The New Gentrifier Tactic: Copy Climate Change Deniers

It seems for every critique of today’s monied urban revival there’s another paid life-style columnist arguing why gentrification should be cherished, if they even admit gentrification exists at all.

Gentrification isn’t happening, but if it was happening, it would be a good thing.

That was the crux of a Slate article last year that prompted many well-written rebuttals. This kind of double-think has served climate change deniers well: pretend the crisis doesn’t exist, but if it did exist, it would be fine and good and certainly nobody’s fault (it’s just the will of the free market, after all).

Deniers of global warming counter scientific data showing Earth is getting hotter with anecdotes involving snowballs on the floor of Congress. They claim since there’s no crisis and mankind will be just fine, therefore the ‘alarmists’ as they call us are simply forcing Freedom lovers out of their Freedom-Mobiles to eat Commie vegetables served by gay Mexican lunch ladies.

Don’t worry about class struggle, go back to tweeting about your French press.

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The neoliberal urbanists promoting gentrification are smart enough to know climate deniers are liars, but evidently they’re paid well enough to copy their tactics all the same. Which leads to the other mind-fuck they’re willing to steal from climate change deniers:

Gentrification has always been happening, therefore it can’t be bad.

This one gets also used ad nauseum by climate denialists who like to pretend weather and climate are the same thing.

Yes, it’s true, cities are always changing, but urban change doesn’t equate gentrification any more than weather equates climate. Only those new developments meant to draw in wealthier residents who in turn price-out its existing ones can be truly called gentrifying. Unfortunately, that’s in fact the goal of most developers.

Those pushing developer utopia narratives want to conflate all new urban construction – or any new shop opening up – as being gentrification. Therefore, gentrification has always been among us and we should really stop complaining about people losing their homes.

Just as those displaced by skyrocketing rent and ‘no-cause’ evictions are economic refugees, so too are those fleeing rising sea levels or desertified farmland. It’s the relentless pursuit of capital that’s the source of our climate crisis and housing crisis.

So the next time you click on a CityLab or Guardian Cities or Next City article spinning metropolitan renaissance as beneficial to the greater good no matter who gets trampled on, remember who they’re emulating.

The same denialists who endanger the earth by ignoring the causes of climate change are inspiring real estate bloggers writing to sell you that pricey apartment above the new cappuccino galleria, or to at least make you feel not so bad that you can’t afford one any more.

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