Let’s Talk Cause, and Figure Out Effects

Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as,”the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” Gentrification is a popular subject in today’s ever evolving society. This phenomenon is widespread, affecting urban districts around the world. However a question that has gone unanswered for far too long is, who is truly benefiting from gentrification? There are clear losers of urban renewal, low income families are pushed out of house and home leaving behind that which they held dear before the housing cost influx. The Upper class dominate the poor, benefiting from their cultural influence and claiming their artistic behavior.

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One cannot discuss gentrification without mentioning the rise in housing costs. Rather than physically moving communities, gentrifiers use housing prices to ward off unwanted lower class men. Those affected by gentrification are primarily low-income people because they’re being pushed out of their homes forced into homelessness and moved into distant areas. Low-income people are struggling with the wealthy people coming in and pushing them out because of their sentimental attachment to their homes. The Upper Class do not see it as pushing the poor out, nor do the businesses, they see it as another way to get ahead. In the article “ More Gentrification, Displacement In The Bay Area”, Leslie Loftis states that,” In 2013 more than fifty-three percent of low- income households lived in neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures, comprising forty-eight percent of the Bay Area’s census tracts.” This quote clearly illustrates the severity of gentrification and its vast reach into communities.

One cannot discuss gentrification without mentioning the rise in housing costs. Rather than physically moving communities, gentrifiers use housing prices to ward off unwanted lower class men. Those affected by gentrification are primarily low-income people because they’re being pushed out of their homes forced into homelessness and moved into distant areas. Low-income people are struggling with the wealthy people coming in and pushing them out because of their sentimental attachment to their homes. The Upper Class do not see it as pushing the poor out, nor do the businesses, they see it as another way to get ahead. In the article “ More Gentrification, Displacement In The Bay Area”, Leslie Loftis states that,” In 2013 more than fifty-three percent of low- income households lived in neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures, comprising forty-eight percent of the Bay Area’s census tracts.” This quote clearly illustrates the severity of gentrification and its vast reach into communities.

This map above shows how the amount of wealthy people that moved from San Francisco to Oakland ,Daly City, and Richmond. High-income people are moving to these cities because they can find nice homes for the cheap price of half million dollars , compared to the 3 million it would take in the nearby city of San Francisco. This map reiterates my previous statement regarding low-income people’s retreat to rural areas. It also shows the percentage of different races moving into these areas, and as you can see there is an obvious trend.

Along with high prices, gentrification brings racial tension to the many neighborhoods it visits around the world. There are African Americans who live in these low-income neighborhoods that feel that caucasians are moving in and are taking over their communities.

cause2They are not only pushing African Americans out of their homes, they are also targeting their culture and religion. In the article, “ Oakland Culture Clash” , by Robert Gammon there is an exclusive reference to the removal of black churches, stating“The white newcomers to West Oakland are against black churches”. This is clearly a vicious and needles attack on African American Culture, a church is a place where once can have a connection with god, to disturb it is extremely disrespectful. The caucasian new comers are also attempting to uproot communities by approaching landlords asking them, “Can we buy your property?” It seems that there is more to gentrification than an economic benefit, gentrifiers are attacking low-income people purely for the sake of dominance.

Gentrification does not only appear in property values and racial tension , it also shows through food. Recently food prices have risen dramatically due to the healthy food initiative that is sweeping the nation . This is another reason for low-income people to move because they can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods and other high priced grocery stores. Since Low-income people can’t afford food they chooses to eat unhealthy food because of the high priced food. You might notice that in rural areas where the impoverished are moving, there aren’t the same high priced grocery stores that you see in Oakland and Daly City. In the article,” Food Gentrification One Way We Wage War On The Poor” , Leslie Loftis, states ” With the organic plague, what are poor people supposed to eat?”. This a very interesting question while racial tension is rising along with food costs and housing, there are less and less options available to the lower class. Those who suffer from this situation are low-income people because if they can’t afford high priced food they will be forced to look to the cheaper and less healthy alternative.

    Gentrification has caused lots of health issues. The loss of people’s homes and communities have created a rift forcing people into unhealthy situations. Gentrification has caused higher cancer, asthma, diabetes rates.  The Alameda County Public Health Department states, “Gentrification is not only changing the character of Oakland, it is literally making residents sick”. When the newcomers come in and push the previous residents out they don’t seem to care, they have no sympathy for the struggles of the lower class and how it is affecting them. With no support and imminent disease and eviction, low income people lead truly challenging lives.

         In conclusion, figuring out socially and economically who gains the most from gentrification can be a challenging task. There are an overwhelming amount of ongoing variables, making discerning the one true beneficiary nearly impossible. When beginning this research I thought that raised housing costs were the sole proprietors of gentrification, but looking closer I found that medical issues and food pricing were just as relevant. The way gentrification is affecting property values tend to be the most highlighted portion of gentrification because it is the most seen in society today. Gentrification will always continue. Knowing wealthy people are coming to take over their neighborhoods, low-income people must remain ever vigilant, waiting for the inevitable renovation of their life.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. jackgnelson says:

    Good article, it made me really think about where I stand. What do you think needs to change? I feel that that certain protections need to be put in place so people can afford their homes and food, but wouldn’t it be wrong to say that you can only raise prices in certain areas or to deny a store owner who wants to carry healthy foods?

    Like

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