Gentrification : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread

If it is happening in Indy, it is happening everywhere. The oldest, rum-dummiest neighborhoods are becoming some of the most fashionable. Inner city locations, once avoided (especially at night) are alive with renovations of beautiful old homes and new residential construction (often built to look "old"). Blighted, dangerous neighborhoods are a-blossom with restaurants, coffee shops, trendy boutiques, entertainment venues and new businesses. Abandoned lofts are converted to condos. Skid-rows become art galleries.

The city itself gets into the act. It sees gentrification as a trend to encourage---- crime reduces, property tax revenues increase, jobs increase, the city becomes more vibrant and alive. The city encourages the trend with new parks, transportation, better urban services, new urban venues (PACs, museums, sports palaces, etc) and tax incentives.

As in most trends, there is more than a little irony. Many of the gentrified neighborhoods were black, now going white. (originally they were white neighborhoods that went black). Many of the early gentrifiers were homosexuals. They often had the household income to re-hab a rundown housing gem and the taste to do it. Increasingly, the young single hetero yuppies are participating. Even, young families with kids are doing the "urban pioneer" thing.

What happens to the previous residents of gentrified neighborhoods? What happens when slum dwellers and prostitutes and junkies are priced out of their former neighborhoods? Well, some stay and are integrated into the new neighborhood. But most have to move on.

My prediction is that within a generation, inner cities will no longer be slums. My prediction is that new slums will appear in the older, tackier, suburbs of the 50s era. My prediction is that American cities will move towards the demographics of some 3rd world cities where vital centers are ringed by slums and shanty-towns. I see a metro area of concentric rings--the center will be high rises, commercial and residential, surrounded by a ring of affluent gentrification, surrounerd by a discontinouous ring of middle-aged suburbs turning into slums, surrounded by the affluent to semi-affluent edge-cities (some with their own mini-slums), surrounded by affluent estate-country and less affluent semi-rural areas.

What is your impression of the trend to gentrification?

BTW, I love you Cin.

-- Lars (, July 01, 2001


A case study, Klotter St, Cincinnati.

God loves you and so do I.

-- (Rev_Smiley@Crystal.Cathedral), July 01, 2001.

It sucks. yuppies suck. thier mind set sucks. I like to pop SUV tires on my neighborhood.

-- no (, July 01, 2001.


Interesting points in your post. Our experience in Canada does not mirror yours in the US. For the most part, our major cities did not "hollow out" in the 60s and 70s. There were no scenes like Watts, Detroit etc. up here.

In Toronto gentrification has occurred, but in a patchwork basis. By that I mean a "crappy" neighbourhood might only be a few blocks from a "good" neighbourhood. What drove the gentrification in Toronto was the baby boomers need for housing. Quite a few neighbourhoods were "upgraded" in the early to mid eighties as the leading edge of the boomers entered their 30s.

Downtown Toronto has always had a good blend of offices and entertainment facilities (as well as being quite safe), so neighbourhoods surrounding it were always candidates for gentrification.

My own feelings about gentrification are ones of ambivalence. As you mentioned Lars, a lot of people end up getting displaced - sometimes in a "violent" fashion (evictions etc.) - and they end up moving to the nearest run-down area. Their old area may now look chic and trendy, but the underlying problems (poverty, mental health issues etc.) of the population, now dispersed, have not been addressed.

When I returned to Toronto in the early 90s (after a stint working in London) my wife and I rented an apartment on the edge of a neighbourhood with Toronto's most visible street prostitution (about 4 miles from downtown). The area - at that point in time - was just beginning its was at the "funky" stage; i.e. it had its long-term "real" residents as well as a smattering of artists and yuppies.

After a couple of years my wife got pregnant and we bought a house in a neighbourhood a couple of miles away. We could have got twice the size of house in the old neighbourhood, but the detritus of crack whores (used condoms, discarded needles and crack pipes etc.) didn't appeal when we had a young 'un on the way. Since we left the area has continued to gentrify...there are more yuppies (and all the businesses that cater to them) and the prostitution has become much less visible.

One of the ironies of the 1st decade of the new century is that the US is now investing much more heavily in its cities than Canada is. In the 1960s and 70s urban planners from the US and all over the world used to come to Toronto to find out how "the city that worked" actually worked. We had a vibrant downtown and excellent public services. Now we are in danger of starving our cities (particularly Toronto) the necessary funds for infrastructure improvement. It will be interesting in 2011 to compare Toronto with New York, Boston, SF, Chicago etc.

-- Johnny Canuck (, July 01, 2001.


Thanks for your response. I didn't know that Canadian cities were having problems recently.

On balance, I think gentrification is good but it's too bad that some poor and elderlies are being displaced.

Oh well, the Rich we shall always have with us.

-- Lars (, July 02, 2001.

It's happening all over, Lars. I can see it in downtown Fort Worth just as I saw it on the South side of the loop in Chicago. There's a certain appeal to many regarding discarding the commute to work. I once looked at housing on the South side of the loop myself. It was already out of my price range.

In Chicago, there was a highly organized "gang" The Blackstone Rangers. I can't even remember how long ago it was revealed that this "gang" had a 25-year plan. If memory serves me, the gang leader gave orders from prison. The "plan" was to basically terrorize the urban dwellers in an attempt to get them to move. The plan worked, the urban dwellers moved, the neighborhoods became run down, and years later The Blackstone Rangers bought the land for a song and began renovations. This may/may not have coincided with low income housing being dispersed throughout suburban areas, but urban planners got in on the trend, and after some years the huge complexes that had become pits of crime began coming down, to be replaced by expensive housing.

What is my impression? I think the end result for urban areas is good for business/tourism and allowed many to give up a despised commute. I don't see the plan yet complete in suburban areas, but I've seen communities come together and form neighborhood groups to bond the neighbors in common goals that look beyond the homogeny desired in the past.

-- Anita (, July 02, 2001.

They're doing the same thing here also.

Old Springfield was a neighborhood you just didn't wander into. The older folks banded together and even walked the streets at night literally looking for trouble. Eventually, the older folks chased the undesireables out.

Now Springfield is going thru a rebirth of sorts. Old homes being restored, restaraunts and cafes opening. Property values creeping higher and higher. Nice to see the good guy win for once!


-- Deano (, July 02, 2001.

It's disgusting. I can't find a good crack-house no more---nothing but faggy Thai restaurants filled with yuppies.

-- (crack_', July 02, 2001.

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