Some would prefer the hood remain the hood.
For all the bluster and opposition to gentrification, it’s been more successful in revitalizing neighborhoods than government action.
Those benefits have been seen in the United States and across the pond in England, as Niall Crowley notes in Spiked.
“Politicians have long talked to little effect about regenerating the inner city, and increasing opportunity, social mobility[,] and diversity. But gentrification has achieved all this in spades,” he writes.
Empty promises from governments have been fulfilled by people moving from other neighborhoods and other cities. It’s also built up legitimate diversity along racial, religious, and economic lines. The relative affordability compared to other neighborhoods in a city promotes social mobility. After decades of urban decline, the city is desirable again.
That doesn’t mean that the process has been painless. “The chronic lack of new house-building thanks to restrictive planning laws, or the authorities’ heavy-handed regulation and licensing of bars and venues,” as Crowley notes, prevented city residents from revitalizing their neighborhoods. It also pushed up rental and housing costs that benefited the propertied.
The result of that has been for critics to view gentrifiers as harbingers of displacement, wealthier newcomers who remove long-time – and lower-income – residents from their homes. One study of gentrification in Philadelphia found that “gentrifying neighborhoods do not lose residents at a substantially higher rate than other neighborhoods” and “residents of gentrifying neighborhoods also tend to benefit from gentrification across the board.”