A Positive Movement, So Why All the Backlash
By Ahmed Ahmed
Gentrification is how stagnate communities rejuvenate through investment, migration, and public resources but has many up in arms over its consequences on the people directly exposed to it.
For the past few years many neighborhoods in NYC have experienced gentrification. The streets of Williamsburg, Park slope, Green point, and Harlem have changed tremendously in just a few short months.
Old abandoned apartment blocks, brownstones, and corner stores have been remodeled to fit the current century. Major retailers grab available storefronts tenaciously.
Jobs, and marketplaces emerge in spots that for a long time had been nonexistent.
Many young folks move into neighborhoods where community populations have been on the decline, so why all the hate towards gentrification?
For many gentrification is an evil secret word for forced evictions of poorer residents for the satisfaction of the affluent white system.
They see the moving in of “hipsters” as a sign that the existing culture is getting replaced by the trendy culture.
The rise of rent, living cost, and market prices is the consequence many complain about after a neighborhood experiences gentrification.
Yet what many don’t see is the positive effects gentrification has on the existing population as well as those who move in.
Firstly, the run down old buildings that are crumbling into pieces and left for graffiti practice are turned into homes people can actually live in. Instead of struggling to find good clean housing, residents don’t have to move out just to get basic necessities.
Studies, like the one from the nonprofit Citizens Housing and Planning Council has stated that in areas where gentrification has occurred, the existing population is less likely to leave.
Land values for people who own their own property finally see a return on the investment they put into it. No longer do their land values plummet into the abyss like other parts of the U.S, but they actually increase for those willing to sell the remaining pieces of the pie.
Storefronts that use to sell just candy and newspapers become the supermarkets residents need to buy all the good they need in one place.
The luxuries of high-end brands come to places where people never thought would arrive. Mom and pop stores are able to sell their goods to a larger base of consumers who might have more to spend on a weekly basis.
Crime in areas where gentrification has occurred has decreased by a large percent. The moving in of businesses, and the influx of people forces city police to allocate more resources into the protection of these neighborhoods.
Residents who have felt neglected by city officials begin to see that their demands are taken seriously.
For the areas that have been ravaged by drugs, gang violence, and murders the move away from the old image it had before is a refresher.
The new generation will reap most from the gentrification. As neighborhoods become more affluent, resources pulled into schools, and hospitals will increase.
Educational quality increases, and students are able to become more involved in afterschool activities. These children become the leaders of the community and will continue to enact changes for the bettering of those communities.
Gentrification isn’t a movement bent on changing the racial makeup of communities; it’s meant to bring change to communities.
Despite the fear many have of gentrification, those who seek to gain the most out of it are those who instinctively act against it without proper knowledge of the facts.