A new pair of studies suggests gentrification doesn't force low income residents out of their neighbourhoods - and might actually improve their livelihoods. Problems arise when preservation rather than diversity becomes the goal, writes Justin Davidson.
'Gentrification, that once-wonky, now common concept, is a term freighted with moral urgency, resentment, and guilt, because almost nobody in a high-cost city can avoid it. You’re either suffering its effects or inflicting them, often both at the same time. Unless you leave town altogether — as hundreds of thousands of people of all income brackets do every year — saying good-bye to one neighborhood makes you a newcomer in another. At its most basic, gentrification is what happens when newcomers to a neighborhood arrive with more income or education than those who already live there. At its most politically charged, it’s treated as a form of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Yet gentrification’s status as a great urban evil, a ravager of lives and destroyer of communities, is based as much on faith as on fact. Most scholarly research on the topic compares snapshots of cities and neighborhoods at different times but loses track of what happens to the actual people who live there.' ... Keep reading on New York Magazine