To date, there is not a comprehensive strategy to combat gentrification in at-risk neighborhoods across the nation. Gentrification can mean a multitude of very different things for different people. It can be a means of improving education and reducing crime, or a detrimental rise in prices and new mix of ethnicity among the neighborhood.
After weeks of study on gentrification, I will refer to it as a revitalization and reinvestment causing a relatively sharp increase in rents, property value and prices resulting in actual or imminent displacement of residents. I’ve looked into the phenomenon of gentrification in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Berlin. Yet, there are so many cities, outside of the aforementioned, that face the same obstacles. Boston, Massachusetts is one of them.
In Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation’s post titled “Home Matters!” includes various policies, drawn from recent studies and articles, that could mitigate gentrification in Roxbury and other gentrifying neighborhoods in Boston.
Some of the policies included, “Aggressively build[ing] middle-income housing… Reduc[ing] or freez[ing] property taxes… and creat[ing] a stabilization [that] prohibit[s] large-scale luxury development in at-risk neighborhoods.” All of which are tangible policies that could be implemented in Boston (and the nation at large) with the union of community organizers, citizens and government intervention.
But this should not be unique to just Boston. Rather, we should all take the steps to move into our communities as neighbors, not gentrifiers. But how?
Here is a list of things you can do:
- Respect the history, culture and locals in your neighborhood.
- Get to know your neighbors as people.
- Make socially conscious purchase decisions, and support local business.
- Invest time and/or money in community focused organizations.
- Whichever side of gentrification you are on, make an effort to bring this dilemma to the forefront of local and national government officials.
Then maybe those policies could be the comprehensive strategy we need to combat gentrification.