Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gentrification Research Results Perplexes Academics

Gentrification is such a nice, hot phrase for liberals to enjoy while simultaneously decry for ruining city slum authenticity. It is not like rich conservatives are gentrifying those areas. Simple reviews of vote history in elections by census tract can show the media progressives how they are just attacking the hands that pay for them. Academia even has a nice myopia or selective amnesia about gentrification. How else can one explain this piece of work.

Immediately, the writer does not notice the circumstances of recent decades where the gentrifying cities suffered sharp declines ans white flight qhile being followed by the FIRE economy real estate bubble. The Sun Belt cities had no gentrification because they experienced their growth in the post-WW2 era as those old, bordering bodoes of water experienced decline. Sun Belt cities had no zoning law red tape and cheap land. Rust Belt cities held on a bit longer due to manufacturing sticking around as an economic force longer there than in the older port cities. For liberals who celebrate diversity, they miss diversity of economics, history and land.

Comedy continues as the writers note research finding that gentrification is very dependent on the percent of black inhabitants with 40% a magical line. It might not just be "explicit racism" but other factors. Here is an idea: maybe it is crime statistics for the area. Maybe there is a sweet spot where real estate values are depressed by the crime and blight in the area but the crime and blight might be more manageable with an increased poloce presence. Do black gangs operate in 65% black neighborhoods but have less of a footprint in 30% black neighborhoods? Just asking before I label gentrification scouts racists.

The researchers find that gentrification does not have spillover effects for bordering neighborhoods. Anyone who has walked in a major Northeastern city knows this. It is an archipelago one navigates for safe zones. These academics and the writer have the foolish mindset that if you paint the cage pink, the pit bull will change. The idea inserting people with wealth into an area will help surrounding areas is an ancient one from the bygone era of ethnic city neighborhoods. Neighbors that all sent kids to the same schools, ate the same ethnic foods, went to the church and were a connected unit. Twenty first century gentrification is made up by wealthy or adventurous pepple who love the architecture, the location, the idea of living in the city or returning. There is no connection because it brings the atomized suburban experience to the city.

Looking at gentrification as an economic and lifestyle selection on the part of big money developers and urban, knowledge workers strips the stupidity from these academics' assumptions. This is not organic neighborhood building with a bonding drive. It is a homo economicus decision for one's lifestyle. It is about money, their money. If the natives do not adjust or do not feel the financial benefits, then tough, sell and move out. Gentrification is not evil amd it is not a solution to improving the plight of the urban poor. A return to the old neighborhoods in American cities is a fantasy. It might not improve the lives of the urban underclass but gentrification at least improves the quality and utility of the prime real estate in our knowledge economy hubs.


peterike said...

Gentrification is simply the racism of "look at what I do, not at what I say." Very few Progressives want to be the first into a black neighborhood. That takes guts (on the other hand, it was very easy for blacks to enter white neighborhoods for the most part, absent a few tight ethnic parts of the Northeast).

But of course, as soon as the neighborhood is not-quite-that-black, then they're all showing up. But how many cities is this really happening in? New York, of course, is the poster child for gentrification, but then New York has been selected by the elites as their core American playground (as London is in Europe). And through various means, New York has managed to tame a lot of its black population. It's not Chicago. It's not Philly.

Where else is gentrification happening at scale? San Francisco? Well that's the elite playground on the West coast. And DC, of course, which is the elite's Mordor.

But overall, I'd say the vast majority of large to mid-tier cities in America are probably getting worse, with white male economic prospects continually eroding, with blacks spreading out, the endless Hispanic invasion, and countless Asians spicing up the mix. But we can't talk about cities getting worse, because that basically means white neighborhoods are being eaten away at the edges, and often eaten up from the center when Section 8 roach hotels show up. And nobody cares about white displacement.

Some people on the let's-just-say-generic-Right like to posit doom and gloom for cities like New York. I'm of the exact opposite opinion. New York will be the last habitable city left in America.

peterike said...

Here's a humorous interlude, apropos of this week's theme of Black America.

This story really sums up the state of a significant portion of the negro population.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. I live in a nice neighborhood in Philly and experience the suburban atomization. The only people with community are immigrant groups and what is left of the Italians.

From my observations in Philly,gentrification goes something like this...

Take a black hood with heroin/drugs and abandoned homes. Young, white heroin users go there. Some of them are are punks / art weirdos / train-hoppers, but the primary interest is drug abuse. Most are apolitical, nihilist, or anarchist-in-name, but they lay the groundwork for the radicals to follow.

They find a good place to squat, through resourcefulness and having lots of free time. The place has electric that hasn't been turned off, but no water. They eat out of dumpsters, not as a political act, but because they are hungry.

Suddenly, there is a home-based in the hood, and other punks, less drug addicted, move in. These are the front-lines of progressivism. The useful idiots of gentrification. They are mostly anarchists, all-black clothing, facial tattoos, piercings. Crusty punks. They eat out of dumpsters as a political act, not because they are hungry.

This scene brings the punk shows. They happen in basements, in rock-bottom rental houses. 30 to 50 kids on average. The attendees travel on bikes made from stolen parts and the music can be heard for a block radius. But the blacks who live there hate the cops so much they don't call. Some are friendly with the weird white kids, some are used to noise at all hours.

Once this scene is happening, it's time for the safer, suburban punks come in. Still rough and dangerous, but probably from families that weren't totally fucked up. Maybe they were on their own at 18 instead of 15 like the crust punks. They have jobs, serious drinking problems, and are less ugly. They love the cheap rents (as low as $200/mo today) and the authenticity of living in a giant, dilapidated home.

And now, the edgier hipsters. The kids who still talk to their moms and dads once in a while. Some are pretty. Some went to college. Yeah, they smoke weed on their porch. They go to Occupy. They work at non-profits and spend time at rallies, protests. Their OkCupid profiles say they are concerned about Social Justice and Patriarchy. They make their own sauerkraut and kombucha.

Wow, what a vibrant, diverse neighborhood! White college grads hitting their vaporizers and overweight black section 8-er's smoking dirt weed. They hang out on their porches sometimes and chat. Some of the more gregarious black guys befriend the hipsters, which is fun and sometimes means free weed and beer.

The neighborhood is now 40% white. Safe enough for the non-activist hipsters who want to live in an authentic neighborhood. The causal college grads who vote democrat by default and don't think a lot. They like the weird cheap ethnic food nearby and think they "totally discovered this great neighborhood"

The heroin addicts have already moved on to the next place. The punks spray-paint "GENTRIFUCKS" on the coffee shop. Blacks are slowly priced out of the neighborhood.

The word is out. Yuppies start buying up $100k homes, doing $150k worth of renovations. It's all over.

Anonymous said...

Detoilet is the future of Amerikwa comrade. Yes we can...transform into Zimbabwe.

nikcrit said...


Were you putting us on with that treatise on gentrification? or did you sincerely submit something that ridiculous?

Steve Johnson said...

A return to the old neighborhoods in American cities is a fantasy. It might not improve the lives of the urban underclass but gentrification at least improves the quality and utility of the prime real estate in our knowledge economy hubs.

This is what controlling the narrative really means.

There isn't a word for this idea. You can't talk about the benefits of anything unless it has a positive effect on progressive pets / attack dogs.

Doesn't improve the lives of the underclass and wasn't "intended" to? Then it's not good. All good things can only be justified if they can be spun to improve the lives of urban blacks or if it "promotes diversity". This is what moldbug is referring to when he says "America is a communist country with NAMs as the 'working class'".

Anonymous said...

To the original Anonymous: That was brilliant! I live in Seattle where the gentrification does not quite follow that gradual and nuanced storyline, but I could absolutely see that progression happening in some places.

Thanks for a wonderfully descriptive narrative.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous in Philly. If what you say is true, that just proves that Gentrification is not a "one size fits all" situation.

Here in Chicago, African-American neighborhoods never gentrify. It's almost always Hispanic neighborhoods and more specifically, Puerto Rican neighborhoods. Someone once told me that it's because Puerto Ricans are renters so they move out while Mexicans buy their houses and never move. I don't really know.

Anyways, almost every hip neighborhood in Chicago has a history of being formerly Puerto Rican.

Other neighborhoods that gentrify are simply hipsters replacing old ethnic whites.

There also seems to be some kind of connection with public transportation, "The El", and gentrification. I guess that's just logical.

Anyways, it's nice to talk about this issue without using code words.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Boston's gentrification was easy since blacks are contained. It just became a play on cheap money and RE investment. The benefit Boston had was plenty of colleges that expanded enrollment but not housing so investors had a captured renter pool.

nikcrit said...

@all.the.'anonymouses' ----- whose comments are clearly and obviously coming from a single source:

Gentrification is usually a preconceived concept fed with seed money. That's what starts the social interaction you trumped up; in and of itself with nothing more, it would never take off.