GSU: Gentrification State University
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Politics and Activism

GSU: Gentrification State University

Mark Becker listen to us.

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GSU: Gentrification State University
Patricio Rojas

gentrification

noun gen·tri·fi·ca·tion \ˌjen-trə-fə-ˈkā-shən\

  1. : the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents

Everyone wants a new apartment complex, and shopping district. We all love the artsy aesthetic of the Atlanta Beltline.

However, we seem to forget one very important consequence to these actions, displacement.

Recently at Georgia State University our campus, along with our student body, has grown considerably. Mark Becker, the President of Georgia State University, seems to not understand displacement as he signed to buy Turner Field's land to completely gentrify the surrounding area. The community that will be severely affected by this decision is Peoplestown.

Mark Becker has planned to build a football field where The Ted once stood. According to an AJC article, Turner Field Holds Future for Georgia State, Neighborhood:

"The project also would include instructional facilities, private student housing, apartments, single-family residences and retail. Also planned is a 1,500-seat Georgia State baseball field at the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium"

Another option would also be to build the football stadium near the sight and then convert the old stadium into more campus locations for the school and a mixed-use type development.

So, how does this affect us, you may ask. Well according to the same AJC article, 70% of the property will be owned by private owners and this means it will return to tax rolls. Right now, the land is not taxed and it is owned by the government.

Gentrification in Atlanta did not start here. However, Atlanta has been expanding in several ways in the past decade or so. Many people of Atlanta love to walk and ride their bikes on the belt line. The belt line has expanded with the city, and the goal is to get it to span all the way around the city.

Originally certain areas of the belt line were intended to have affordable housing. However, this plan was put into the hands of private developers, and they built luxury townhomes instead.

When Turner Field is finally renovated to be a part of Georgia State the cost of living will skyrocket as well leading to people not being able to afford their homes any longer. If Mark Becker agrees to sign a CBA, community benefits agreement, however, the people of this community will be able to keep their homes.

A Community Benefits Agreement: ("CBA") in the United States is a contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer that requires the developer to provide specific amenities and/or mitigations to the local community or neighborhood.

An organization at Georgia State University known as USAS, United Students Against Sweatshops, has taken the initiative to be a voice for the people of Peoplestown. Recently they have performed a few actions to get the attention of Mark Becker, and they want to inform the people of GSU to become aware of how their tuition money is being used.

USAS has recently made a lot of noise in the community, and the President is very aware of their presence in the matter. They have done impromptu sit-ins at the Honors College, and other actions including one at the Board Of Regents meeting, a protest at the GSU homecoming parade, and the student-alumni dinner.

Mark Becker refuses to speak to anyone on the matter, and the community of GSU is blind to the fact that he is pulling this stunt on the citizens of Atlanta. I have talked to countless students who think what is going on is harmless. By signing the CBA we can realize the benefits of developing Turner Field without hurting our neighbors in the process. Everyone will be able to get what they want once Mark Becker is willing to compromise.

For more information on the CBA and the efforts of the community click the links below:

Turner Field Coalition Platform: http://www.turnerfieldcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/TFCBC-Platform.pdf

Housing Justice League: http://www.housingjusticeleague.org

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