Updated: Sep 20, 2018
Chances of you thinking you are a gentrifier are slim. With gentrification being a dirty word not dare uttered who wants to be labeled a gentrifier. People get defensive when you use that word gentrification, especially when they have some gentrifying tendencies. But what if you are a gentrifier and don’t even know it?
To help you out, let’s break down types of gentrifiers. Worst case scenario, you may just be gentrifier adjacent
The Anti-Gentrification Gentrifier
Gentrification didn’t just become a thing. There are key historical connections between areas that are being gentrified and housing injustices. Many gentrifiers either miss that connection, don’t know about those connections or may tend to overlook the reasons why that specific neighborhood is still affordable.
To be blunt, if a particular neighborhood is surprisingly cheap there is a reason for it. This is especially true in the Richmond area.
The areas that we see the most “development “and shift in demographics are the same areas that a history of race-based injustices such as mortgage redlining, racial restrictive covenants, biased public housing practices and other policies. This system of property racism is the reason for the distress and lower property values benefiting the gentrifier. It is this history that makes gentrification such a hot button issue. A buyer in these areas may disagree with gentrification, but when they pick these “new and upcoming areas” they are reinforcing the practice
The Downlow Gentrifier
This is the buyer that is fully aware that the community they are buying into is being gentrified. They like the fact the area is being gentrified, why wouldn’t they. They can have the urban lifestyle while eating at trendy coffee shops with cool logos and fancy muffins.
This is the buyer who moves into the community but doesn’t see the need to connect with the community. They buy a great renovated home in the city, but get stressed out when city things happen. They see the community as currently being disorganized but with potential.
By looking at the community from a state of potential and not embracing the current resident they may even look at certain neighbors as beneath them, even if they do it with a smile.
These community newbies want the area for themselves. House by house, street by street and school by school they work to change the dynamics of the area in their favor. In fact, newcomers with children even select the school they wish to call their own. It’s like there is a meeting where they decide, we want that school.
With new businesses coming in along with the newcomer they can create a new community. They don’t have to do things the way they used be done and they don’t have to blend in with the people. They see a future community one that reminds them of where they were before, just in a new setting. They focus on land and housing over the people who once call that area home.
Some newcomers love the area. They love the area so much that they jump right into the current community culture. It is as if they have a dream of being “legit” and embrace the culture as their own. They too, dislike outsiders and want the community to stay the same. The flipside is that no matter how much they love the area, they are aware that they are guest. They just happen to be guest that love and respect the place where they are visiting.
The spread of the middle to upper class community in areas that have seen development pass them buy like a step child is prevalent in so many cities across the United States. We are at a time where we can’t get around gentrification. Affordable homes, great restaurants and bike lanes are here folks. The elephant in the room is not gentrification, it is what kind of gentrifier do you want to be. We all have to live somewhere right?