U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-27-2014, 04:55 PM
 
798 posts, read 909,392 times
Reputation: 850

Advertisements

To start off, this is not a thread on the good/evils of gentrification. This is not about how gentrification is unfair to the poor or how its a great tool of social and ethnic cleansing. If i wanted to have a back and forth on those issues/opinions, Id go butt heads with the numerous racist bigots, greedy real estate developers, and people with absolutely no form of common sense on the NYC and DC forums. Ive been there and done that many times over.

My thing is this. Whether pro or anti gentrification, its highly difficult to dispute that gentrification is an extreme form of urban renewal. Its not just mere revitilization, but its revitilization driven by the elites, whether they be trustafarians pretending to be artsy and weird (hipsters) or full blown gordon gekkos and lobbyists in training (yuppies). Since its elitist driven the change does a complete 180, transforming neighborhoods and cities from one extreme (impoverished, dangerous, predominantly minority, severely underserved) to another (wealthy, expensive, predominantly white with a handful of rich minorities, gets anything and everything). it doesnt just stop in that poor area. It tends to expand, swallowing and engulfing any affordable neighborhood in sight, which pretty much means that more stable blue collar neighborhoods, immigrant enclaves, and true starving artist neighborhoods (a lot of times theyre the first to get hit) get transformed into weatlhy elitist areas and all the prior residents get exiled, oftentimes out of the city.

If gentrifiers have their way, theyll take over the whole city and make it a checkerboard of astronomical wealth and hipster enclaves. This has proven true in San Francisco and much of NYC and just about all of DC is about to see the same fate.

Growing up, I LOVED big cities. I loved the infrastructure, I loved seeing different types of people, cultures, and all sorts of other things you couldnt find in a cookie cutter suburb or a rural area. There was a time when if you wanted certain unique things, you had to go to the city to get it (even if you lived in a suburb close by). For many years cities were refugee camps for social outcasts in smaller towns bc it was a place where it was okay to be different. The cities with good public transport were even a bigger magnet because it was a place where you didnt need a car to do everything. This was esp advantageous to the poor who couldnt afford cars. the city was different. Many cities had a come as you are attitude. And most of all, many cities offered a lot of those things @ a price you could afford.

Hipster districts dont impress me personally. I can look past the fact theyre trustafarians. I like quirky and interesting things. I like eccentric cafes and diners and whatnot. The difference is before in a artsy bohemian neighborhood, that stuff was affordable if not dirt cheap. In a hipster neighborhood your paying a arm and a leg to enjoy alot of that stuff.

Cities like NY and DC i can still visit and be fascinated if nothing else bc of the fascinating infrastructure networks. But not all cities have those. Many american cities are car dependent, so unless your on the LA or Bay area freeways, theres not much to see in that regard...but the culture and pulse of the city is what makes the place interesting. Like it or not, the working class and starving artist communities were the heart and soul of alot of these cities. All the eccentric and diverse peoples and vibes of the city are erased if a gentrification movement hits the city.

To summarize, Im not sure if thats the purpose, but gentrification ends up erasing most, if not everything that made the city a fun and interesting place to go in the firstplace. It just becomes a playground for the 1% crowd. so goes life i suppose....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-27-2014, 06:36 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,565,237 times
Reputation: 4048
Gentrification is a fairly mild form of urban renewal compared to the old kind that involved kicking everyone out and bulldozing entire neighborhoods all at once for office buildings and highways. It's no fun for the gentrified but it becomes a process of years or sometimes decades instead of an immediate act of ethnic urban cleansing.

Hipster neighborhoods start out cheap--the reason they start becoming hipster neighborhoods is because they are cheap and the hipster kids (who are poor compared to their middle-class parents, if not their new neighbors) move in so they can work part-time and spend the rest of the time going to school or creating art/music/etc., and get by without a car but still be able to get around. But once they arrive, people want to make money off them and that starts the gentrification cycle.

There are ways to slow, interrupt or mitigate gentrification--personally I don't think it is necessary for a neighborhood to remain poor and in disrepair, if only because cities are constantly changing. One of the most effective strategies seems to be mixed-income housing and mixture of building ages--gentrifiers seem to prefer being able to turn a whole neighborhood into single-family enclaves, but few people want to convert a row of 1960s Mansard-roofed apartment buildings into condos, except maybe in conditions of extreme economic pressure, like San Francisco or New York. A mixture of new and old buildings is good for urban vitality and maintaining income diversity. Protecting the old buildings is important to prevent speculator-driven development, or at least slow its effects, or direct it into the areas where it is most needed.

The alternative to gentrification is urban regeneration: gradual but steady neighborhood improvement that provides opportunities for people already in the neighborhood along with those moving to it. Not everyone will be able to stay, nor should they--the friendly neighborhood drug dealers and chop shops, for example. But the long-time residents will be the happiest to see them go if the neighborhood's repair and improvement means opportunities for their children, and not just for those swooping in to make a fast buck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-27-2014, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
Reputation: 26666
I was thinking a little about this on my way home today from the train station. I have lived in my neighborhood for roughly 10 years. Before I moved in, particularly in college, the train station was known as a sketchy one. When I moved to the neighborhood, it was a little iffy, but you definitely not the worse in the system. Our system serves lots of suburban places too, so it was less safe than suburban ones. Basically middle of the pack for the urban stations. There was a clear rule, do not go west of the station. Basically, that is where the real drama happened.

About 1/2 a mile or so from the station is a thriving commercial district, but along the way to that commercial district it was a dead zone. There were not many businesses, stuff like the dollar chinese place, crappy sushi, crappy burritos, a laundymat, and a long open korean place.

I remember looking at an apartment on the street that connects the train station to my commercial district. But I ruled it out because there wasn't much foot traffic. I ended up moving further from the station in a well-established area (I live roughly a mile from the station).

In the bast 5 years, that road has undergone a huge transformation. Hipsters moved in. Families moved in (surrounding streets have nice single family homes, and it borders an established nice family area) since they were priced out of the neighborhood next door, art school kids moved in (Art School is a few blocks away).

Before this happened, it was an integrated area with immigrants and older people, but the commercial spaces were mostly in decline.

Now there is one corner, I have dubbed it hipster corner, with a punk record store, a trendy men's clothing store, a bike shop, fancy coffee shop and a mac and cheese restaurant. Down the block a Crossfit spot is on the way near the boxing studio. A fancy beer and sausage place opened up near the cross fit place. A trendy burger place, fancy butcher, and coworkeing space are all under construction. There is also an herbalist shop, some vintage stores, and another fancy coffee shop in the neighborhood

Some of the older shops are still around. The korean place is joined by a new nicer vietnamese place. (On another note, the Korean place has spawned 3 more, the owner's kids have opened up 3 trendy Korean places in Oakland and other nearby cities). There is a Jamaican market with yummy beef patties. There is a 70 year old diner, 60 year old seafood place.

Besides the fact there are way more bicyclists (and I am now one of those biking throngs), way more foot traffic, rents are up 50%+. But even more shocking, I see crowds of hipsters walking west from the train station. They had to go deeper in because they were priced out.

So what is tricky, I moved to my neighborhood knowing it was a a good place to live with good amenities. I am happy the train station feels safer than it used to, and I feel totally fine biking home or even walking home since there are more people on the street. The mac and cheese place is really good, and owned by a pair of long time friends who are my age. But I also worry about the hipster takeover, those kids who have "Columbused" the neighborhood, pretending nothing was there before they moved in. Actually, some of those places were empty. And had been for a long time. Other buildings are new the mac and cheese spot is in a new building, but I don't recall what the old building was, I think it may have been an empty lot.

But what the real problem I have is, and this is true for all of Oakland. There are some people who are moving here, because they genuinely like Oakland, and want to be part of making it a better place but keeping the Oakland-ness (the big things people love most about Oakland are the diversity and inclusiveness. Inclusiveness is critical, as a normal Oakland neighborhood looks like a Benetton ad, all sorts of people at the same table. Plus the scrappy, let's get it done ourselves attitude). And there are other people moving in like it is the gold rush, and it is the new San Francisco, while killing all Oakland-ness.

So I totally worry, and wonder how I can do my part. I like the "real" Oakland.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,959 posts, read 3,820,755 times
Reputation: 3281
I'll play the devil's advocate here and say that gentrification is an awesome thing for cities. Gentrification means job growth or some source of wealth allocation and investment.

Sad to say it, but cities experience their greatest growth when people with lots of money are behind the agenda. Poor people living in our downtowns over the past few decades led to a rise in crime, decay, drug use, and a complete abandonment of civic development.

It takes money to build great cities. A lack of money kills cities. Sad but true, money is everything when it comes to urban growth. As much as you might complain that your favorite taco restaurant was suddenly replaced with another gastropub that serves organic kale chips, I embrace it as a sign of growth. All this "there's no soul in gentrified neighborhoods" is naive whining, in my opinion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 07:37 AM
 
798 posts, read 909,392 times
Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post

Hipster neighborhoods start out cheap--the reason they start becoming hipster neighborhoods is because they are cheap and the hipster kids (who are poor compared to their middle-class parents, if not their new neighbors) move in so they can work part-time and spend the rest of the time going to school or creating art/music/etc., and get by without a car but still be able to get around. But once they arrive, people want to make money off them and that starts the gentrification cycle.
When neighborhoods first started gentrifying it was like that......nowadays, when u see hipsters in the neighborhood, everybody pretty much says "well there goes the neighborhood"......Hipsters tend to be the forward observers of a full blown gentrification strike (whether its on purpose or not is up for debate). Where hipsters go, real estate speculators are not far behind.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The alternative to gentrification is urban regeneration: gradual but steady neighborhood improvement that provides opportunities for people already in the neighborhood along with those moving to it. Not everyone will be able to stay, nor should they--the friendly neighborhood drug dealers and chop shops, for example. But the long-time residents will be the happiest to see them go if the neighborhood's repair and improvement means opportunities for their children, and not just for those swooping in to make a fast buck.
Revitilization was something I saw alot of in the 90s and early 2000s, esp in NYCity. Many cities started CDC's (Community Development Corporations) where locals basically pooled resources and built new housing in the slums by clearing out vacant lots and building affordable townhouse style blocks. This is ultimately how the South Bronx rebuilt itself. East New York Brooklyn used a very similar formula. I remember there was a time in the late 90s early 00s where supermarkets, Target's Wal-Marts (in some cities...others didnt welcome them), chain restaurants (Applebees, Chilis, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, IHOP, etc) were setting up shop in urban enterprise zones. It brought stability to the deprived neighborhoods. The locals shopped there, ate there and in many cases even worked there (it wasnt high wage, but still). And like you said, the positive changes were something that was accesible to the struggling local people who needed access to it the most. This form of urban renewal is one I personally didnt oppose. But it seems today it has to use full blown gentrification to rebuild an area....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 07:44 AM
 
798 posts, read 909,392 times
Reputation: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
I'll play the devil's advocate here and say that gentrification is an awesome thing for cities. Gentrification means job growth or some source of wealth allocation and investment.

Sad to say it, but cities experience their greatest growth when people with lots of money are behind the agenda. Poor people living in our downtowns over the past few decades led to a rise in crime, decay, drug use, and a complete abandonment of civic development.

It takes money to build great cities. A lack of money kills cities. Sad but true, money is everything when it comes to urban growth. As much as you might complain that your favorite taco restaurant was suddenly replaced with another gastropub that serves organic kale chips, I embrace it as a sign of growth. All this "there's no soul in gentrified neighborhoods" is naive whining, in my opinion.
I wont dispute gentrifications positive aspects, esp considering its a godsend from a financial numbers standpoint. Disinvestment and greed killed the cities, as the money was diverted elsewhere. What created the crime and drug abuse is subject for another thread.

I wouldnt call it naive whining when gentrifiers move near a nightlife district, they KNOW its a nightlife district and file noise complaints (like really?????). When traditions that cities were known for (block parties, hanging out on the front stoop on a hot day, etc) get infringed upon bc elite newcomers file noise complaints or call the police......a lot of these newcomers basically try to turn the city into the same boring arse suburbs they came from.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,528,523 times
Reputation: 7830
I am confused here, I am not sure I follow the term hipster as well as it is being used here. Does the OP mean all young people or a specific type of young person?

Gentrification is also a general term, you could have old residents pushed out by it, poor hipsters, working class people. At the other far end of gentrification it is usually the high paid and trust funders that can afford to move in which aren't exactly hipsters.

In Portland I would have been classified as a hipster, but more accurately hipsters became more like me and people like me. This was great because I had places to go and people to hang out with and cute girls to date. Now I am older and married, but that culture still exists there. While it might no longer be as fun for me, there are still things I find fun to do and if anything I would be pricing out the young people that would be defined as hipsters.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 09:29 AM
 
1,161 posts, read 1,981,903 times
Reputation: 2584
Most cities would be very happy to have the gentrification problem you describe. It's only in a handful of American cities, namely NYC, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles that have the extreme gentrification problem - as defined as making the city so expensive that even the normal middle classes can't afford to live there anymore.

But the rest of American cities aren't experiencing this. Their gentrifying neighborhoods haven't made the city more unaffordable. If anything, in places like Baltimore and Philadelphia, gentrification have turned once dangerous, destabilized neighborhoods it more livable places. And both cities still have large swathes of unfashionable lower middle/working class neighborhoods that would greatly benefit from some gentrification investment.

Regardless of what you think about gentrification I'd like to point out two things:

1. Gentrification has turned certain cities - especially New York and Washington - from dangerous, decaying hell-holes into highly attractive, stable and desirable places. Would you rather have gentrified New York or ungentrified New York? In case you don't remember, ungentrified New York in the 1970s and 1990s was a dangerous, decaying and filthy place with a shockingly high crime rate that was trapping so many poor respectable families into circumstances they couldn't get out of. It wasn't that long ago, indeed, in the mid-1990s I remember a coworker shaking his head at his cousin's son buying a brownstone in Harlem! An entire brownstone! For 250,000! And we all thought he was stupid. Because, as we all knew, Harlem was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America and to be white in Harlem and not looking for drugs was as close to having a death warrant on your head as you could get in the US.

2. Cities are not, and have never been, static places. Many of the gentrified areas were once fashionable neighborhoods that declined over the years due to various factors, and are now rebounding, reverting to their old statuses, perhaps.

As with any changes, there are winners and losers. But if the overall effect of gentrification is to bring more money and more people into once deprived or suffering areas, I'm all for it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 10:26 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,565,237 times
Reputation: 4048
It's not a universal good or bad--gentrification can be good for some people and bad for others, depending on the level and stage. It's also a matter of degree--the gentrification of second-order cities (or even in Chicago and Los Angeles) is a very different thing than what we see going on in New York and San Francisco.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-28-2014, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,674,744 times
Reputation: 26666
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
I am confused here, I am not sure I follow the term hipster as well as it is being used here. Does the OP mean all young people or a specific type of young person?

Gentrification is also a general term, you could have old residents pushed out by it, poor hipsters, working class people. At the other far end of gentrification it is usually the high paid and trust funders that can afford to move in which aren't exactly hipsters.

In Portland I would have been classified as a hipster, but more accurately hipsters became more like me and people like me. This was great because I had places to go and people to hang out with and cute girls to date. Now I am older and married, but that culture still exists there. While it might no longer be as fun for me, there are still things I find fun to do and if anything I would be pricing out the young people that would be defined as hipsters.
I am talking young people of a certain type. And in the Bay Area we have both food stamp hipsters and techie hipsters with lots of disposable income. And hipster places are pretty much code words for expensive. Hence through $5 toast phenomenon. The going rate for a latte is $4 in Oakland now. The trendy beer bar has a $7 corn dog (made with organic corn and local ingredients) and their main courses are about $23. The going rate for a cocktail at most places is $10-11.

I am not particularly cheap when it comes to food,but sadly the going rate for lunch these days is about $11-13 for an entree. I starting thinking it is a deal if lunch is under $10.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top