Gentrifiers focus on aesthetics, not people. Because people, to them, are aesthetics.
Proponents of gentrification will vouch for its benevolence by noting it “cleaned up the neighbourhood”. This is often code for a literal white-washing. The problems that existed in the neighbourhood - poverty, lack of opportunity, struggling populations denied city services - did not go away. They were simply priced out to a new location.
That new location is often an impoverished suburb, which lacks the glamour to make it the object of future renewal efforts. There is no history to attract preservationists because there is nothing in poor suburbs viewed as worth preserving, including the futures of the people forced to live in them. This is blight without beauty, ruin without romance: payday loan stores, dollar stores, unassuming homes and unpaid bills. In the suburbs, poverty looks banal and is overlooked.
In cities, gentrifiers have the political clout - and accompanying racial privilege - to reallocate resources and repair infrastructure. The neighbourhood is “cleaned up” through the removal of its residents. Gentrifiers can then bask in “urban life” - the storied history, the selective nostalgia, the carefully sprinkled grit - while avoiding responsibility to those they displaced.
Sarah Kendzior - The peril of hipster economics.
Well this is convicting.
Rest in peace, Ms. Stritch.
Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2002). Every time this show comes on PBS I am glued. Her performance is captivating.
BRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro : The moon descends behind the statue of Christ the Redeemer — lit with the colours of the Brazilian flag — atop Corcovado hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014, day in which Germany and Argentina play the final of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA