Opinion: Whether to support gentrification is a personal choice

Gentrification is an issue not typically talked about. But in the face of moving, young adults should examine the pros and cons before moving into a gentrified neighborhood.
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KEARSTIN CANTRELL | Opinions Editor

Dictionary.com defines gentrification as “the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle income families or individuals, raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses.” 

In the discussion of gentrification, like in many controversial discussions, there are pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some of the aspects of gentrification. 

The People

Gentrification oftentimes means that people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds will begin living in the same neighborhoods.

Pro: It gives everyone a chance to learn about a culture that’s different from their own. This has the potential to increase diversity sensitivity.

Con: People aren’t always willing to try getting along with those that are different from them. Those moving in may not wish to merge with those already in the area, but instead make it their own. This could lead to poor treatment of those who are native to a gentrified area.

Culture Shifts

Bringing a new group of people in an area is going to shift a community’s culture in one way or another — a fact that is unavoidable. 

Pro: America is the great melting pot. Combining cultures is what we do. Again, this offers a chance for people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to enjoy what another culture has to offer.

Con: Sometimes culture gets lost in the melting pot. Add too much upper- and middle-class culture to the bowl, and you may never again notice the culture of those who previously lived in the area. 

Housing

Gentrification tends to do a few things to housing: upscale the existing and create more.

Pro: The creation of more upscale housing draws in more residents. The more people that live in a community, the better it is for an area’s economy. 

Con: Cost of living increases rapidly. Those who originally moved to the area for cheaper rent 15 years ago may no longer be able to afford to live in the area.

 

There are plenty of things to consider when talking about the gentrification of neighborhoods. It’s hard to say if the pros outweigh the cons or vice-versa. That is a decision that must be made on an individual level. But before you decide to move into a gentrified neighborhood, think about whether it is a process that you support. 

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