The dreaded G-word has been tossed around much lately, from San Francisco’s Google bus blockades to Spike Lee’s whip-smart knowledge dropping at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Gentrification is sweeping the nation, stirring up a hornet’s nest of rationalizing and resistance alike. Coast to coast, we’ve got a problem on our hands. This is especially true here in Rip City.
Despite what the “smart growth” urbanists and developers appearing on NPR will tell you, there is no benefit to gentrification. Those who argue there’s a good side are likely deliberately to trying confuse revitalization with gentrification. To be clear, the term gentrification is derived from the word ‘gentry’, which literally translates as ‘upper class’. Improving a neighborhood for those who live there is not gentrification. Improving a neighborhood solely for a wealthier class who will replace the existing residents is what we’re talking about here, and it is not some unintentional byproduct. Claiming that a gentrified neighborhood has ridden itself of crime or poverty is absurd. You’ve only moved the poverty somewhere else while ignoring the economic causation of crime.