Gentrification: Do The Poor Really Get Poorer?

As all the authors’ works have presented this week, gentrification is a robust term used to define many phenomena presented together when a neighborhood is undergoing change due to influx of value. This value, whether attached to property or economics, significantly changes the current residents’ state of lives and how they face those challenges affects their future as well in the neighborhood, and their chance of living elsewhere. As discussed in Filip Stabrowski’s work New-Build Gentrification and the Everyday Displacement of Polish Immigrant Tenants in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the topic of gentrification is nothing new to residents of big cities like New York City. As paralleled throughout the city’s history, local residents protested and local organizations were given funds to protect those residents’ rights, but nothing could contain the rapid change the neighborhood undergone and the residents that were displaced because of it (794).

Despite these strong evidences, such as Polish immigrants even having to leave the country, Jacob Vigdor in Does Gentrification Harm The Poor? mentions that the analysis provided for gentrification proves that residential displacement “is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for declines in the living standards of poor households.” This may be true if the Polish immigrants who have returned to their homeland are financially more stable than they were in the United States, and it may be false for the other Polish immigrants who look for housing elsewhere with cheaper rent, but more spending for the cost of living. In other words, this analysis may be inclusive, it is dependent on each displaced individual and the surrounding factors of their households. Kathy Newman and Elvin K. Wily analyzes the extent of gentrification for the past two decades in New York City and found that about 11,651 people were displaced per year between 1999 and 2002, and surely the numbers have gone higher since then. As provided by “Governing”, only 9% of the New York City was gentrified overall between 1990 and 2000 but since then 29.8% of the city has been gentrified.

The poor may not be completely be supported to completely fail when facing an economic current like gentrification but they do suffer to some degree because of the underlying effects of the gentrification. “Governing” also provides a map that provides the census of gentrified neighborhoods and the neighborhoods surrounding those who are gentrified. Those neighborhoods on the outside are generally “poorer” in the sense that the median household income is lesser, but provided by other census is that they also have less businesses and therefore less resources (CityLab). Gentrification affects both directly and indirectly all neighborhoods. People who are displaced often have feelings of rejection and sadness once no longer living in the neighborhood. Gentrification affects people like Kai (“What It’s Like To Be Kicked Out Of Your Neighborhood: YouTube).




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