(Photo courtesy of Eddie Ruvalcaba / The New York Times)
Garfield Senior High School

Renewal: At what cost?

Gentrification is one of the most controversial topics in the modern age. According to Google, gentrification is the “process of renovating and improving an area so that it conforms to a middle class taste.” While it sounds like a great idea,  at what cost are neighborhoods being gentrified?

Many people have been affected by gentrification because as more economically stable individuals move into poor neighborhoods, housing prices rise. As a result, poor residents move out because they are no longer able to afford living in the area. Expanding this scenario to a whole area being gentrified, sooner or later all those people won’t be able to afford living there.

A perfect example would be Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Boyle Heights is undergoing rapid gentrification with new, big companies opening up. Recently, a 24-hour diner was replaced with a Panda Express. There is nothing wrong with wanting to supply the neighborhood with a Panda Express, but what if that’s just the beginning?

Little by little, Boyle Heights might be filled with middle class people. Where will all the former residents go? Gentrification more than renewal is displacement.

“Indeed, displacement is becoming a larger issue in knowledge hubs and superstar cities, where the pressure for urban living is accelerating. These particular cities attract new businesses, highly skilled workers, major developers, and large corporations, all of which drive up both the demand for and cost of housing. As a result, local residents — and neighborhood renters in particular — may feel pressured to move to more affordable locations”, said Richard Florida in an article in The Atlantic.

Many people are being displaced because they feel they aren’t going to be able to afford the area because it is improving.

Is gentrification really fixing the issue? It really seems as if they are just pushing away the poor to another poor place. Why not gentrify at an affordable price for those people who are able to afford a luxury life? We can turn every part of a city in to an affordable place for everyone, a place better for those living there.

In downtown Los Angeles, rent has become higher because of gentrification. Many don’t have a home to the extent of us now having “tent cities.” A tent city is a place in which homeless individuals set up their tents and it becomes like a neighborhood but instead of houses, there are tents.

Im sure some of those people were able to afford a place to stay in downtown LA before they established all the art museums and aesthetically pleasing small shops. People are literally super attracted to downtown LA because they find that it makes for some really good pictures. There is a book store called The Last Bookstore, and its literally just a book store yet it attracts so many people.

Then again gentrification is inevitable. It is a way for many big companies to make money and expand their business. They establish their business at a place to draw an audience. An example of that in Los Angeles would be The Staples Center. The Staples Center has drawn in so many diverse people from all over the world. It is one of the most popular places you can visit on a trip to L.A. Many people fly in for games, concerts, etc. It makes companies near it profitable because people want to go eat somewhere after a game.

In the end, the topic of gentrification remains to be a really controversial topic. It is a way of renewal and growth in the sense of displacing many people out of their homes.