The logic behind using gentrification to revive urban areas looks good on paper but is seriously flawed when it is put into action. The idea behind gentrification is to build luxury apartments that attract wealthy tenants and increase property values. The surrounding properties benefit from the increase in values, and new businesses move into the area to serve the new clientele. It all sounds like the perfect plan.
But when gentrification is actually put into place, human greed seeps in and makes the process ugly and destructive. Instead of gaining something new and wonderful, gentrification causes the loss of many integral parts of a community. When you look at it from a practical point of view, gentrification could mean the destruction of the way of life that a city has known for many years.
Gentrification causes property values to rise, which is great news for the people who own those properties. The problem is that most properties in a gentrified area are apartment complexes and homes occupied by low-income families, and increased property values mean higher rents. Once the rents go up, the low-income families are forced to leave a neighborhood where they have lived for generations.
The other issue with gentrification and neighborhoods is that something has to go to make way for these new luxury apartment buildings. Rezoning starts the process of removing residential buildings for years, and favors given to developers mean that entire neighborhoods are wiped out to make way for new, wealthy tenants.
When people talk about their old neighborhoods, it is common for the character of a neighborhood to be found in its diversity. A real neighborhood welcomes people of all ages, races, and religions to mix and create memories that will last a lifetime. Gentrification tends to only be targeted at rich Caucasians. It is difficult to create lifelong memories when everyone has the same background.
Hurting Small Business
There are two reasons why gentrification destroys small businesses in the neighborhoods it affects. First of all, when the low-income families are forced out of the neighborhood, that takes much of the workforce that kept those businesses going. Gentrified neighborhoods are normally populated by people who either already have careers outside of the neighborhood or are retired.
When areas get rezoned for gentrification, commercial zones suddenly become residential areas and those businesses are forced to relocate. Put simply, gentrification can wipe out generations of small businesses in a single swipe and leave the neighborhood with nothing.
We are here to educate Realtors, residents, and corporate leaders on the dangers of gentrification. If you want to preserve your neighborhood, then we invite you to join us and become part of our very important movement.