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The comment section really shows how little the public knows about this issue. Spike may have not delivered the most eloquent speech about the topic, but man people are really racist behind the safety of their computers. What he says is also very true. Shocked that the media also acted like gentrification was unanimously a good thing. Anderson cooper seemed surprised that he was painting gentrification in a negative light.
Topics of urbanism are so seldom brought into the mainstream so I just thought it would be interesting to discuss the ridiculous media reaction.
I would also encourage you all to go back and watch his film Do The Right Thing. I personally think it is one of the most important mainstream films on the social connection to urbanism and architecture. The social urban dynamic is painted in the most incredible way. Notice the way he illustrates the urban block as an isolated sphere. Almost as if it embodies the small town dynamic. This is something I always felt growing up in NY. The invisible divisions between areas blocks that create a collection of what feel like "small towns"
I don't understand why gentrification is always assumed to be so closely related to race. Look at Berlin, Germany, where a constant re-gentrification of different neighborhoods causes rents to be low across the city. Is only in America where race is concentrated in poverty, that the issue comes up, and the only way to break the boundaries of concentrated poverty is for it to not be concentrated anymore. Neighborhoods need to be mixed, and in many cases the only way of reaching that is gentrification.
Jla-x this is awesome to post, in Chicago we are not re-branding neighborhoods just changing their demographics, this renaming in New York is weird to me but sounds like something real-estate developers would try and pull.
The neighborhood I live in has a meeting with the alderman to discuss what to spend a million dollars on to improve the neighborhood, I will report back what was brought up.
you know what currently really pisses me off? I live in a mostly non-white neighborhood in a major US city - people (of all walks of life) here have been working really hard to get better bike and ped facilities for years - and yet we have rich white people who live in neighborhoods on the other end of the city openly wondering if bike lanes will lead to the gentrification of our neighborhood. We already lack good public transit here, and these dipshits are concern trolling our neighborhood because maybe they're afraid all the dark-skinned people will ride their cheap refurbished bikes up into their neighborhoods? They've never even set foot here - they have no idea what it's like. We want THE SAME access to safer infrastructure that they have.
We also want better schools and kids to stop shooting each other. but I guess we can't have those things because, you know, gentrification.
IMO - spike lee's argument is actually about institutionalized racism - not necessarily "gentrification" - he's mostly complaining that only now that rich white people are moving in that city services in the neighborhood are getting better. The other stuff about cultural change is the same cultural change that happens with any neighborhood's demographics change. spike lee's brooklyn has only existed since the 1960s - before that it was a completely different place.
grnegg and sam, Are you living in the US?
we have race problems Obama did not end racism, decades of racism has hurt communities and there are a lot of needs that need to be met, financing, education, public safety are still not evenly distributed. In Chicago's South side schools have far fewer resources than North Side Schools. Parents on the north side lake front neighborhoods don't have to send their kids to school with toilet paper as well as a lunch, and this is the same public school district.
And it is nauseating to repeatedly hear people blaming the crime on bad parenting, that is nonsense, parents who work hard hold three or more jobs and have neighbors and relatives kids to look after as well as their own do as best they can but when your community is beset with gangs and drugs (drugs sold to suburban white kids) and all the trouble and temptations kids face just outside of their front door, it is hard to see how even the best parents can do everything they have to do to keep their kids out of trouble.
The foreclosure crisis and the large number of folks who have to rent because they could not get a home loan from the government have left an opening to uproot folks who are vulnerable and to clamp down on the indigenous urban culture that doesn't fit the quiet gentrified image someone wants to impose on the neighborhood. Spike's dad playing base and getting the cops called, probably because the neighbors wanted to watch cable tv shows instead of interact with their neighbors, the elevator riding etiquette of not talking looking people in he eye has spread to neighborhoods too. All of this wining nonsense drives people out.
Quiet streets are boring streets.
Gentrification causes such strife because people don't join or add them selves to a neighborhood, they try to take it over and transform it to their liking, people are aware what the other people have more so than ever before, folks realize that the rich white areas have their trash picked up each week, they get streets plowed and the city plants flowers and builds playgrounds for peoples dogs while less than a mile away the sidewalks are collapsing into a sink hole and the playground equipment is older than the kids parents, if they even have a park within 8-12 blocks of their home. With such blatant disparity how can you conclude that race is not behind it, and in America race and class run along similar lines. The privileged upper-class need to make some sacrifices so everyone in the city has a chance to live a decent life, maybe their dogs don't get a dogie play park until all kids in the city can walk to a clean safe playground. However if they want to spend the money to buy a building tear it down and build and maintain a dog park with private funds and volunteer labor more power to them, but taxes need to be evenly distributed by population not wealth. If the poor communities continue to deteriorate the city as a whole will fail, we only have to look at Detroit to see what happens when things are out of balance.
Over and OUT
With all due respect, I live in Washington DC- we have seen more gentrification than any other city in the nation for a city of the same size. I've worked with the government some before, and most employees at the local level are African American. There is a huge disparity throughout the city between the poor and the rich. The wealthy areas get taken care of much better, but I'm not sure if its because the government funds are going there over the poor areas. The government here is controlled by the African American population, and government money often goes into poor communities. Unfortunately, there is too much cronyism and corruption to allow the money to be applied in ways that would be truly beneficial to the community.
Gentrification has allowed some black folks within the city to become extremely wealthy when they saw their property rapidly rise in value. Meanwhile, the wealthy parts of the city only saw marginal gains in their property values. Without gentrification, the tax base of the city would be back to nothing, the property value extremely low, and the rich suburbs would stay white and rich. What's your solution?
Well said Peter!
One Solution, Rent control or some form of aggressive home ownership program so folks own their home before the rents skyrocket and displace people. DC has, compared to Chicago relatively few empty lots, but many empty buildings, this is an opportunity for home and business ownership.
You have people trying to suppress the existing urban culture such as all the folks who hate on Go-Go culture and music, maybe the city can hold a massive Go Go party to celebrate a form of music born out of the ghettos of DC instead of some boring jazz festival featuring artist from everywhere but DC.
Stop trying to sweep the uncomfortable past under the carpet, but also hold your leaders up to higher standards, no more corrupt crackheads for mayor.
The big money in politics will always have an influence on the city pushing out DC people businesses and institutions, but DC can chose to allocate resources to retain people instead of displace them, there is only so much space as you are bound by height restrictions the river and the federal buildings and parks, so eventually the space will get used up the brownstones will be converted to single family mansions and vacant stores will become supper trendy bars and restaurants but there is room for ordinary folks if the city decides to set aside resources and space for them. Just don't create ghettos like the housing projects and don't create a system that is another source of graft for politicians.
Also you all need to rise up and demand state hood or to become part of Maryland so you have self control and a voice in congress. No no more taxation without representation
The state is also controlling the culture to a degree through regulation and law. Trying to keep it comfortable and sterile for the yuppies and tourists. For example the state regulated street vending out of existence but now certain cities are allowing it once trendy hipsters began to buy food trucks and sell trendy food to other trendy hipsters. If it were a bunch of dreadlock Rastas selling beef patties and coco bread I'm pretty sure the vending laws would still be very strict. The city is trying to dictate what is and is not acceptable culture.
Yes, because requiring that food vendors comply with basic health regulations is RACIST!
Well I'll try not to get off topic here because I have a habit of doing so...,
but, it goes beyond food vendors. The laws changed about allowing more vending permits once the hipsters started demanding it. Has nothing to do with health compliance. They work on a lottery system. When the vendors were "low brow" (of all races) they tried to phase it out. When the vendors became more "high brow" they began to lighten up regulations again. It goes beyond racism. It's class discrimination. The developments also determine what businesses are going to be allowed in. They plan this around a certain cultural and socioeconomic demographic.
Gentrification is Social engineering through zoning, sidewalk regulations, and Class displacement.
Which jurisdiction are you talking about? New York? San Francisco? LA? You're just making these broad generalizations.
That's one example.
First of all, that's a horribly written article.
It mentions that the guy who sells hot dogs is Bangladeshi but fails to identity the ethnic makeup of those who will be selling "Indian crepes." I still think you're reading racism into administrative decisions. Also, if New Yorkers were really hell bent on saving the hot dog stands, they could push to keep them. The decision wasn't a royal fiat.
live in Washington DC- we have seen more gentrification than any other city in the nation for a city of the same size.
sorry - that honor goes to Boston.
Like I said its not about race only. It's about class warfare. Race is tied to this but its not exclusively about race. Gentrification is about sterilizing the city of the things that are inherently "low brow" working class and lower middle class traits. The hot dog stand is a symbolic thing in NY. It also has nothing to do with health. That's a scapegoat. If the city was concerned about health they would pass laws against Gmos. It is about the crafted institutionalized bias of the yuppy class. The gritty pizzeria run by working class italian Americans (like the one in Do The Right Thing) being replaced with the high end coal fires pizzeria and wine bar. The neighborhood dive bar where working class men go to complain about their wives with the trendy and hip gastropub. It's about the cleansing of working class culture. The social engineering into some picturesque image of a high end city for the benefit of the top socioeconomic classes and the tourists.
to be fair, the working class themselves are allowed to change. if that working class person who wants to complain about their wife wants to start drinking pbr instead of bud heavy, they can do that. after all, bud sold to the belgians. the finishes in the bar can change to more 'trendy' materials as well. the variation in patterns available for porcelain tile now compared to 20 years ago is pretty incredible, and they don't really have a price premium. and it doesn't have to be only men that complain about their wives anymore.
didn't new york ban, or at least try to ban, smoking, salt, and large soft drinks out of concern for local health? apparently those things harm your health more than GMOs.
"live in Washington DC- we have seen more gentrification than any other city in the nation for a city of the same size.
sorry - that honor goes to Boston."
The study in that article only goes to 2007. I wonder what it would look like if it went to 2012? A lot happened between 2007 and 2012. I used to live in an area known for drug sales in 2007
jla-x - it sounds like you are complaining about the city not being dirty enough. I'm sure if society put no value on designers whatsoever, we could have cities full of gitty shops and styles that never change. I don't think regulations should enforce social class structures, but the nature of the free market is to support those who produce the best products.
you do realize that "gritty italian pizzeria" changed their menu and is now serving coal-fired gluten-free vegan pies, right? these places are owned by the same people. There's a video rental place in the next neighborhood over from me that's been around forever - about 10 years ago they switched to independent art-house and local films (stuff you can't get online) and private screenings because they realized that was the only thing they were able to make any money on. There's a butcher nearby that's been in business 50 years and few years ago he started selling organic free-range chicken and local grass-fed beef because he noticed more people coming in and asking for it. You adapt or you go out of business. you work in architecture, right? You should know this. Maybe you aren't that old.
plus - culture as a whole is changing, the economy is changing... there's an entire generation of people who were trapped in sanitized, sedate, and secluded suburban communities that had been starved of connection and interaction with other people - and they're bringing these desires into the city (for better or worse). industry has shifted away from manufacturing toward more service, tech, and knowledge fields - the latter of which require higher levels of education - and more frequent and informal interactions between people (thus the benefit of urban living)... we've also reached the limit in both time and cost of moving around by car in low-density sprawling environments... so "gentrification" is happening most in places that had made investments in non-car infrastructure.
Cities (and many neighborhoods) are falling all over themselves to attract these people because they provide a larger tax base and thus revenue - they have the money to invest back into their properties and neighborhoods, and they are educated (and entitled) enough to advocate for better city services.
Also - if you're in a healthy urban environment, with the exception of very few places, there has never really been any real cultural continuity that has lasted more than maybe one or two generations. there are definitely some real issues in terms of displacement of newcomers (and a handful of old-timers), affordable housing, loss of local support networks for the working poor, and access to transportation, etc... but the absolute last thing you want is for entire neighborhoods to keep deteriorating because no one can afford to keep up their properties. it's a double-edged sword - but it's not some kind of massive conspiracy.
It's not a massive conspiracy but its an institutionalized problem. That's even worse.
I'm not saying that poor areas should stay "bad" I'm saying that they should improve not completely raze what's there and replace the people and culture.
Yes of course things change but this is not organic change. This is not people moving up and moving out. Many italian American communities were very poor. Over time they "moved up" and the neighborhoods changes. That is not the same as rapid displacement. The poor people being displaced are not moving up they are just being moved out. Still poor. Same problems in a different place. There is nothing being improved or solved. Just shuffling things around. And, by relocating poor people to suburbia, we are actually fueling sprawl because there are far more poor people and working class people than rich people. We are deurbanizing.
So yeah if you want a decadent Capitol you will have district 12. Looks like the hunger games is coming true.
the problem is the population displacement.
surely you recognize that when the population is displaced, there is improvement. the buildings are improved. crime goes down. parks are cleaned up.
gentrification also happens organically. old neighborhoods become 'trendy,' and recent grad young professional types who don't have much income but do have some earning potential buy property for cheap, and as their earning potential goes up over the course of a few years they invest their money in cleaning up their property and their communities. new business is attracted to serve the needs of the new people moving in. they invest in improving commercial districts. i have seen that in chicago, though i don't know anything about new york. the government doesn't even need to conspire against the indigenous poor people.
again, the problem with gentrification is population displacement. re-roofing a house is not a problem. in fact, that side-effect of gentrification is actually good, because sometimes a house needs a new roof and the person living in said house can't afford the cost associated with the repair.
Improvement when population is displaced? Curtkram are you serious?
what a simplistic argument.
Improved for an ever shrinking class and not improved for a growing class called the 99%.
Soon that 99% will be the 99.5%
The poverty is being moved to suburban areas. While the urban areas are seeing better parks and lower crime suburban areas are seeing the opposite. Nothing is being solved. There is no net improvement. Upward mobility is actually stifled because suburban areas lack the resources and community networks that help poor people move up. They are horrible environments for poverty and the crime that follows poverty. Very difficult to police crime ridden suburbs. They lack the public transit needed too.
I hate to sound socialist, but I think what needs to happen is redistribution. Gentrification has little effect the well-being of the poor. It in my mind is independent of it. Poor people aren't magically going to get rich if gentrification doesn't occur.
And its not just incomes they need. They need a base of wealth and a network with wealth. Otherwise, the only way to make money is by catering to those with wealth, then paying it back with rent.
What we need is a redistributive land value tax. This would get rid of the value of being a landlord, while equalizing wealth and land ownership in the US. If the value you provide to society gives you a higher income, then you can afford more land and pay more taxes on it.
go to a neighborhood before and after the gentrification occurs. look at the buildings and the streets and even the yards. would "improved" or "not improved" be a more apt term for what you see? i assume you'll see something like a partially collapsed roof replaced with a new roof that keeps rain out, and say "that is not improved."
population being displaced is a problem, as i outlined in the very first sentence of my previous post. however, repairing and maintaining the decaying infrastructure in those neighborhoods is not a problem. fixing broken buildings is actually a good thing.
i just think you're taking the problem and trying to apply it to other things that are happening, which are not problems.
i don't know how to fix suburban poverty. michelle obama talks about 'food deserts.' we have those around where i live. community gardens are a good start to addressing that problem, though obviously they have limits in what they can do. we don't have much for transportation. share-a-ride type services are becoming more common. there are city-sponsored subsidies as well as federal programs such as 203(k) to encourage people to fix up their property, but that hasn't gone very far. it's still expensive. probably a whole host of other things that need to be addressed, but letting roofs fall in because people can't afford to maintain their properties, or letting foundations collapse (which seems to be too common a little ways downhill from where i live), is not the best solution either. pretending that a collapsed roof is better than a maintained roof might not be the most positive or helpful outlook.
changed my mind. i do know how to fix it. jobs and living wages. if everyone had some of that, it would go a long way towards reducing the harmful effects of gentrification.
Curt, we are talking about Brooklyn not east St. Louis or Detroit. Roofs were not collapsing. The buildings were in sound shape pre gentrification. In talking about taking decent neighborhoods and turning them into fancy neighborhoods.
Look at the Barclays center. They razed a decent working class neighborhood to build high end hotels and a stadium. Then high end condos....
The (largely working class) property owners who previously resided on the Barclay's site were handsomely compensated for the property that they handed over to the developer.
Obviously population displacement is an issue but stop framing development as a per se negative outcome that does more harm than good.
And yeah that was a conspiracy. The deemed the neighborhood blighted based on a bullshit study done in 1960. It was not blighted at all. I was actually a pretty nice place to live and raise a family. Not a perfect picturesque yuppy fairy tale but a nice neighborhood. They used emminent domain to push forward a private development. State and corporate alliance aka fascism. The residents fought it and lost. Even had some architects show that what they were doing was unnecessary and destructive. The city didn't give a shit the developer was a motherfucker and greed win the day as usual.
Eventually they caved but only once they saw that they were gonna get kicked out anyway. They were only compensated because they had to be.
Residents were compensated in amounts that exceeded the value of the properties that they held. Similar issues happen with the development of infrastructure. How is this tantamount to fascism?http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/man-standing-barclays-center-plan-picket-ceremonial-ribbon-cutting-article-1.1163294
The state using eminent domain based on some dubious grounds to grab property and hand it over to a private developer at a discount for private gains... Sounds like fascism to me.
Ahhhh America. It was a good idea anyway...
"The state using eminent domain based on some dubious grounds to grab property and hand it over to a private developer at a discount for private gains... Sounds like fascism to me. "
What was the alternative? Rendering the stadium a public resource so that it can be mismanaged and ensure that the profits are enjoyed by some inefficient class of bureaucrats and public servants?
No matter the way that the development of the stadium was structured, there were going to be winners and losers.
To throw our hands in the air and claim that we shouldn't do anything to develop communities misses the mark.
@SeriousQuestion I don’t think the Barclays redevelopment would have been possible without Eminent domain clearing folks out, it is a common and now legal practice to uproot folks in the name of pirate development benefiting the greater good of the city in the name of more tax revenues (almost always offset or negated with TIF funding and tax incentives). Rarely is the true market value ever given for a home or portion of property that is being torn down. And how do you asses the value of a community, which is more than its buildings streets and stores.
They could have built it on the land the developer already owned across the friggin street! It was a huge vacant lot and was totally doable but he wanted to keep it for future speculation. It was more profitable to build on a discount lot gained through eminent domain.
They could have also not built it if they couldn't make the numbers work without relying on the state to assist them through the application of fascist practices. It's called Free Market CAPITALISM.
"Look at Berlin, Germany, where a constant re-gentrification of different neighborhoods causes rents to be low across the city. "
Maybe this was true once upon a time, but Berlin isn't particularly affordable for Berliners any more. A staggering 17% of the city population receives welfare (Hartz IV) and in desirable, newly gentrified neighbourhoods like Neukölln, 30% price increases for new rentals is the norm.
Berlin might be affordable for expats and those arriving from West and South Germany, but for many in the city, the only reason they can remain in their homes is because the state is paying for it.
i love how neighborhoods "magically" become better, just because a bunch of fucking bearded hipsters move in. think much?
I would suggest building on Beta's comment - Hipster gentrification is a polite method of "cleaning up" the neighborhood, the beard masks the face of hypocrisy just like the liberal ideals mask the true intent - white kids college campus.
---ok hypocrisy is a big word here but it had a nice ring to it.
Go on, Beta...
it's not the individual hipsters fault really. They are just hip kids who want a hip place to live. more accurately, its the consequences of this particular invasive species and a bunch of external factors. In other words, we can't blame the individual carp for invading the lake. They are just looking for food and following their natural breeding patterns. It's more of a problem that is caused by external factors. The carp just happens to be opportunistic like all creatures. That's why this issue is a difficult one. The ones that seem to bear the bearded face of blame don't feel like they are doing anything wrong, and they as individuals aren't necessarily bad people. It's a diffusion of responsibility issue. No one really bears all the blame its spread thin among lots of people which makes it very difficult to address without creating defensive reactions. The developers are probably the most blame worthy but even then they are reacting to market forces, etc.... So I'm not demonizing anyone...it's a symptom of several societal problems.
@beta - yeah - it's not like long-time residents and community leaders have been working hard for years to fix up properties, reduce crime, and bring investment, business, and (slightly more well-healed) foot traffic into their neighborhoods.
jla-X, I agree don't blame the hipsters the Yuppies or the jet-set folks who own a piece of Manhattan just for the prestige of it. But do blame them when they intentionally fail to coexist with people different from themselves who are their neighbors. This is the root of the problem in Gentrification especially the kind driven by mostly white educated hipsters and yuppies, they have privileges that are earned but at the same time unfairly denied to ethnic and racial minorities. If folks realized the importance of the neighborhood culture they were moving into and they chose to act in such a way as to not sweep all of the existing urban culture out and instead choose to build up their new community as a whole people buildings shops and all then there would be much less anger over this issue.
The tide is rising but too many boats were sent adrift in the process.
The frustrating thing about this gentrification is that there are alternatives, white folks don't have to all live in one trendy neighborhood, they can spread out a bit, they can make an effort to meet and to know their neighbors before calling in police to take care of something they chose not to understand. The image of city life portrayed in shows like How to make it in America, or Sex in the City for you Yuppie folks is not possible without tearing something out. If folks had a little patience and took the time to look for the reason instead of the impact they feel when things happen they might get along better, and they might be introduce to something they never even knew existed.
We can, I hope, Agree that city life with it's variety and huge array of opportunities is far more attractive now, I think we agree that many cities are making improvements on the vexing issues of poverty crime and corruption. Cities have a long way to go but the murder rates in major cities are way down as compared to the 60s, jobs are moving back into the city and good housing is going up but it is too expensive, housing shortages are starting to decline but low income housing is still to scarce. Cities are much better now than 10 years ago and they are holding up better than the poorly planned suburbs ever could.
How about this solution: We gentrifying force moving into previously poor neighbors develop completely new cities on cheap land in West Virginia? This way, we take our money somewhere else and don't have to deal with the guilty conscience of employing people to fix up deteriorated buildings in blighted neighborhoods and spending money in booming businesses at their once struggling store.
The reason hipsters move to blighted neighborhoods is to avoid high rents. They can take money one direction, or another. Its my theory that they prefer previously established cities because they respect the cultural diversity. But, they don't have to be there, and neither do the jobs they create.
grneggandsam you can't move to West Virginia they don't have safe drinking water.
But the irony is as young enthusiastic urbanites move into marginalized neighborhoods they undo the reason they came in the first place, affordable rent. Gays have long been plagued by gentrification forcing the community to move, in Chicago there is a serious movement to end the Pride parade in Lakeview (30 +year tradition) because it is so disruptive to the daily quiet lives of the non gay people who moved in after the gays cleaned up the houses chased out most of the drug dealers, pimps and opened shops and cafes in the empty storefronts.The gayborhood has had to shift north first to Andersenville and now Rogers Park. Rent is one factor but the community tolerating much less embracing the gay culture trannys, Drag queens, Dykes on bikes, leather queens and all is also a factor.
Too much success with out a plan to accommodate the existing and incoming folks can fundamentally change and or destroy a community.