USA (Studies: Gentrification a boost for everyone)

1 10 2008

A hot-button issue

Gentrification has spawned emotional disputes in cities around the nation:

• In northwest Fort Lauderdale, where streets are named for the district’s prominent old African-American families, three of four new home buyers are white, according to a survey by the Sun-Sentinel. City Commissioner Carlton Moore told the newspaper his largely black constituency fears displacement, even though he says it won’t happen.

• In the predominantly Latino working class barrio of East Austin, the new Pedernales Lofts condominiums have raised adjacent land values more than 50% since 2003. Last fall, someone hung signs from power lines outside the lofts saying, “Stop gentrifying the East Side” and “Will U give jobs to longtime residents of this neighborhood?”

• In Charlotte, a City Council committee voted in December to remove language from a city planning department report that downplayed gentrification’s threat to neighborhoods. Development could uproot some people, councilman John Tabor told the Charlotte Observer “If there are people in these neighborhoods who have to move because they can’t afford their taxes, that’s who I want to help,” he said.

• In Boston’s North End, the destruction of the noisy Central Artery elevated highway promises to attract younger, more affluent new residents and dilute the traditional Italian immigrant culture.


American Thinker Article

1 10 2008

Gentrification is Good for the Poor and Everyone Else

Professor Vigdor dismisses this obstructionist fantasy, calling it the “romanticized view [that] a neighborhood is where people are born, live their entire lives.” And the reality is that the Harlem for which people wistfully yearn is a community gone for some seventy or eighty years. It is not, thankfully, the Harlem of the 1990s when sociopathic teenagers strangled the community with crack use, crime, and thuggery. It is not the decade after the riots of the 1960s when over 100,000 Harlem residents fled for the suburbs. It is not the Harlem of massive housing projects, middle-class abandonment, and plummeting quality of services, resources, commerce, and lifestyle.

Is the gentrification of older cities, changing the model from housing for the poor to housing for middle- and upper-income groups, a good thing? Research shows it is, particularly since high concentrations of housing for the poor, a “monoculture of poverty,” serves as a permanent barrier to neighborhood growth. “Housing projects radiate dysfunction and social problems outward,” says housing expert Howard Husock, Director of the Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative,