Gentrification and displacement is a heated subject among many urbanists in the country. For a long time gentrification has been regarded as the exploitation or for that matter, colonization of the poor by affluent white persons. In other perspectives, gentrification can be considered as a rehabilitation program for the people living in impoverished neighborhoods across America. It can be regarded as a natural process of change and the transformation of neighborhoods. It is important to consider the pros and the cons that come along with gentrification and displacement; these two key topics have a complex link that confuses many. This paper is going to focus on the negative issues that arise with the moving of people to less impoverished neighborhoods (Bone & O'Reilly, 2010). The focus will be in Jackson Heights in New York.
Jackson Heights historically was designed to be an upper-middle-class residential community. The community was to comprise of apartment buildings and individual homes that would accommodate a large population of people on the rising edge. The estate was deigned to comprise of tennis courts, social amenities, schools, library, post office and worship centers. All the design frameworks stood the test of time until the onset of the 21st century that life changed in Jackson Heights. The current state of affairs comprises of impoverished neighborhoods, high crime rates, excessive drug use and social ills like high rates of sexual activities. The transformation that progressed with the passing of time has led to calls for gentrification (Dreams of Place: Housing, Gentrification, and the Marketing of Space in El Barrio, 2005).
Gentrification in Jackson Heights has been opposed strongly by the residents; it is regarded as a displacement strategy of the black communities. There is a deep-seated animosity for the gentrifiers and the displaced. It is important to take a look at the possibilities of these population that is gentrified are moved to even worse neighborhoods than the communities they were prior to gentrification. A closer observation of the effects of gentrification, one ca notice the negative sides of the movement.
It is important to consider the rising costs incurred by the gentrified in their neighborhoods. The poor people living in these new environments cannot afford to pay up for the amenities required in these homes. These costs are felt by all and sundry who have been gentrified. It is important to understand that the people living in their initial neighborhoods had a mechanism to solve their financial situations. Gentrification leads to the close of business places, this means that business owners have to move their property to different locations and start over afresh; it is considerably difficult to establish a fresh business in a new residence, and this fact is not considered by the individuals.
Taking another scenario, the people living in impoverished neighborhoods can come together to take actions that can help improve the quality of life in these communities? Taking this scenario the communities are able to contribute cash in order to absolve the ills in their neighborhoods (Kasinitz, Bazzi, & Doane, n.d.). It is needless to move individual from Jackson Heights to other regions while it is possible to have them organza calls for action for improvement of their environment.
The displacement of individuals from the communities they initially lived in has an impact on the financial position. The units that people are moved in are usually unregulated; it is important to understand that the rent payments skyrocket once people have moved in. The mass movement of people into new residential blocks means a rise in demand for homes. The market forces set in leading to an increase in the rates of rent. Most of the people living in these new settlements are not financially stable. The people are either unskilled or semi-skilled, and their skill level only allows them to earn the minimum wage. The inflation of rent leads to the accumulation of debt (Macey-Dare, n.d.).
Increased Crime Rates
Crimes are synonymous with poverty. The gentrification of people to newer neighborhoods means increased expenses. The neighborhoods that people are moved into has a past of high crime rates. When new people are moved to these residents it means that the societies move into these neighborhoods, they are at the risk of attacks (Slater, 2009). The safety of the elderly and the young is put at risk with gentrification. In any case, gentrification does not mean a better life for the residents. If the life of an individual is at risk, then gentrification loses meaning.
Decline in Academic Performance
Young children and high school students have been observed to drop in their academic scores soon after a shift to a new neighborhood. The young have difficulties in adopting to the new lifestyles of the new schools they are enlisted to. Understanding that the shift from one academic institution to the other leads to a whole level of adaptation. Formation of social relationships and also the dogma of a lower socio-economic status in school. The result of jeers and fingers pointing leads to lowered self-esteem among children and hence leads to low academic performance among many.
High and Intense Adolescent Sexual Activity
The rates of irresponsible sexual activities among the youth increases with displacement or gentrification. Sociologist Robert Sampson noted that sexual activity and other risky behaviors for adolescent had increased. Such problems arise with the shifting to newer communities that are not any different from the initial place of residence. As a matter of fact, the new residents are under-resourced, and violence is still the order of the day. It is imperative to note that the communities living in these locations are not rehabilitated in any way. As for the adolescents, they end up intermingling with newer people with different conceptions and ideologies. The chances of them indulging in unprotected sexual activities increases. The results to this are diseases and unwanted pregnancies (Slater, 2009).
Displacement of people is another risk that comes with gentrification. The people who are not able to pay up the rents in the newly gentrified communities are at the risk of being ousted out of their homes. The increased cost of living and increased property tax has made some people to step up their financial outlook (Bone & O'Reilly, 2010). The people who are not able to meet the new demands usually face eviction from their homes. It is a difficult matter when one tries to look at gentrification from this perspective.
Gentrification and displacement can be termed as synonymous. The agenda of white supremacy arises in the 21st century due to such actions by the affluent white community. The debate still remains unsolved as to whether gentrification is a solution or a destroyer of local communities around New York State. The loss of preserved social and historical background that comes with gentrification is a major reason for the intense opposition from the local communities.
It is important to understand that gentrification comes along with negative social ills that befall once organized community. Increased displacement, high rates of drug use, high crime rates and poor academic performance among children in school are uncalled for. Gentrification can be regarded as a project that seeks the betterment of neighborhoods, but it is still vital to assess the places that people would be relocated to. A consideration of the crime rates, the regulation of rents, the availability of social amenities and schools should be highly factored in. In many cases of gentrification, people have raised complaints about their new places of residence and these concerns should be looked into in order to absolve the problems of the local communities.
Bone, J. & O'Reilly, K. (2010). No place called home: the causes and social consequences of the UK housing abubblea. The British Journal Of Sociology, 61(2), 231-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-4446.2010.01311.x
Dreams of Place: Housing, Gentrification, and the Marketing of Space in El Barrio. (2005).
Kasinitz, P., Bazzi, M., & Doane, R. Jackson Heights, New York. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.149448
Macey-Dare, R. Litigation Cost Strategies, Settlement Offers and Game Theory. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.989211
Slater, T. (2009). Missing Marcuse: On gentrification and displacement. City, 13(2-3), 292-311. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604810902982250
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