Example of essay on gentrification

Gentrification is a complicated phenomenon that has become a hot topic during the previous several decades since the baby boom due to its controversial impact on society, politics, economy and culture. There are many definitions of gentrification due to the notion’s complexity, but in its essence, it is a process of change of the urban inner city community, during which the low-income population is gradually substituted by the middle class one, with this change being followed by the increase in property prices, renovation, inflow of investment and general improvement of the neighborhood’s well-being. Gentrification is caused by a number of factors, such as the primary deterioration of “ the densely populated area with low costs of living”, inhabitation by the young and ambitious low-income and often artistic people followed by the improvement of the area’s general appeal with subsequent migration of the middle-class people attracted by the new developments (Bamidele). Scholars have suggested numerous theories explaining the origins of the phenomenon, however, the most important is its influence on life of the society it penetrates, i. e., the life of the previous and new settlers of the neighborhood, and the effects vary depending on the subject of influence.
The unpopular area whether industrialized or not has usually low cost of living, low rent prices and, thus, attracts people, who can afford it. The buildings and sites in such neighborhoods usually lack renovation and investment. Such urban areas in the inner city have usually large populations and many problems, including, quite high crime rates. Young and ambitions workers in need of job that will support their living move to such areas. Many of them are artistic people, who strive to make their community more attractive. They start revitalizing the area, and as the neighborhood grows, the first middle-class newcomers settle in. According to Ebenezer, “ higher-income helps fix up dilapidated houses, and because businesses follow consumers who have purchasing power. And as businesses invest in depressed areas, the residential and commercial property values increase” (Aka 2). The positive impact from such changes is the improvement of the area, the renovation of its buildings, and the rise in social activity. Another effect that can be regarded both as a positive and as a negative one is the increase in taxes on property due to the raise of income of the inhabitants. These taxes can be directed on the improvement of education facilities in the area, support police service, thus, decreasing the crime rate, improve sanitation, the state of buildings and roads (Aka 2). The investments attracted by such changes can give birth to new businesses and create new jobs. Gentrification creates a number of conflicts, social, racial and cultural, and they can have a positive impact too, as they attract attention of politicians and new middle-class population to the important issues, such as poverty, inequality, racial and social prejudices. As the tension rises, the policy-makers and pro-active groups can take actions to improve the general awareness of these issues that are very widespread in the country, and work together to find solution for them. Overall, such changes make the living for the population better, which can influence the neighboring areas, as well.
On the other hand, there are clearly many negative consequences of gentrification, which attract many activists that try to fight with the process. The first and one of the main reasons to oppose it is the impossibility of the old residents to stay in the neighborhood. These people often rent, rather than own apartments, and the rise in prices of rent forces them to leave their places and relocate to the neighborhoods with the cheaper rent prices. Moreover, the rise in the property value rises the cost of living in the area, as the business owners have to increase prices and shift to the more expensive and even premium products that will be more demanded by the new population. The old residents very often cannot afford such living. At the same time, some houses are being bought, and the new owners get the tenants evicted from the apartments. Many of the old residents can become homeless as a result of this process. Homelessness and the rising social tension often create conflicts, which, at first, can give rise to the crime rates. As the old residents leave the area, many businesses that served as attracting features of the neighborhood, get closed or changed in a manner that they are no longer an attraction. The area can lose its prominent cultural life, which can make it less attractive. At the same time, the neighboring area, feeling the pressure of the relocating families or individuals, can increase the supply of housing, which can, in turn, result in future gentrification.
The process of gentrification proved to be an inevitable part of the improvement of the social welfare. As an increasing number of businesses tend to place the headquarters in the central urban areas, the white-collar workers prefer to relocate to the areas in the close proximity to the work place, and they can afford it. Meanwhile, in order to stay in the area, the old residents feel the pressure of necessity to get the increase in the income; otherwise they might face the necessity to move to a cheaper area. The process of gentrification, thus, can improve the quality of living of an individual and social group, and it is the task of the law-makers, residents and business-owners to soften the negative consequences of the gentrification, while making the best out of its advantages.

Works Cited

Aka Jr., Ebenezer O.. ” Gentrification and Socioeconomic Impacts of Neighborhood Integration and Diversification in Atlanta, Georgia.” National Social Science Journal 35. 1 (2010): 1-13. National Social Science Association. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
Bamidele, Jeremy. ” Explaining Gentrification.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost. com, 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. .