Immediately, the writer does not notice the circumstances of recent decades where the gentrifying cities suffered sharp declines ans white flight qhile being followed by the FIRE economy real estate bubble. The Sun Belt cities had no gentrification because they experienced their growth in the post-WW2 era as those old, bordering bodoes of water experienced decline. Sun Belt cities had no zoning law red tape and cheap land. Rust Belt cities held on a bit longer due to manufacturing sticking around as an economic force longer there than in the older port cities. For liberals who celebrate diversity, they miss diversity of economics, history and land.
Comedy continues as the writers note research finding that gentrification is very dependent on the percent of black inhabitants with 40% a magical line. It might not just be “explicit racism” but other factors. Here is an idea: maybe it is crime statistics for the area. Maybe there is a sweet spot where real estate values are depressed by the crime and blight in the area but the crime and blight might be more manageable with an increased poloce presence. Do black gangs operate in 65% black neighborhoods but have less of a footprint in 30% black neighborhoods? Just asking before I label gentrification scouts racists.
The researchers find that gentrification does not have spillover effects for bordering neighborhoods. Anyone who has walked in a major Northeastern city knows this. It is an archipelago one navigates for safe zones. These academics and the writer have the foolish mindset that if you paint the cage pink, the pit bull will change. The idea inserting people with wealth into an area will help surrounding areas is an ancient one from the bygone era of ethnic city neighborhoods. Neighbors that all sent kids to the same schools, ate the same ethnic foods, went to the church and were a connected unit. Twenty first century gentrification is made up by wealthy or adventurous pepple who love the architecture, the location, the idea of living in the city or returning. There is no connection because it brings the atomized suburban experience to the city.
Looking at gentrification as an economic and lifestyle selection on the part of big money developers and urban, knowledge workers strips the stupidity from these academics’ assumptions. This is not organic neighborhood building with a bonding drive. It is a homo economicus decision for one’s lifestyle. It is about money, their money. If the natives do not adjust or do not feel the financial benefits, then tough, sell and move out. Gentrification is not evil amd it is not a solution to improving the plight of the urban poor. A return to the old neighborhoods in American cities is a fantasy. It might not improve the lives of the urban underclass but gentrification at least improves the quality and utility of the prime real estate in our knowledge economy hubs.