Anyone want a cat?
Can I have a yellow-hanky wearin' dog instead?
I did tell you that she was wearing a yellow bandana when I picked her up from the kennel Monday afternoon, right?
How was the study group on gentrification? I've been thinking about the subject a lot because I'm thinking about moving to E. Oakland (near Fruitvale BART) with the bf... If we do it'd be into a huge, gorgeous, luxurious loft space, converted from an old art deco furniture factory. It's advertised as being in a gated community, which on the one hand makes me feel a lot more comfortable and secure but on the other hand I feel... weird. Guilty. Like I'm some sort of privileged baron living in a castle with a moat to keep those undesirable unwashed masses out. I guess I feel a little odd being a part of gentrification, I'm not sure if I should, or if I should just enjoy the gorgeous living space I'd have. What's your take on it?
While this gives analyses that are not strictly Marxist (and JCO's framework is very much so), it does hit on the major points. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification
As far as how I feel about it? I'm not a fan. The term gentrification comes from the word gentry and was first coined in the 60s to describe the phenomenon in London of lower-income neighborhoods being taken over by middle-class people.
Gentrification is pretty much always a manifestation of racism as well as classism, particularly in the States--most of the neighborhoods that are being "reclaimed" or "revitalized" are full of people of color, who, through the white supremacist lens of city governments, developers, and young, mostly-white "urban pioneers," don't actually exist and are therefore not even seen as part of a community with any kind of investment or roots in their neighborhoods.
And of course it's usually racism and classism working together that get such neighborhoods into their blighted states--between white flight to the suburbs (subsidized by the FHA for decades), deindustrialization, environmental degradation, and other forms of neglect.
Do you think gentrification in itself racist/classist, or is it the way it's described that's racist/classist? Because yeah, "reclaimed" and "revitalized" is certainly language that's couched in racism and classism... But I just wonder if the process of gentrification is something that's going to happen regardless, out of necessity. What happens when the lower middle-class people (esp. artists and students, often white) can't afford to live in the more expensive parts of town, but don't want to move to the burbs? Where can they go? They move to the lower-class neighborhoods (often with higher density of minorities)...which leads to the eventual takeover of the area by wealthier people (often white). I think maybe it's a symptom of the housing crunch as much as anything. We're running out of room.
City-sponsored gentrification is a whole 'nother ballgame... Not sure how I feel about it, either. Was talking about this with a friend the other day, how they've planted a bunch of palm trees next to the Colesium BART station. One was saying it seems like a futile, stupid gesture, and the other responded by saying that eventually that sort of thing will raise property values, which in theory will decrease crime & such... But I dunno. The people committing the crimes aren't going to stop; they're just going to move somewhere else.
I don't have any problem living in a neighborhood where I am a minority. However I do have concerns about living in neighborhoods with higher crime rates--hence the desire for a fortress if I am going to live there. (I don't mean to imply that minorities are automatically lower class -- just that the two often map to each other, unfortunately, due to the way racism and culture function in our society.) I don't know what the solution is for me. I fit neatly in the "affluent post-baby boomer professional" description. All I can really say is that I wish lower class neighborhoods were not automatically more crime-ridden. There's gotta be a better way to reverse that neglect you refer to than displacing the current residents. Then again it seems like neighborhoods with less money have always by nature had more crime, regardless of race...
"As property values increase in a given neighborhood, municipalities will typically reassess the values of properties within gentrifying communities resulting in higher property taxes for the neighborhood's long-term owners. If the owners cannot afford the tax increases, they are forced to sell" -- fuck, that's depressing.
Hello, and welcome to my white middle-class guilt. It's something I think about a lot.
Here's a suggestion: how about you stay out of neighborhoods you don't feel safe in because of the poor POC living in them? Why don't you go live in a modestly-priced white neighborhood. There are plenty of them, but hipsters don't like them because they're not "edgy" enough. And so, suddenly the danger, the filth, all the "undesirable" things about poor neighborhoods like Fruitvale become some kind of cultural currency. And the end result is that real people are displaced because someone else feels like slumming it.
This is real. This is happening. This isn't a theory.
And none of that requires any involvement from the government. It just takes a few young white people with unexamined race privilege, a sense of entitlement, and a little bit of money to destroy a neighborhood.
So, is gentrification inevitable? As long as it's inevitable that there are young white people with unexamined race privilege, a sense of entitlement, and a little bit of money, then yes, gentrification is inevitable. As long as it is more important to 20- and 30-somethings to live somewhere trendy for a while (because most of them actually WON'T stay in those 'hoods--they'll move to suburbs like their parents when they decide to have families, leaving in their wake an urban playground for the next wave of 20- and 30-somethings who won't feel anymore invested in that neighborhood than they do), this kind of gentrification will continue. And the human cost to those who lived in those neighborhoods before will continue to be high.
re: your Cliff's Notes
2007-09-27 10:52 pm (UTC)
one of the many reasons why I love brezny
there's gotta be SOMEBODY that wants that damn thing.
When do you get back again?
2007-09-27 11:49 pm (UTC)
Re: one of the many reasons why I love brezny
Get back from where?
2007-09-28 12:27 am (UTC)
Re: one of the many reasons why I love brezny
from palm springs?
So, have you spanked your evil twin yet?