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Old 02-04-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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"Gentrification" (the pejorative label used to describe the process of revitalization) is decried as terrible. But it isn't. Every neighborhood that I've seen that has be "gentrified" went from being blighted and frequently dangerous places to being incredible neighborhoods that are a draw for people of all kinds. Gentrified neighborhoods frequently become the most interest, highest mixed of incomes and lifestyles, and most lively neighborhoods in the city.

Also, think about running the tape in reverse - would anyone today favor blighting a neighborhood to increase affordability? That's what they effectively did in the 70s with those horrible housing projects that ended up killing off whole sections of cities nationally.

Ripping that stuff out, replacing it with new development that brings interest and vitality back to neighborhoods is a good thing.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:25 AM
 
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I think one of the main reasons is that people are afraid that they'll be priced out of the neighborhood, and then will end up in somewhere equally "bad" (as in pre-gentrified) neighborhood, but one where they don't have the established connections and community that they had in the original one. And businesses may fear that their rents will go up (or their taxes, if they own the building) or their existing tenant base will dry up. Plus, some people just don't like change, any change. I think gentrification can be a really good thing, but it isn't necessarily good for everyone.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Glendale, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
"Gentrification" (the pejorative label used to describe the process of revitalization) is decried as terrible.
I don't think I've seen gentrification be "decried" as terrible by anyone other than some renters and low-income housing advocates. Most people view gentrification (and I disagree that it's a pejorative label too) as a positive thing for a community, especially if the alternative is high crime, abandoned buildings, and little or no business activity.

I do think gentrification can go too far -- I think San Francisco has almost turned into a Yuppie Disneyland. But I'd take the Yuppie Disneyland of today over the Blade Runner alternative.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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I don't think the words gentrification and revitalization can be used interchangeably. I'm restoring a house in a neighborhood that is experiencing the first stages of revitalization. There is lots of room for improvement. But, it would become gentrification, IMO, if the cool 75 year-old, family-owned restaurant down the street had to close because, they could no longer afford their property taxes, or their customers were stolen by a new chain restaurant that opened next door, for example.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DynamoLA View Post
I don't think I've seen gentrification be "decried" as terrible by anyone other than some renters and low-income housing advocates. Most people view gentrification (and I disagree that it's a pejorative label too) as a positive thing for a community, especially if the alternative is high crime, abandoned buildings, and little or no business activity.
I've actually read in the average low-income neighborhood, renters only stay in one place for around two years. So gentrification might kick renters out of their neighborhood ultimately, but it doesn't kick them out of their apartment in particular - they would have been somewhere else regardless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I don't think the words gentrification and revitalization can be used interchangeably. I'm restoring a house in a neighborhood that is experiencing the first stages of revitalization. There is lots of room for improvement. But, it would become gentrification, IMO, if the cool 75 year-old, family-owned restaurant down the street had to close because, they could no longer afford their property taxes, or their customers were stolen by a new chain restaurant that opened next door, for example.
I actually use the words differently, I consider gentrification to be more positive than revitalization.

Gentrification is an organic, small-scale movement. It starts with young hip renters, or homeowners buying cheap faded glories and fixing them up. This creates some commercial buzz, which causes independent businesses to locate nearby. Eventually, more concrete yuppies get attracted, and developers get in on the action.

In contrast, revitalization is a top-down method where cities try to redevelop non-residential areas or blighted neighborhoods. It's honestly a savvier form of urban renewal. It tends to happen outside of traditional residential neighborhoods because the big plots that developers want seldom exist there. It can bootstrap a neighborhood from ghetto to upper-middle class within a few years, or fail miserably, since it's built to some degree on speculation about what the market can allow for.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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It's usually the long time locals that fight gentrification. I live in Somerville, MA and there is still quite a bit of resentment for the yuppie newcomers (aka "Barnies"), even though they are restoring dilapidated houses and making the place safer.

Another case against gentrification is the fact that many multi-family houses get converted into condos, which attracts shorter-term residents, which arguable dilutes the community with too many transients.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Florida
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The only thing "generification" does is drive up the cost of living and force the people already living there out all in the name of making it more "vibrant" and bringing only a certain "kind" of people who are considered to be better than "other kinds" of people by urbanites. In other words, people who are young, college "educated", single professionals that are liberal, artsy and bohemian. The word "sophisticated" is the code-word for this and anyone who does not fit into this type can be ostracized. The weird thing is that most people are not the kinds of people urbanists prefer.

Look at the high rise condos a lot of big cities are building now, they're all mostly aimed at a certain kind of people. The average blue collar family couldn't afford to live in something like that.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:00 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
"Gentrification" (the pejorative label used to describe the process of revitalization) is decried as terrible. But it isn't. Every neighborhood that I've seen that has be "gentrified" went from being blighted and frequently dangerous places to being incredible neighborhoods that are a draw for people of all kinds. Gentrified neighborhoods frequently become the most interest, highest mixed of incomes and lifestyles, and most lively neighborhoods in the city.
Depends on how much they "gentrify". If the gentrification is extreme enough (similar to say DC, maybe San Francisco and parts of NYC) no one except well-off people will be able to afford to live there. Not really any diversity in incomes or lifestyles.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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End game: the people who were renting there get priced out. But you can't have gentrification without that. It's not run down buildings and boarded-up storefronts that make an area bad, that's just a symptom; it's the people living there.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
End game: the people who were renting there get priced out. But you can't have gentrification without that. It's not run down buildings and boarded-up storefronts that make an area bad, that's just a symptom; it's the people living there.
That's really unfair. In many cases, it's some of those same people who help to bring about the change! Nothing like repaying local community activists for their hard work by jacking up their rents and forcing them out, but that's what frequently happens.
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