Robert Doyle

Week 10-Blog 8

SOCY 327-March 28, 2019

  1. Definition/s of gentrification?

“There is no universally agreed upon definition of gentrification. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it innocuously as “the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.”  (“The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland”} “A Harvard study of Chicago found that the gentrification process continues for neighborhoods with over 35 percent of white residents, and either slows or stops if the neighborhood is 40 percent black.”  (“This Is What Happens After a Neighborhood Gets Gentrified”) Gentrification is a complex issue. It seems to be the answer to improve poorer neighborhoods but unfortunately, there are problems.  There is no easy fix.  Once the renovation occurs, many of the residents can’t afford to continue to live in the neighborhood.  They bring in restaurants and retail that will attract people to come live there but the prices go up.  I had never thought about what this meant for the people living in those areas.  I thought that it was a great benefit to them, but it is not.

2.      Connection to redlining, the GI Bill, white flight, housing costs, etc.?

 Redlining is against the law, but it didn’t stop banks post WW2 from denying loans based on   discrimination.    This and the GI Bill forced African Americans to live in a certain area.  In Cincinnati, you could draw a red line around the areas to show who could live where.  In video “Gentrification Explained”, it showed signs of that only whites should live in their neighborhood. “We want white tenants in our white community.”   I hope that sign could never be allowed again.  It also showed how the housing costs rose significantly for the African Americans compared to other races for a two-bedroom apartment.  Many of the Caucasians  moved to the suburbs which had better parks and schools.  Those quotes should how truly difficult it is for people of color to get the same rights of those of the white race.  It was sad for me to see that sign on the video and to think about how hopeless it would make you feel if that was about you.

 

  1. Voices from Oakland

“People are trying to use our slang and pretend they are from here,” Melina said. They say newcomers are “Columbusing” Oakland — appropriating the city without any regard for the people who were here building community long before Oakland was the “it” place to move to. ” “Respect us if you want to be respected,” Emmanuel said.  This is a quote from siblings who grew up in Oakland and are not happy to see the changes.  It has lost the neighborhood feeling that made it special to them”   In a quote from Davies, “Welcome to Oakland, however, please respect the people and culture that have existed for many [generations] before you moved here.”    I chose both quotes because it shows that the people who were living in the original area were not treated with respect even when they remained in the area.  The voices were from many different people, but they shared the same thought.  The improvements were not for them but for those who afford it.  There seems to be a common theme about the lack of respect for the people who were part of the neighborhood prior to the upgrades.

 

 

  1. Voices from Brooklyn

According to Neil Smith, “gentrification is a more appropriate term for the process today than it was even 50 years ago–quite literally, the take-back of the city by a privileged middle class or gentry.”  This quote talked about the difference between fifty years from now.  It used to be a smaller scale, but now entire neighborhoods are being bought up.  It is more about buying when the prices are low and selling at a profit.  This comes down to the true reason which is money.  Unfortunately, it a faster process and affects many more people.

 

  1. “My Brooklyn quote”

One of the quotes that struck me was “change is good”.  This video about Brooklyn and Fulton Mall was powerful in that the people who were affected talked about the change.  I had never heard about Fulton Mall and was amazed that it was such a powerful retail mall.  It was overshadowed by the more well-known retailers.  It is not surprising that the politicians wanted to get involved with this area.  Once they realize the value, it became important. It was primarily an African American and Caribbean’s community.  This video did not hesitate to show who she thoughts the villains were in the change.  This video was truly a call for action.

 

  1. Who benefits?

“When affluent people compete with poor people for a scarce supply of housing, guess what happens? Home prices and rents go up, and the poor are pushed out. In a nutshell, that’s the formula that fuels gentrification.”  (“Who Benefits from Gentrification?”)  It is not hard to think that landlords and large corporations would benefits from this.  There is no way that poor people can compete.  They don’t have the resources or the political power to fight this.  It is very popular to flip houses and make a profit.  Large corporations can flip an entire neighborhood for their profit.  City planners do not think about who they are displacing but how it will profit their city.

 

  1. Who is negatively impacted? And how?

“Gentrification has negatively affected those races of color who could no longer afford to live in their homes.  “This is the result of decades of deliberate actions: disinvestments, redlining, predatory lending, a lack of affordable housing construction and preservation, as well as too few tenant protections.  The actions coupled with the tech-fueled economic boom, are rapidly remaking neighborhoods into places where socioeconomic diversity is decreasing” (The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland”).

  1. How are people responding to/resisting gentrification?

The Urban Displacement Project highlights three main strategies to counter displacement:  increasing tenant protections, producing more housing (in particular affordable housing, and preserving existing affordable housing.” (The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland”) I know that this is not an easy fix.  Affordable housing is one of the most necessary and will take the most money. It is not as easy for people to want to put their tax dollars into this.  I am happy to see that this project is looking at the problems.  I hope that they can succeed and provide a resource for other cities.

 

  1. Your choice

According to Neil Smith, “That all changed in the 1980s. Gentrification became a systematic attempt to remake the central city, to take it back from the working class, from minorities, from homeless people, from immigrants who, in the minds of those who decamped to the suburbs, had stolen the city from its rightful white middle-class owners.”  What struck me about this quote was the speed at which this is happening.  The other concern was the fact that we think it is okay to displace people from their homes.  It is basic assumption that your wealth can determine your value.  There is a general lack of concern for people.

 

  1. Your choice

‘Gentrification is not a force of nature, an inevitable economic trend or a preordained social phenomenon. It is the result of decisions made by real people who run institutions, seek to make profits, and are motivated by greed and power.’ (Who Benefits from Gentrification?”)  I feel that this quote sums up the concerns about gentrification.  I agree with this about real people who want profits.  If we made this problem, then we must help to solve this problem.  There needs to be more emphasize on this urban problem. We must get the message to the public to show all the facts about gentrification.  We can’t continue to just show upscale trendy areas without the down side of this.