Cities like New York City are dynamic and always changing. Each year, we see neighborhoods taking a new modern look. Gentrification is most common in urban neighborhood similar to those in NYC. It results in increasing property values, which forces small business and low-income families to be displaced. Meanwhile, as the rapid development of the city is inevitable, it is also important to understand the pros and cons of gentrification. After all, it affects everyone living around the area. Who knows, your neighborhood might be next.
Pro: Better housing and restoration for old buildings.
Before getting into the changing lifestyle and culture in neighborhoods, it is essential to take a look at the effects of gentrification on housing. With the new wave of high-income families moving into old neighborhoods, the landlords restore or repair the old buildings. So as the housing improves, the neighborhood becomes visually pleasing and more livable.
Con: Expensive housing.
Any neighborhood that undergoes gentrification automatically has rising prices on estate. This forces low-income families to move out, which is a con considering that these families also need a place to live. Pushing low-income families out of their houses and neighborhoods is devastating because they do not have the power to stop their lives from changing. It is all about the money. In the gentrification process, money talks, not people.
Pro: Safer neighborhoods.
As young hipsters and millennials with higher income move into gentrified neighborhoods, the crime rate slowly drops. The neighborhood becomes more advanced and modern with a safer environment. Unfortunately, ghettoized or low-income neighborhoods have a high rate of crime, so gentrification will bring more safety.
Con: Cultural degeneration and the extinction of small businesses.
These two cons are co-dependent on one another. The extinction of small, ethnic businesses is related with the cultural degeneration of neighborhoods. When new families move in, they bring their own cultural values to the neighborhood. Even though this might seem completely natural at first, it can be lethal to historically valuable neighborhoods, like Harlem. For example, the African American culture and the Harlem Renaissance can be easily undermined with gentrification. This occurs when small, independent businesses get replaced by big corporate brands like Starbucks, H&M, etc. As estate and rent prices exponentially grow, small businesses can’t survive. Not only do people lose their jobs, the small bookstore or coffee shop with a historical background is replaced with generic brands. This takes away from the unique cultural value of the neighborhood.