Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gentrification is a policy choice

Sorry to keep pointing this out but it's important. The rent is not too damn high because of "millenials" or because of invading hipsters opening juice bars
Much of the public narrative about gentrification is misfocused on hipsters and their plaid shirt wearing, bicycle-riding brethren.  There's some truth that hipsters are a sign of gentrification when they arrive in droves, but I think they are more likely to be an effect of gentrification, not a cause.  The hipsters get labeled as gentrifiers, but they are not OGs.  Gentrification starts when the neighborhood redevelopment plan is laid out, and properties are bought and sold.  Gentrification starts to happen when certain people already in the neighborhood start re-naming areas that already had names. Gentrification begins way before the hipsters and higher-income people start moving in.

Sure hipsters might be annoying but they are symptoms.  The problem is the political leadership and the urban design consultants they hire are only interested in building nice things for rich people.  Because this is how they all get paid.

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