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Are you gentrifying neighborhoods in Pittsburgh?
A call to white bohemian, anarchist, artist, radical, activist, hipsters, etc.
(Even if you don’t identify with the above labels other people probably still may see you like that.)
Think about how you move through the city, where you move to in the city, where you have events and how it affects the people who are living there. This information is a drop in the bucket of the complicated issues pertaining to gentrification. This isn’t based on the assumption that the folks listed above have the money to live in an ideal situation and that the subcultures mentioned are only white. We live in a society ruled by white supremacy; that is why the call is to white people. Gentrification is bigger then one house in one neighborhood. Developers, Speculators, Universities and Hospitals play a huge role in contributing factors.
Talk to people in any neighborhood that you are thinking about buying a house in. Even if you think your neighborhood is really far away from being gentrified it is still important to think critically about these issues and how they relate to your interactions with people in your surroundings.
Something to keep in mind if you are compelled to become an agent against gentrification is that the people who live in an area most affected by gentrification are the only ones who can lead the fight against it. Take Time. Do the research. Talk to people about it.
“…some anti-gentrification anarchists in West Philadelphia were accused of aiding gentrification when they tried to buy an old YMCA building for their community in a mostly black neighborhood. one of the anarchists, James Nasti, said, “Gentrification is a touchy thing because regardless of what we, a mostly white radical community, regardless of what we’re doing, all that is needed to start the ball rolling(for gentrification” is our white skin. The artists and radicals move into a neighborhood and the white faces make it safer for others to follow.”
—Gentrification: Artists and Yuppies Working Together by Dan Knauss http://www.riverwestcurrents.org/2002/July/000036.html
The method by which an urban “artist colony” is transformed into an affluent neighborhood has been well documented for many years. Artists and sub cultural students (more recently nicknamed “hipsters,” but also including the hippies of earlier years) often seek out devaluated urban neighborhoods for their low prices and for their sense of authenticity or “grit” (Lloyd, 89). As the bohemian character of the area grows, it appeals “not only to committed participants but also to sporadic consumers” (Lloyd, 104); eventually, those “sporadic” consumers edge out the earlier arrivals. The urban middle-class typically does not invade new neighborhoods in one fell swoop. In many cases, more economically marginal subgroups of “trend-setters”—often referred to in popular literature as “urban pioneers” (Smith 1996, 26) although that term carries with it racist aspersions (Smith 1996, 13)—are the first to arrive in gentrifying areas. Although these groups may not have high incomes, their high educational or occupational status (i.e., high cultural capital) qualify them as marginally bourgeois. In many cases, these individuals are young and live in non-family households, and thus have a higher tolerance for perceived urban ills (such as crime, poor-quality schools, lack of amenities like shops and parks, and the presence of disadvantaged racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups) that may dissuade middle-class families. As the number of “trend-setters” grows, they create amenities valued by the bourgeoisie, particularly service establishments such as new bars, restaurants, and art galleries that serve the gentrifying group’s demographic, residents with a similar outlook and greater amounts of capital may follow. This group, in turn, further adds amenities and investment to the area, increases local property values, and paves the way for more risk-averse investors and residents. The first newcomers, priced out of their newly fashionable neighborhood, move on to adjacent areas, where the process often begins anew. In this theory, the classic sector model of urban residential succession—essentially that neighborhoods “trickle down” from one socioeconomic group to another, with the wealthiest residents moving linearly outward from the Central Business District—works in reverse, but the “invasion-succession” process proceeds in a remarkably similar fashion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification#Artists.2C_bohemians.2C_hipsters
Angry Brown Butch – Blog on Gentrification – good reading
That’s what’s up. Think critically. And it’s not just white skin, but $$ your using, too. Gentrification is a huge subject, and no you won’t be defeating it by not doing something, but some ‘radical’/artist communities have been responsible for doing it almost on their own, even when a lot of them don’t like gentrification. There’s something wrong with that.
I’ve heard people give up caring because of guilt- well, i’m doing it, I can’t do nothing about it. First, wrong, you can, and second, if you end up in that spot, you can decide not to create that nasty apartheid divide, where you ONLY talk to people of your subculture while the blacks or whoever are only left to speculate about you. There’s a million ways to give back to a neighborhood, but you gotta be serious.
I appreciate it every time something like what you wrote is written.