Gentrification as immigration

In a piece titled “Stop Complaining About Gentrification Unless You Know What It Is,” io9 editor Annalee Newitz looks a little deeper at the topic of the day:

Gentrification is a form of immigration, though almost nobody calls it that. People who gentrify are usually new transplants to a city, changing it to suit their particular cultural needs and whims. That’s why the criticism of gentrification often sounds like a distorted version of anti-immigrant sentiment: “They have changed our neighborhoods; their shops and homes are repulsive; we no longer feel welcome here.” The difference is that the people we call immigrants are usually not rich. Gentrifiers are.

She then looks at Istanbul and Paris, and obviously San Francisco, and eventually draws this conclusion:

When different immigrant groups struggle with each other to reshape the city, gentrification is one possible outcome. There are other possible outcomes, too. City planners can manage development so that there is enough room for neighborhoods to grow without kicking anyone out. A recent study revealed that creating income-segregated neighborhoods leads to less social mobility for everyone, cementing us into a rigidly class-divided society. More than anything, we need to prevent neighborhoods from becoming divided by class.

A first step would be to revise our attitude toward immigration in cities. Instead of seeing immigrants as aliens, we should welcome their fresh perspectives, their wealth of new cultural traditions — and yes, their cash infusions. As twentieth century cities swell into twenty-first century megacities, we must make room for all our immigrant populations, rich and poor alike. The only crime is in sacrificing one to make way for the other.

The only crime. Read on for lots more data and storytelling and relevant photos.

[Photo by Andrew Sarkarati]

14 Responses to “Gentrification as immigration”

  1. Hazbeen says:

    Ya, except this worthless bag of ladyparts forgets the clear distinction of class in migratory patterns as it relates to population and economic mobility. Rich people can move anywhere they want. Poor people, the elderly, the marginalized are forced to move where they can afford due to rising costs. This is not the same and she is either willfully comparing the two scenarios out of an political agenda (aka white supremacy, status-quo)or so naive as to matters of class and power that she should immediately be removed from any and all media/journalistic duties.

    …and for sharing and by association MM is obviously no smarter.

  2. Big Head says:

    Maybe we treat people as individuals and not as members of a group? The smallest minority is the individual.

  3. boo says:

    The movement is so fucking racist and evil because it created hate where thete wasn’t any by bored protesters who define themselves by protest and were sad Occupy was over, and Rebecca Solnit, who was shocked, *shocked* that after selling her Mission apartment to a Google engineer, the housing market was tough.
    God forbid people stop connoting Latino people with “poor” who need some young, white, college students with bad hair serve as their mouthpieces at protests. And the young white and Asian and Indian tech workers have always been rich, right? Never struggled. The elderly are always poor, Hasbeen? Your world of stereotypes must make it so easy to hate. I guess that’s how you come up with vile thins like “useless bag of ladyparts”. Try compassion.

    • Hazbeen says:

      The reason young, white people tend to serve as the mouth-piece for the oppressed is they have the means and access and instead of ignoring injustice, use their privilege to fight against it.

      Seriously, read this:

      Displacement is class warfare under the guise of might makes right.

      • Tried to read, but there were so many qualifiers in the language, imaginary “privileges”, and unnecessary white-guilt that I couldn’t finish.

        Besides, you still haven’t explained why oppressed people need or would want “privileged” people to fight for them. After all, there’s only so far you can go in your fight before you start offending your “privileged” supporters.

  4. Mobity Mosely says:

    What “wealth of new cultural traditions” are these white guys from New England bringing to our city?