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+4 votes
by
What about the concept are you confused about? I am not quite sure where to start regarding giving you an answer that is appropriate to this website as opposed to, say, just posting this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification

2 Answers

+4 votes
I assume the subtext of this question are things like: What about gentrification is a problem for anarchists, or anarchy? Why is there so much gravitation toward anti-gentrification struggles? In what ways do anti-gentrification struggles tend toward anarchy? In what ways do they tend toward non-anarchy?

Covering the bases:

* From a red(-and-black?) perspective, gentrification is a process where class tensions are increased. Specifically, bourgeois developers are making decisions about real estate, housing, land, commerce, etc which attack the living conditions of working class people who have no say in these decisions except through their self-organized resistance.

* From an anti-civ perspective, gentrification is a further development and advancement of the forces of civilization, which nowadays often tends to paint itself green.

* From an identity politics perspective, gentrification is a process that involves an attack especially on the communities, culture, and cohesiveness of people of color who have lived in a place longer and are pushed out by an influx of young white people.

* From an insurrectionary perspective, gentrification is an intermediate struggle in which people are angry about certain aspects of or changes in the existent. Their struggle is merely partial (anti-hipsters, or white people, or developers, or local politicians, etc) defensive (of the existing conditions) and geographically limited for now, but it has the potential to become a generalized insurrection against capital and the state as a whole.

And now for my perspective :)

In my neighborhood, there is some gentrification a few blocks away but closer to home there is an insane amount of development that can't really be called gentrification. From a detached, reduced viewpoint it would look as if the development isn't significantly changing the key demographics (race, class) of the neighborhood. And (probably for that reason) there is no 'struggle' against it: who the hell is going to fight against refugees moving into a neighborhood, even if the development is displacing other (possibly poorer) people of color?

This highlights one of the problems with the anti-gentrification thing: it is really hard to separate the critique of the *process* of development from the attack on the *particular people* who are moving in. And when these "lower-income" developers are basically teamed up with the developers of the pricey "green" condos a few more blocks down, you are looking at a great PR strategy from the pro-development forces. Red, green, and anti-white all lose their political ground... Of course the problem was that they were too political to begin with. And the I@ approach just seems insanely hopeful.

Anyway, my problem with the development seems at its core to be about an aesthetic distaste for living in a cookie-cutter world. This cookie-cutter feeling is already everywhere, and yet the development around me is causing it to starkly increase. And if this doesn't lend itself to an activist campaign, that's fine because I don't like those either.

But on the cookie-cutter note, I don't think this distaste I have should be called anti-gentrification, as it is not essentially about gentry, even if it has a lot to do with money, not essentially conservative (as anti-gentrification politics always have to be) even if it rejects development, and not based in identity or politics. It is a inclination away from homogeneity and toward anarchy.
by (19.8k points)
+3 votes
i think of gentrification to be the insertion of the hordes of the inanely hopeful people armed with Community Visions and the Standard House/Yard Model into areas that are quite nearly polar opposites. it kind of feels like the unwanted embrace of a self-centered aunt whom you only see every ten years, but then they move into your guest bedroom

i.e., i went to the taco truck today and overheard two young people in yoga pants talking about their relationships with artists in the local art scene and i wanted to murder them both
by (1.0k points)
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