Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Gentrification

Okay, the quote is from a comment posted today on the In Shaw Blog.
"If you're forced out, you just have to deal. There're plenty of affordable areas just a couple of miles away anyway. What's the problem with that?"

There are lots of problems with that. First, affordable areas aren't always "just a couple of miles away". The individual or family that's forced out may end up a good distance from their original home. Second, residents who are forced out aren't just leaving their home. They're leaving everything that makes up the fabric of that community: from the friends and neighbors they socialized with to the schools, classmates, and teachers their children cared about. Finally, the community loses whatever the residents contributed. Things that newer residents may or may not provide.

Yes, neighborhoods change. It's part of the cycle that cities go through. City dwellers have to accept that part of urban living. These changes usually bring both good and bad. When the people who kept the community going during less prosperous times are priced out, that's definitely bad.

5 comments:

Lonnie Bruner said...

I claim that quote, so let me defend it.

"First, affordable areas aren't always 'just a couple of miles away'." - Have you ever been to Langley Park? Hyattsville? Most of PG County? Your statement is flat incorrect.

"Second, residents who are forced out aren't just leaving their home. They're leaving everything that makes up the fabric of that community: from the friends and neighbors they socialized with to the schools, classmates, and teachers their children cared about." - It's not like their leaving causes there to be no fabric left, it's just a different weave. And as I said before, they don't have to move too far, so it's not like they can't visit their old friends and community. They aren't being forced out to Tajikistan or something.

"When the people who kept the community going during less prosperous times are priced out, that's definitely bad" - Keep the community going? "Less prosperous" sounds like a euphemism for "ghetto". So you're basically lamenting the fact that people who kept the ghetto going for decades have to leave because the neighborhood's economy is improving. Strange ...

dc gal said...

I'd love to comment on all Lonnie's points right now but in the interest of time, let's talk about the first one.

The cost of living in PG or anywhere for that matter is more than the monthly rent or mortgage. Let's use a couple my friends as examples.

Friend one lives in Mt Ranier, which is in PG County. She is having financial trouble due how much property taxes have risen there in the last few years.

Friend two lives in a house sharing arrangement in DC but would like to move. She has considered Hyattsville as an alternative to DC. She's found that the places she can afford aren't walking distance to Metro, which needs to get to her job as she's never owned a car.

Lonnie Bruner said...

Life isn't fair, people.

dc gal said...

Ah, we finally agree. Life ain't fair.

Q'tyashia said...

No. Life is not fair for the working poor and to be very candid, Blacks. I would like to indulge you in the historical context of blacks in the District and how this have SET and perpetuated a systemic structure that forced the downturn of this community however I don't have the time to educate those who have the resources and are unable to do so themselves or in just mere denial and refuse to learn about the chronological contexts that have placed certain groups at a disadvantage. Yes many of us have and do succeed and no all are not "in the ghetto" the matter of the fact is that most are because it is not easy when you are born into a society with restrictions...but lets not tread down this path. In terms of community and economic development, they are going about the wrong way with the gentrification of washington dc. I don't want to argue about how far people are moving the point is, why the hell do they have to move....why not take simpler steps and develop a social system that can rehabilitate these communities, integrate and diversify them (yes we do not mind diversity if it doesn't threaten to move us all out) by rehabilitating interaction amongst communities and their members, and investing in redevelopment as opposed to forcing them out and having their children be moved to another unstable neighborhood because we are not able to provide them with affordable homes that are in decent neighborhoods...why not work and develop this neighborhood for the existing members who are willing to participate....WHY WE ASK? Selfishness and mere ignorance, disrespect and losers (not the word i prefer to use right now) who say that we deserve what we get because "Its Life" well unfortunately we do not live the same life but if we did I would be grateful that wi do not think of my fellow citizens in a manner where I would tell them to DEAL because its life...no its our life most of our lives and has been because of selfish people in a selfish country... who do not care about some families and their innocent childrens stability but instead their investments.