A really interesting article about gentrification and how to confront it in new and interesting ways: [link] (via BLAST) What strikes me most about the article is this conception of the influx of young, middle-class into the neighborhood as somehow devouring the community in its wake. I live in a highly gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn that has been for at least 5 years. I don’t think that the neighborhood lacks community or culture.
Certainly displacement of low-income residents is an issue but what the article seems to do is set up a false dichotomy between those who bring culture and those who rob it. It begs the question of what the characteristics of a modern neighborhood and community are. Does “culture” — whatever that means — get defined solely by persons of a lower-income level? What is admirable here, however, is the actions of these groups like the SCEG (see the article) who take a pragmatic approach favoring action over debate. Maybe the act itself is what defines the community.
[picture via nytimesbooks.blogspot.com]
you’re right. the discussions are valid and beneficial to all parties involved as are the amelioration/semi-resistance actions… but the way they completely conflate race and class is not accurately communicating the situation… unless they wanted to talk about Whiteness v. being white, but the article doesn’t even strive to go there…. the group identity of gentrifiers is still largely white sure but their backgrounds are increasingly complicated. what’s to be said for the college grad who came from a poor neighborhood and is still white? or the wealthy person of color, for the first time encountering under-resourced person of color? where do they fit in these limited axes of understanding?
those were the first questions that came to mind.
I agree, the way they look at ‘gentrification’ is very skewed. What strikes me as the most ironic is that activist Antzoulatos doesn’t realize that he has the option to become part of the community in which he lives, that there are ways to look beyond surface divisions of race and class. There is no long-term perspective either. If the activists are just interested on keeping people out of a community, they don’t seem to see that neighborhoods, cities, communities are always changing and evolving, and that the way they looked yesterday may not be how they will look tomorrow. And that even Antzoulatos going to community meetings, and organizing in the community, are ways to form community, both with new community members and old. What would be more useful would be young people introducing themselves to their neighbors, sitting next to those people in the bar…