Gentrification has been and will continue to be one of the most damaging concepts to hit Rising areas across the country. The process of gentrification involves the act of higher-income citizens moving into lower-income neighborhoods and completely rearranging the area, this allows an area to undergo socioeconomic changes due to the direct increase of first class residents.
While Property values continue to skyrocket, Lower income residents as well as local businesses are forced into displacement. The concept of gentrification could be argued to play a positive role in the development of a low-income neighborhood, To test this theory I interviewed a friend of mine who has been disproportionately impacted by the effects of gentrification, I wanted insight on her opinions and firsthand experiences as a teenager living in the city of Philadelphia.
How has gentrification impacted your life?
“Especially as a person of color coming from a low-income household, gentrification definitely impacted my family in numerous ways. It has forced us to switch apartments on multiple occasions due to rising rent prices”.
What are three adjectives you would use to define Gentrification?
“I would definitely have to say Destructive, Unhealthy, Selfish”
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What does your neighborhood mean to you?
“North Philly is definitely the place I would love to spend the rest of my life in. I've been able to appreciate the close-knit communities and relationships I've been a part of while living here. My neighborhood holds a lot of significance in my life and I cherish it deeply. It means a lot to be able to comfortably call Philadelphia my home although it definitely has its cons”.
How has gentrification impacted your friends, family, and peers?
“I’ve witnessed peers of mine forced to move into different areas across the country due to rising rent, as well as establishments I've known and loved for years being closed down.”
Do you have any reason to believe your connection with the city of Philadelphia changed?
I believe my relationship with my city has stayed relatively the same, it has been tainted slightly after the constant moving but I still hold a lot of love for my city and community.”
How do you think your neighborhood has handled gentrification?
Supporting local small businesses is a prime example of helping minimize the effects of gentrification”.
How has being raised in Philadelphia differentiated you from your peers that have grown up in other areas of the country?
My accent and the slang I use in less professional settings definitely sets me apart from my peers. I have friends from Suburban areas in New Jersey and New York City who look at me sideways when saying water like “Wooder” or referring to nouns as “Jawns”.
How do you think government officials in your neighborhood could handle gentrification?
Reinforce more affordable housing policies, give the community a chance to voice their emotions and opinions, and most importantly engage with the community”.
Gentrification can provide both positive and negative outcomes. In your experience, what are some of the positive outcomes of gentrification for your community?
“Although picking pros may not be the easiest decision, I can try to name some from the top of my head- There has definitely been an improvement of the roads, as well as gentrification has allowed north Philly to grow economically”.
Gentrification has been deemed a complex issue with no easy solutions. What are some approaches you believe could help create more equitable development in gentrifying neighborhoods?
As I previously stated, government officials and community members can help uplift their neighborhoods, and use their platforms as they intended to be used; assist the community. We don't pay all these taxes to the city just to continue living in fear that one day we might not have a place to call home.