Although gentrification has improved infrastructure and provided better jobs in low income communities, it still remains a form of socio-economic discrimination because it has displaced many lower income residents. In the discussions of racism and discrimination, it has continued to act as a perpetuous way to subtly displace the poor in their neighborhoods which are deemed as future financial hubs for wealthy investors and private capitalist companies for example in Brooklyn such as Green point and Williamsburg which I will be elucidating on. On the one hand lower income residents and minority races of blacks and hispanics contend that they have been displaced socially and economically whereas on the other hand, the wealthy and middle classes see it as a sign of modern urban revolution that is simply beneficial in the upgrading of poorly built neighborhoods.
My own view suggests that despite the positive influences witnessed, the poor households and members of these communities have been marginalized through the increasing rental charges and inability to afford the bare minimum of basic food and shelter which consequently have been displaced by the arrival of ‘transplants’ usually people from out of state and far away countries. This interpretation has challenged the opinions of critics who believe some races are just born poor and some genders just unfortunate which is a subconscious opinion of discrimination. Ultimately what is at stake is the losing of cultural identities and economic welfare.
Millennials normally called ‘hipsters’ in Brooklyn tend to come in pursuit of better education and to experience the thrills of the fast paced lifestyle together with the the nightlife in Green point.However they instead have displaced local polish communities with their arrival attracting newer businesses that cater to the demands of the newer general population. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought maybe interested to know that it basically boils down to the origins of the hipster movement that has exemplified gentrification. According to the ‘100 ideas that changed style’ article , “derived from the 1940s American jazz scene, hipsters and hep-cats was street slang for the underground and progressive bebop counterculture. Difference from the mainstream ways of life forced many hipsters to centers where regeneration and gentrification was about to happen for instance Williamsburg in New York city, Shoreditch in London and Shibuya in Tokyo”. However the article is mistaken because it overlooks the rising rent crisis and emergence of major tech corporations that drove out manhattanites to affordable Brooklyn where the median age is 31.
Writing in the article Gentrification in NYC Anders Norén strongly observes ” they come from places like Virginia, Maine, Connecticut and Texas and other countries like Australia and South Africa. They are young professionals incorporating their fascination with brunch and cafes into the business dynamics of Green point..” I agree that the polish communities have been alienated because as a former barista in an artisanal coffee shop, acquaintances were made with Brits, people from Israel and out of state natives yet on the contrary with very few polish natives which validated the view that intact the neighborhood was experiencing changes.
As a result, gentrification has increased the prices of rent through the real estate business which by far has seen the most dramatic transformation in Green point. these findings emphasize the evident margin between rich folks who can keep up with the steep costs of living and their poorer counterparts who have been displaced to make room. Norén himself writes in an interview ” landlords often double the rent after the long term leases are up. Although people aren’t as willing to sell their houses right away as those in Williamsburg, traditional businesses are closed down every week because people who have lived here simply cannot afford to pay the rent anymore.” Anyone familiar with this school of thought may concur that the real business is tremendously thriving from the ridiculous prices apartments cost and regardless of the place you live in, sooner or later it is either gentrified or you are unwillingly forced out.
Stricter housing policies should be implemented continuously in an effort to curb gentrification. ‘ShelterForce7: Policies that could prevent gentrification’ states that freezing property taxes to protect protect longtime residents, protecting senior homeowners and prohibiting large scale luxury development in at risk neighborhoods. The humorous “fun maps: Williamsburg judgemental maps” endorses stereotypes on each street in Williamsburg and Green point as the results of social changes embracing the neighborhood. ‘a mob bakery’, ‘craigslist apartments’, mustaches and stupid haircuts are satirically used as reminders of the hipster movement, wealthy families and the predicament of black and latino underprivileged races. Nunziatia’s theory of this funny judgmental Map is extremely useful because It sheds light on the difficult problem of socio economic discrimination.
“Very cute” some hipsters and snobby wealthy investors will say. As long as someone is willing to offer a better price for the fire of the city skyline or to live near the hottest brunch spot and pilates gym next door, then more profits will continue to thrive through new expensive apartments hence the pitiless landlords and investors getting wealthier.
To summarize, eve though gentrification seems to be inevitable, it can be regulated by reinforcing stabilization policies by the city together with local communities who should be commended for contributing to the cultural identity and emergence of their neighborhoods.
- 1. David Price 7 policies that could prevent Gentrification. May 23, 2014
- Will Nunziata Judgemental Maps. Sep 4. willzone.tumblr.com. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
- Anders Norén. Gentrification in Nyc: Rosenberg 2018 eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/
- Josh Sims, Laurence King.”The Hipster.” 100 Ideas that Changed Street Style, 1st
- edition, 2014. Credo Reference. Accessed 10 Nov. 2019