My initial misconception of Gentrification

Gentrification was a word I’ve been hearing for the past five to six years. When I first heard the word, I had a very surface level of understanding of what the word meant. Originally, I thought gentrification simply meant the advancement of low-income neighborhoods becoming more safe and cleanlier. I thought of project buildings receiving major renovation alongside the addition of new apartment buildings and a variety of new businesses opening in the neighborhood. These residential improvements would represent a beacon of hope for those who always have to constantly worry about death around the corner and have to adapt to living in horrible conditions. As a result, I was initially surprised to hear strong opposition to gentrification until when I dived in deeper to the consequences. All the residential improvements were at the expense of replacing longtime residents (predominantly minorities) who had to scratch and claw to thrive with affluent upper-class citizens (predominately White-Americans).

Now let the truth be told, I like diversity. However, gentrification is not synonymous with diversity especially when you’re replacing hard working minorities with affluent White Americans. In fact shouldn’t longtime citizens who continue to make a conscientious effort to provide for their inner circle be rewarded for their hard work they put in ? Shouldn’t they be the ones who reap the benefits of their neighborhood evolving where they can enjoy the improvements of their neighborhood after all the dysfunction they’ve been exposed to ? It would make the most logical sense instead of catering to a group of outsiders who have little to no knowledge surrounding the history of that neighborhood and what longtime residents have to go through in order to get by.

I personally feel that if you truly believe in creating a diverse neighborhood, then every new housing rental should target people in EVERY income bracket. New affordable housing should be set up where the total apartment units should be split up in where a fair percentage of units can go to low-income residents, the other portion of units can go to middle-income residents and the final portion goes to affluent/upper-class citizens. This is one of the many ways to actually create diversity in neighborhood without displacing the already vulnerable and hard-working.