Gentrification is when a historically non-investment neighborhood undergoes a process of economic and neighborhood change through real estate development.
This process typically results in higher-income residents moving in, resulting in a change in demographic and income level.
Gentrification can also result in changes in educational levels, community displacement, significant racial change, and increased homelessness.
Usually, gentrification is complex. There are basically three key things to consider:
- The historic condition, laws, and policies, as well as all the practices that make communities susceptible to gentrification.
- The investment pattern changes in a central city as a result of these conditions.
- Gentrification impacts communities.
But gentrification has always been controversial as it invokes a criticism of a human right violation from a developer’s tone-deaf trash party to the cause of helicopter parenting.
Also, since gentrification includes like-new constructions and conflicts between ethnic groups, people sometimes get confused about its relationship with development and economic tension.
Definition of Gentrification from Miriam Websters Dictionary is: the process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents
What are the Effects of Gentrification?
Gentrification usually is the sign of economic growth as it allows money to flow into a neighborhood, which directly changes many aspects of everyday life for the better.
There are both positive and negative effects of gentrification as it is a social phenomenon that has hands in broader economic and societal forces.
Positive Effects of Gentrification
Generally, there are many things to applaud about gentrification.
- Gentrification was considered a good thing in the 20th century as people saw it was a way of adding money and resources into polluted and underpopulated urban areas. As a result, buildings and parks were renovated and organized more beautifully.
- Job opportunities increased as the new construction, retail, and service business activity increased, which eventually helps in declining the crime rate in that area.
- The property taxes increase which helps to fund local public schools, parks, and other social activities.
- The property valuation remarkably increases in that area that is affected by gentrification.
- Occupancy rates increase as the rates of the vacant houses decrease in that area.
- The culture and social mix increase in that area.
Negative Effects of Gentrification
However, in some cases, gentrification has negative effects because it displaces the poor and unstable group of people and replaces them with wealthy people.
- The rent prices increase gradually, and the original inhabitants of the area are replaced.
- Some psychological impact and complexity may arise due to the mass displacement of people.
- In some of the extreme cases, displaced individuals may become homeless, which is one of the more serious problems.
- As a result of the increase in property prices, unsustainable speculative happens.
- Displeasure rises in the community as conflict can occur between the original inhabitants and the newcomers.
- Affordable housing and rentals become limited, and eventually, inflation takes place.
- A loss of community diversity and activities occurs.
- Housing demand pressure increases as the displaced ones seek to relocate only to the surrounding areas.
Practical examples of gentrification and how it affects neighborhoods
Some examples of cities that have been gentrified are:
San Francisco, USA
This city in America usually comes into the limelight for its gentrified changes.
The place has become a hotspot for IT professionals and engineers because the growth of IT companies, such as Google.
Because of this, those people in other sectors and fields are undervalued.
For instance, there are IT company free buses, which are only offered to IT employees. Such practices cause displacement and hardship among the other people in the city.
However, the state government is trying to take measures to combat this problem by creating more employment for other people who are outside of the IT industry.
Mexico City, Mexico
The city of Mexico is becoming more expensive for locals to live as artists and wealthy stores are occupying the CBD area.
However, neighborhoods are becoming more accessible, and residents are leading a strong fight against gentrification.
There is art on the walls in in Mexico that spread the messages to the local and migrating population about the general aestheticization of the area.
This has become one of the most popular strategies in most gentrified neighborhoods.
Lisbon is one of the most multicultural places in the world, and it attracts mostly wealthy residents because of its culture and attitude.
A lot of construction is happening in the city as more immigrants are moving in to enjoy the culture and lifestyle.
This makes it a gentrified city that is causing hardship among the lower-income population as it favors the upper class and wealthy people.
What are the pros and cons of gentrification?
What are the Gentrification Pro’s:
- The people who come to neighborhoods will have a lot of energy. Thanks to the gentrification process, this will create social and cultural diversity as the conversation on anything regarding current events in the surrounding area increases.
- The gentrification process is responsible for creating new options for food, retail outlets, and job opportunities. It can be a strong foundation for that community that has been lacking in the past.
- It creates new housing opportunities as the process creates a new environment for the neighborhood, which may attract developers and contactors buying properties.
- The surrounding area will become a cleaner environment as the process of gentrification encourages the cleanliness of the surrounding area.
- The process also increases the creation of new activities, clubs, and events that are often friendly. This is an opportunity to try and create an environment that helps everyone in that area get out of their comfort zone.
- Public safety gets better with the process of gentrification as it creates more local laws, regulations, and mandates. The process also encourages new resources to come into the community who pay for advances in safety and security systems, which will effectively protect the community.
What Are the Gentrification Con’s:
- The process brings changes in cultural standards and attitudes as the wealthy people try to cultivate a new standard instead of trying to continue the culture that already exists.
- The process of gentrification sometimes makes a community poorer as the new member in neighborhood prefers franchise stores and big brand names. The original inhabitants may not be able to afford the same products as the new inhabitants.
- The rise in the cost of rent increases as the property gets higher value after each year.
- The gap between poor and rich people increases as poor people can’t maintain the same lifestyle as the rich people in the community. As a result, they are replaced by other rich people.
- The gentrification may lead to a higher level of conflict among the people of the community as it often feeds middle-class tensions that may turn into violence.
Why is Gentrification a Problem?
The most common problem seems to be the displacement of inhabitants from the neighborhood due to the redevelopment of the area.
The displacements may have various reasons such as original residents are forced to move as the rent increases. The innovation of the surrounding area increases, and the housing opportunities for lower and upper-income residents are limited.
For example, the Bay Area in California saw the rise in new technology companies replacing old industries and jobs, which led to new people moving to the area.
The valuation of land and housing increased dramatically, and there was pressure for owners to get the most out of urban spaces.
What we need to understand is that gentrification isn’t always about beautifying neighborhoods and making them safer.
It has more problems than that as it is also can create the systematic displacement of people from their homes and community.
Why is Gentrification Good?
Gentrification also creates substantial benefits for the long-term residents of low-income neighborhoods and can cause little displacement of those people.
- Improves the value of homes in the neighborhood
- Revitalizes the area to a higher standard
- Brings more taxes into the area for parks and community development
- Additional people who care for the community and want eveyone to have a great neighborhood
Other items of gentrification is good as it reduces children’s exposure to poverty, and the residents can get a better education and employment conditions.
The gentrification may not be completely bad as recent studies state that it improves the finances of original residents, and it is always not necessary to move out once affluent neighbors move in.
How Gentrification can Help Everyone in the Neighborhood?
In some cases, gentrification creates instant disputes. However, for many neighborhoods, gentrification means much-needed investment.
Any community and its leaders want capital in-flow leading to better services, jobs, thriving businesses, and other aspects of a healthy neighborhood.
The nature of gentrification does not always mean the displacement of the original residents.
It also encourages investment and economic revival without immediate displacement, meaning that in some capacity, for a longer period, the residents have to stay put and get the many advantages of increased property values.
Gentrification can be a life-changing period for some families since it can lead to building a wealthy environment that can improve their lifestyle and economic mobility dramatically.
Some people always see gentrification as a process that invokes displacement.
So, if people aren’t pushed out and replaced with wealthy people, then how can the community attract more investment and how can the community start changing their lifestyle in a better way?
The displacement and investment are interrelated, and that’s important to see positive changes and promote sustainable investment and economic growth without destroying the social norms of cities and neighborhoods
What is Gentrification Conclusion
As the demographic change continues to modernize the neighborhood, gentrifying acts against long-time residents.
The city planners and policymakers tend to continue to look for solutions to balance the needs of the economy with those of local people. The causes of gentrification are inevitable.
Some experts suggest that it is caused by social and cultural aspects such as the structure of the family, rapid job opportunities, lack of housing space, traffic congestion, and many other policies.
Some research also suggests that black and working-class families try to stay in gentrified neighborhoods rather than leaving them, resulting in the economic advantages of gentrification to reach all of the residents.
As more people want to move into the area, which has a better lifestyle and job growth, the desirability of this area increases more.
The impact of gentrification in social, economic, and physical often results in serious conflicts in political and cultural differences.
Even though the process change is often regarded as a hurting the communities by more wealthy people coming into neighborhoods, the improving of neighborhoods for the better of all who live there.
Gentrification is often used positively, but the effects are complex and can be good and bad. If we all focus on helping each other, the effects can be better for everyone.
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