Gentrification has made the real estate players wealthy. Along with plenty of transactional lawyers. Also, it saves old housing stock, recycling it into cool residences. But, as The Wall Street Journal points out, The Gentrification Effect could be negative.
Landlords don't take a stupid pill. If their property is based in an area undergoing gentrification, such as downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, they will boost the rent - and keep doing that.
In addition, those who once had called the area home, like I had, can't return. We are priced out of the rental market.
And, you bet, forget buying. The tenement I grew up in at 227 Bay Street had been retrofitted as a condo with exposed brick walls and a rooftop common space. The five railroad rooms were converted into two-floor apartments.
That means a city loses its natives as well as its institutional memory.
The new tribes who move in have no experience what it had been like being ruled by the Hague political machine. Everything got done through six degrees of separation.
If your cousin from Poland needed a job you went to the parish priest who knew someone who knew other someones who worked in City Hall. Networking was at its most raw. And tyrannical. There was no off-the-network.
Reflection: The "old neighborhood," which shaped so many of us, is vanishing, with no one available on-site to tell its stories. Those values and that unique perspective on how to survive will be lost. That's ironic in this era of storytelling.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.