I'll admit I haven't given much thought to the phenomenon of gentrification which is why I'm asking for some input from you fine folks. In a recent rant by Spike Lee he seems to vacilate between "back in my day" nostalgia and real, honest concerns about how different populations are treated by local governments. Here are some snipets of Lee's various rants from a lecture he was involved in for Black History Month and on Anderson Cooper.
"I grew up here in New York. It's changed," Lee said at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, an art, design, and architecture school. "And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn't picked up every mother******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. ... The police weren't around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o'clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something."
On Wednesday, Lee told "Anderson Cooper 360" that he's not against new people moving into areas that were once predominantly poor and predominantly African-American.
"My problem is that when you move into a neighborhood, have some respect for the history, for the culture," Lee said.
Then comes the mother******' Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can't discover this! We been here," he said to applause from the audience.
He gave the examples of people playing drums in Mount Morris Park, a tradition he said lasted 40 years until the new residents complained.
And then there was the one that literally hit home. Lee said his father, "a great jazz musician," bought a brownstone 46 years ago.
"And the mother******' people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He's not — he doesn't even play electric bass. It's acoustic. We bought the mother******' house in 1968, and now you call the cops? In 2013?"
And the part where I felt like he was actually on to something,
"So, why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better?" Lee asked. "Why's there more police protection in Bed Stuy and Harlem now? Why's the garbage getting picked up more regularly? We been here!"
So has anyone had first hand experience with this? Good, bad? Whereas Lee seems to link the city providing inadequate services solely due to the residents being black, I tend to see this like every other city, they just provide better services to the areas that have more wealth. The wealthy, whether they be residents or the businesses there, can pressure public officials and just have more clout in general because, well... money.
I also agree that the strip-malling of America has had a huge impact on local culture but that's happening world wide. Culture is homogenizing. Is this just a case of the world changing and there will always be people bemoaning the passing of the good old days or do we need to make efforts to preserve local ecentricities?