Currently,the newest trend in popular cities is the changing and renewing of the lower incomeareas. This has become one of the most important development and societalchallenges worldwide. Today, around 54 percent of the world’s population livesin or around urban areas. Gentrification is becoming a popular movement in citiesall over the world. This term can be defined as the something that can benefit orruin the lives of so many different people. In this essay I will discuss the differencesin point of view in the current areas in the United States that are being affectedby this change. Peoplein the United States have been studying and researching the topic of gentrificationsince the early 1990s.
Professors like Sharon Zukin, Stacey Sutton and other importantvoices of the current times have many different opinions on this topic. Gentrificationcan be defined by Merriam- Webster as “theprocess of renewal and rebuildingaccompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deterioratingareas that often displaces poorer residents. (Gentrification, Merriam-Webster).
StaceySutton gives a more update definition of gentrification, she says that “The termgentrification refers to processes by which higher income or higher statuspeople relocate to or invest in low income urban neighbourhoods… in doing sothey inflate property values, displace low income people and fundamentallyalter the character and culture of the neighbourhood. The most kind of adverseof act of gentrification is displacement.”(Sutton, 2015). Stacey Sutton sees it as a negative thing, saying thatfundamentally gentrification is a social justice problem. With this being said thereare also other people’s examples of gentrification as a negative change. Basedon this definition by Sutton, it can be seen that the poorer people seem to be vulnerableto the negative impact of gentrification. For example, they have to pick up theirlives from their normal residential areas to relocate to new ones, where theyhave to start a new life or new beginning and where conditions of living are sometimesworse compared to the communities they once lived in.
Furthermore, as the poorerpeople have to move to a newer residential area, the people often have to changetheir workplaces because they are no longer able to afford covering the transportationcosts, scheduling difficulties, and the cost of living may increase.Anothernegative view of gentrification comes from a professor named Sharon Zukin. She wrotea book using specific examples from New York cities and neighborhoods within NewYork that are becoming affected by the changes in culture and the diversity of thoseplaces. She focuses on how New York has an ugly side which is a result of the peoplewho have more resources coming into the neighborhoods and stripping the lower-incomeresidents of their lives. Zukin states that “As theinflux of upper-income or affluent people impose their culture on the neighborhood,lower-income residents become economically and socially marginalized. This canlead to “resentment and community conflict that feeds racial and classtensions” (Zukin S., 2010). With that being said, she also draws some attentionto the declination of culture consumption.
Zukin brings to life some interestingpoints about culture. In most cases culture is a very important part of the historyof the cities. Without culture you would have empty lives. Culture allows you tobe expressive and shows the importance of the city and how the people can be influencedby the upbringing. Ruth Glass, the British sociologist who firstintroduced the term in 1964, she foresaw the events taking place in a big city likeLondon. Her opinion was also a negative approach on the developments of the times.In her book she wrote “One by one many ofthe working-class quarters have been invaded by the middle classes…Once thisprocess of ‘gentrification’ starts in a district, it goes on rapidly until allor most of the original working class occupiers are displaced, and the wholesocial character of the district has changed.” (Ruth G.
, 1964). This can beseen in both New York and London. Glass and Zukin saw that these kind of socialeffects can’t be measured by numbers but rather by the growing opposition of gentrification.Peopleare affected by this not only financially but physically as well. For example, RebeccaSolnit said in her article “Death bygentrification” that gentrification can be fatal. Solnit used a real life exampleof a Latino man killed by police just by the way he looked.
In her article she claimsthat the San Francisco man died because the man was seen as an “menacingintruder in the place he had spent his whole life. San Francisco is now a cruelplace and a divided one. 83% of California’s homes, and 100% of SanFrancisco’s, were unaffordable on a teacher’s salary. Displacement hascontributed to deaths, particularly of the elderly”, (Solnit,2016) wrote Solnit.Giventhe examples from the professors and journalists we can come to the conclusion thatthe “gentrification” is really affecting the people of today. Not only are the higherincome people affected but most importantly the people from the lower income livesare being turned upside down.
Questions have been proposed of now what? What isgoing to happen to all the lower income people and families? Lower income peopleface many more problems. Since they have a lack of a place to call home, crime ratesare starting to increase. This too will affect both lower and higher income people.Another problem that can occur is lack of drive and education in the youth. Theyare being forced out of communities and pushed into systems that do not cater totheir needs. The urban development is vulnerableto the growing impact of gentrification. This process of gentrification emergesunder the impact of a few factors to which include economic and social ones andthe process of globalization.
This may stimulate consistent changes in urbandevelopment as well. In addition, the process of urban development can sometimeslead to socioeconomic and demographic changes, provoked by the gentrification.Gentrification has becoming an emotionallycharged term. In conclusion, it seems that gentrification is actually a seriousand sometimes fatal issue.
Based on the events that have taken place in the last20 years, it seems that this issue is continuing to grow. Although it is more activein bigger cities of today, you can see that it can take control of any culture.With time and the increase of the upper class continuing to take over the lowerclass people this issue will always be present.
In order to rebuild and redefinethe cities that are at risk you must take into account the people of the citiesand the culture. Neither of the two can be neglected otherwise there will alwaysbe conflict. References:Gentrification.(n.d) Retrieved January 11 2018 from https://www.merriam-webster.
com/dictionary/gentrification.Ruth, G. (1964). London: Aspects of Change(Ser. 3).
London: MacGibbon & Kee.Solnit, R. 2016. “Death by Gentrification:The Killing That Shamed San Fransisco”.
In The Guardian.Sutton, S. (2015, January15). What We Don’t Understand About Gentrification.
Retrieved December 28,2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqogaDX48nIZukin, S. (2010) Naked City: The Death andLife of Authentic Urban Places