal experience on which to draw. I have seen this in my own neighborhood: around Bedford Loop, Lewis Plaza, Mitchell, Stone Street, and Graham Avenue. All these roads have seen demolished old, small homes replaced with Luxury townhouses and luxury apartment buildings. In addition, the last time one of the buildings in the Lewis Plaza section 8 housing became too damaged to be livable, they demolished instead of repaired. I am sure I will see this with the next building as well, until no tenants remain. It has been a while since I have seen affordable housing being constructed in Fayetteville, although that is supposed to be one of the priorities of our mayor Lioneld Jordan and the city council representative of my district, Sarah Marsh. In fact, the Fayetteville Housing Authority lists only four section 8 housing developments for Fayetteville, the last having been built in 1983. Low income housing isn’t even mentioned in Fayetteville’s 2030 Master Plan, except to say that it currently exists.
In the inner cities of larger metropolitan areas this is a much greater problem because the density of the low-income housing being replaced is much higher. Thus, many more are affected by gentrification in these areas, and it tends to have a disproportionate impact on people of color. People are being driven out of their homes by landlords, who will not fix their plumbing, heat/ac, or other vital housing needs. Also, people are being told they have to leave when their lease expires with nowhere else to go, except Skid Row type places perhaps. In general these housing options are not being replaced with other affordable housing. It is interesting, and sad, to see how these newly gentrified areas become saturated with better goods and services.
This is not just a problem in the United States, this is happening all across the globe. This means the cultural pressure permeates the developing global culture. But how could we go about fixing the complex issues which contribute to this trend? I doubt very much we could stop the global trend of people (including the wealthier classes) moving to the cities, but we might be able to mitigate the damage this causes to disenfranchised groups of people. I would suggest the U.S. government stop spending over fifty percent of our discretionary budget on blowing up other people’s housing and work on building some for our citizens whom, if they aren’t all ready, will be living on the streets. In addition we could invest that money in green technology and affordable education/training; putting able bodies to work in the process and giving them the means to pay higher rents.
Good discussion, nice observation about the global nature of the problem.
Gentrification is like this all-powerful force that seems impossible to stop. It may seem so difficult because it happens in really subtle ways at first, and then suddenly, one’s entire surroundings are injected with expensive housing, services, and stores. This difficulty I feel also stems from this being an action where the act is beneficial to the local government, and not so much for the people (who are being economically marginalized, that is). But gentrification is really great for improving the quality of area services and tax revenue for the local government to spend on roads, schools, etc., and it is really cool for new residents to come in and live in an area that used to feel unsafe, but is now hip and bouncing 24/7. The idea seems like a dream-come-true, I’m sure, but it seems like maybe it’s very easy for those with a lot to not realize how their actions affect those without very much. Gentrification destroys working-class communities, and pushes them farther and farther into the periphery. It increases rent, increases eviction rates, increases othering, and actually does reinforce racism in some cases. Such as, Brooklyn, a historic neighborhood made up of a strong black community and poor immigrant families has been one of the most gentrified regions in the U.S., where white, wealthy individuals or individuals with wealthy parents, have essentially claimed the place as their own on the basis of historic systematic racism and class inequality. This has pushed much of these communities into places like Queens, sometimes as far as Rockaway Beach. In is not inherently racist, but it is the historic and contextual implications that make it so in some places. I remember visiting Brooklyn once and somehow ended up in the apartment of some gentrifiers. They explained to me (without me asking actually) that they weren’t part of the gentrifying problem because they lived in a certain part of Brooklyn. I asked how much their rent is, and when they told me, I knew that they had no idea what gentrification was. A few months later I returned and stayed at this hostel for a night where I had a long conversation with one of the employees there. I ended up ranting about how awful the gentrification in Brooklyn is, and he explained to me that, although he lived in Brooklyn, he certainly wasn’t part of the problem either. And it made me wonder: how many gentrifiers think that they are actually gentrifying? This seemed like a major issue.
A friend recently told me that one of the areas flooded by Katrina in New Orleans that had previously been home to very high poverty and homelessness rates recently (post-Katrina) has become the home for tons of yuppies moving down to New Orleans, and pushed out a lot of its former residents. The same friend had a friend who ran the only medical clinic in the area (started it because there was no health care in the area before her), and told him that most of her patients used to come in for emergency care that they couldn’t get anywhere else, and now, most of her customers are young, white 20-something year old YUPs. It is not a question as to whether or not gentrification displaces communities, but rather, the question remains to be, how to stop it? Or can it be stopped at all? The undertones of this action seem to be rooted in some serious long-term problems of wealth inequality in our country, and a massive importance placed on unhealthy consumerism. But then again, what problem that exists today in this country isn’t rooted in those? So a clear solution remains to be seen…
Good observations, especially the last sentences.
The five above photos show citizens protesting gentrification in their neighborhoods. Gentrification is the removal of a low property value area, and replacing it with more extravagant and more expensive neighborhoods. This is typically the result of middle to high income families moving into a historically poor area. Gentrification typically results in the moving of low income citizens to relocate to a different part of town, or perhaps in extreme situations, could result in them becoming homeless. Gentrification leads to higher land values, that leads to higher rent, and that could ultimately lead to eviction and a higher rate of homeless people in a city. I feel that this leads to the exact opposite of gentrification. More homeless people, and slums are not what I traditionally think a gentrified area is looking for. The deconstruction and reconstruction of a area is an attempt at making a community more “beautiful” or appeasing to both the current residents in the town, or to attract other citizens from other towns to either visit the area. Perhaps it even leads to more people choosing to move into the city. Gentrification is also an attempt to diversify and bring additional culture to an area.
One of the pictures above shows a person with a sign saying that “gentrification is racism”. While for the most part I don’t think it’s an intentional racist ploy by city officials, there may be some truth to it. Traditionally in a lot of cities the low property value areas are populated by minorities(although not always the case). Areas in Los Angeles that have the lowest property values are more African American and Asian American areas. In Miami, the Latin American areas are among the poorest areas. Gentrification seems to effect minorities more then standard white Americans. Again, I don’t think this is intentional by the city governments and planning divisions, but due to socio-economic profiles being what they are, its does seem to be a racist trend.
A recent episode of South Park satirized the idea of gentrification of a area. In the episode, the townspeople attempted to gentrify the poor neighborhoods and replace it with upscale hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas. All of this was an attempt at making the town appear to be diverse enough to open up a new Whole Foods into the town. The episode showed the effect of displacing the low-income neighborhoods, and also showed what happened to the businesses of the town. The restaurants in town lost their business to the new upscale restaurants, leading the established restaurants to change the business models. For anybody interested this topic, the episode is called “The City Part of Town”, and to me ranks among shows best episodes.
In theory, the idea of gentrification is a good idea, but in practice it seems that the negatives far outweigh the positive results. The idea of more parks,improved streets and newer and better looking buildings is definitly an appeasing idea. As much as nicer neighborhoods would be, i’m not sure if higher property taxes, displaced or more homeless individuals, and potential effects on the local economy is worth it.
These images are people protesting against gentrification in their neighborhoods. Gentrification happens when people, mainly white, move into lower income neighborhoods consisting of mainly minorities, in hopes to revitalize the area through commercial and social “improvements.” They move in because property values are low and they hope to make a profit on their investment by flipping the property once the area is gentrified. This is where the pushback comes from. People living in these neighborhoods are pretty much forced out because they can’t afford the increasing rent. They also feel that they are seen as an investment opportunity rather than a neighborhood with their own culture and way of life.
These pictures show the protests of this kind of thinking. Gentrification almost always targets a minority neighborhood where the residents have low or no income. These protestors are fighting for their neighborhoods and want to see an end of the displacement of their friends and family. Because of the increased rent prices that many people can’t afford to pay, eviction rates have skyrocketed in these neighborhoods. People are losing their homes due to the increased housing prices and property values.
Gentrification or urban renewal can have some positives impacts. They revitalize struggling areas and create jobs and economic revenue due to the increased commercial presence. It can lower crime by increasing the people on the streets shopping or walking around, which leads to a higher police presence. This increased commercial presence and revitalization draws in many types of people- art junkies who want to set up studios in thriving areas, artisans who want to live in interesting areas to sell their goods, etc.
At the end of the day you have to take the bad with the good and make compromises. Gentrification does revitalize struggling areas with an influx of new activity and people, but in doing so it drives away the existing residents who may have lived there for many years. Both sides of the issue have strong arguments as to why it’s good or bad and it’s city officials and neighborhood leaders need to come together and talk about this issue and hopefully come up with a plan that benefits both parties.