|Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York gentrification|
If you have been following world news lately, you might have come across a rather strange (for blogger) story about Cereal Killer Café in London, England. This past Saturday night , rioters, supposedly "organized" by an anarchist group, threw bottles, burned police in effigy, painted "scum" on the window, and broke the windows of neighboring real estate office. (http//www.theatlantic.com) The British media called it an anti-gentrification protest or anti-hipster crusade. (Ibid) The reason yours truly brought this up because it highlights the negative impacts of gentrification: they displace long-time residents and businesses; bringing in younger more affluent residents and upscale businesses, like a café that charges five dollars for a box of cereal, that cater to them.
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?...What about the people who are renting? They can't afford it anymore!
Mr. Lee's frustration reflects the all-to-familiar urban story, playing out across the United States: "As wealthier residents flow back into once low-income, often minority neighborhoods, long-time residents can be priced out. However, Mr. Florida presents us with evidence that suggest that gentrification does not necessarily lead to displacement and can, in some cases, increase diversity. It sounds counterintuitive but please read on.
|A sign of gentrification|
Whole Foods in Detroit, Michigan
|Hipster bar in Detroit|
|Sign of future gentrification|
|Mars Bar before and after|
Everything thus far seems to run counterintuitive to the idea that gentrification leads to displacement and loss of diversity. Yet, there are studies that suggest that gentrification can reduce displacement. Richard Florida states that, "Neighborhood improves like bars, restaurants, waterfronts...can and sometimes do encourage less advantaged households to stay in the face of gentrification. Citing the 2006 paper, The Right to Stay Put, Revisited: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City, by Kathe Newman. Ms. Newman found "...displacement accounted for only 6 to 10 percent of all moves in New York City due to housing expenses, landlord harassment, or displacement by private action (e.g condo conversion) between 1989 and 2002." (Ibid) Further a 2011 study, How low income neighborhoods change: Entry, exit, and enhancement by Ingrid Gould Ellen and Katherine M. O'Regan demonstrated "...that neighborhood income gains did not significantly predict household exit rates. What did predict outmigration was age, minority statue, selective entry and exit, and renting as opposed to buying." (http://www.sciencedirect.com)
Photography by James and Karla Murray
New York City, New York
There is no doubt in blogger's mind that displacement is becoming a huge issue in "knowledge hubs and superstar cities' where the demand for urban living is growing in leaps and bounds. It does not take an endless recitation of studies to understand that these places are attractive to new businesses, educated and skilled workers, developers, and large corporations who all combine to drive up demand and the cost of housing. The end result is that long-time low- and middle-income residents feel pressured to find more affordable housing. The larger issue are the neighborhoods that are untouched by gentrification; where concentrated poverty persists and grows. Bottom line, gentrification and displacement are symptoms of "the scarcity of quality urbanism. The driving force behind both is the far larger process of spiky reurbanization-itself propelled by large-scale public and private investment..." The task ahead is creating more inclusive cities and neighborhoods that can accommodate all the city dwellers.