Is Gentrification a Bad Thing?

Hypatian do you really believe that gilded description of a poverty stricken neighborhood you gave above? That the crack houses and brothels and gang violence and dangerous housing will organically resolve themselves because the community has pride? If so I'd like to show you some neighborhoods in the southeast side of my city. Regardless of why they do it, members of poor communities often fight tooth and nail against community improvement.

I know we all like to bash hipsters, but let's not forget that hipster is just a pejorative term for trendy, young, artsy people. These are the people who are actually making a bad neighborhood worth investing in, and they're being forced out by economic pressure as well. See my post on the previous page regarding Austin and Portland (and you can throw Brooklyn there too, since the service industry of manhattan can't even afford Brooklyn anymore).

Also - why would you go to a drag show to quietly enjoy some drinks?

I'm not sure if you honestly don't get the objection or just being deliberately obtuse, as though it's somehow mystifying that trans people wouldn't want to be assumed to be the entertainment at a drag show when they're not performing.

Paleocon wrote:

My point is that the term "gentrification" is a pretty blunt object that just boils down to a pejorative applied to economic development that makes the accuser butt hurt.

Check cashing places in Baltimore objected to Bank of America coming into the Charles Village area and called it "gentrification". The overpriced hardware store in Hampden did the same for Lowes. It is funny how folks with a vested interest in blight tend to overuse that term.

Once again, the article that started this discussion is not about the people with vested interests in blight, but newcomers paving over rich cultural and historical traditions with homogenization. Spike Lee wasn't ranting about how it's hard for a dude to score heroin at Ft. Greene park, he's ranting that the musicians and artists that have lived there for GENERATIONS are having the cops called on them by people who have just moved in next door. He's ranting about how these newcomers complain that Ft. Greene is like a Westminster Dog Show, but just down the block at the park all these same people are walking their dogs on their morning jog. He's spotlighting the hypocrisy of the dominant social group when they muscle their way into areas they wouldn't even sniff their noses at 20 years ago.

And can we just stop using the term hipster altogether?

Lee was complaining that the garbage was being picked up now. He's pissed that 125th at is safe now. Kinda sounds like he was lamenting the old, sh*tty neighborhood.

If I'm being honest, I do have a twinge of empathy for Spike Lee. He's a rich man who, despite his wealth, failed to accomplish what's happening in north manhattan, Brooklyn, and to a lesser extent, the Bronx. And his dad got caught up in it too, which made it even more personal.

But. Spike Lee owns a 32 million dollar mansion in Manhattan. So from where I'm standing, Mitchell Moss would be justified in calling Lee a hypocrite.

And sadly, for a term that means basically nothing, a term with which hardly anyone actually self identifies, hipster is a weirdly accurate word.

We could go back to hippies, beatniks, or hep cats I suppose.

nel e nel wrote:

And can we just stop using the term hipster altogether?

Yes, please.

Just FYI, the rape --> butthurt connection is awfully weak. The Freudian anal retentive personality --> butthurt connection or the kick in the butt connection is more viable. Like you said, we went over this before, but it seems like you remembered it wrong.

I don't use the term at gwj because I was asked not to, but the phrase doesn't mean what you think it means.

Seth wrote:

Hypatian do you really believe that gilded description of a poverty stricken neighborhood you gave above? That the crack houses and brothels and gang violence and dangerous housing will organically resolve themselves because the community has pride? If so I'd like to show you some neighborhoods in the southeast side of my city. Regardless of why they do it, members of poor communities often fight tooth and nail against community improvement.

Um. I never described such a thing, Seth. What I described was a scenario where a neighborhood *did* improve enough to be attractive and then the people who lived there couldn't live there any more. I'm not saying that happens to every neighborhood. I'm saying it does happen. For neighborhoods to improve, they need meaningful investment that meets the needs of the residents, whether that comes from sources inside or outside the community. When investment doesn't meet those needs, that's a problem, and one may very well argue (as I have) that such investment is not for the sake of the community, but despite it.

Seth wrote:

I know we all like to bash hipsters, but let's not forget that hipster is just a pejorative term for trendy, young, artsy people. These are the people who are actually making a bad neighborhood worth investing in, and they're being forced out by economic pressure as well. See my post on the previous page regarding Austin and Portland (and you can throw Brooklyn there too, since the service industry of manhattan can't even afford Brooklyn anymore).

In situations of gentrification, the situation is generally not as dire as you describe. This is already a working neighborhood, and may have seen improvement in the past. It's not dominated by the underground economy. People are able to live and work in the area. There is certainly pressure to "improve" the neighborhood, because it could be making more money for the people who own the property. Or some of them, anyway. There are a few open questions, though: Is that to the actual benefit of the city, and of society in general? It's certainly not to the benefit of the people who currently live there—so you have to ask yourself "what is the neighborhood?" Is it merely the land, or do the people who live there count? If they don't, because they don't have as much money as the people who *could* live there, well, that's why this is a social justice issue.

Seth wrote:

Also - why would you go to a drag show to quietly enjoy some drinks? :)

Did you read my story? We didn't go to a drag show to quietly enjoy some drinks, we went to a bar that had a drag show later that night. The drag show started at midnight. We got there at 7pm, and things were pretty quiet. By 9pm, it was unbearable. This was on a Thursday night. And yes, this is why we [em]don't go there any more[/em]. Because people who have no reason to go to a queer place except that queer things (i.e. drag shows) are "hip" made queer people who would be the subject of a great deal of staring and whispering at any non-queer establishment subject to the very sort of attention that we went to a queer space to avoid.

Or to look at things from a different angle: Non-queer people feel entitled to walk into any queer venue they want to. Visibly queer people don't have that liberty with non-queer venues. When non-queer people find the queer place they were planning on going is ridiculous packed, they go to the bar next door, or across the street. When queer people find it full, they have to go a half mile to the other queer venue in the neighborhood, or several miles to the next available option.

Paleoncon wrote:

My point is that the term "gentrification" is a pretty blunt object that just boils down to a pejorative applied to economic development that makes the accuser butt hurt.

Check cashing places in Baltimore objected to Bank of America coming into the Charles Village area and called it "gentrification". The overpriced hardware store in Hampden did the same for Lowes. It is funny how folks with a vested interest in blight tend to overuse that term.

Sure. That would be another example of appropriation—taking a term that describes a very real problem and using it for things that it doesn't really apply to, without asking the people who are really effected.

People can use words to mean all sorts of things. But do you think that, perhaps, there is a concept here that is important [em]no matter what you want to call it[/em]?

I will admit that people use the term "gentrification" as in your examples, to object to things that would actually help the community they're targeted at. However, that doesn't mean that the things we describe aren't actual problems. Just not that they're actual problems you've directly observed people using this term for.

Final note: "Butt hurt"? Seriously? Not only have we talked about the whole "it's not cool to make dismissive allusions to rape" thing before, but this is not just dismissive, but obnoxiously so. If you want to say "I think that the people use to word 'gentrification' as an excuse to oppose development when they have no real argument at hand but their feelings have been hurt", then say it straight out—tell us in so many words how the problem doesn't really exist and everybody who suggests that it does is just some sort of naive deluded fool acting on an infantile desire to strike back at the people who are actually trying to get "real work" done.

Or, you know, say whatever it was that you [em]did[/em] intend to say.

But don't throw out sh*t like that without making any argument at all. When you do that, what we're reading it to say is: "I don't have an argument, but I think you're wrong, so I'm going to blow you off with an inflammatory insult instead."

I've assumed butthurt wasn't a rape joke so much as a gay joke. Either way, don't like it.

It calls it uncomfortably to mind, and regardless of any connotations along those lines is among the most vapid yet insultingly dismissive phrases available to describe someone's motivations. It means "you have no real reasons, you're just whining for the sake of whining".

Hypatian wrote:

regardless of any connotations along those lines is among the most vapid yet insultingly dismissive phrases available describe someone's motivations. It means "you have no real reasons, you're just whining for the sake of whining".

Yes, it's code for that - just like "brain ragequit" and all variations of the facepalm meme are code for the same dismissive emotion. We GWJers have a pretty well developed code system, after all.

Woah woah woah, as the person who I think started *brain ragequits*, I can tell you that is meant as, this topic or new point of discussion (usually something someone said somewhere in the world) is infuriating to the point of I can't even form a cogent response to it.

I don't know the answers to your questions otherwise I'm sure to have won an award for solving the gentrification problem. The video just happened to come across my RSS feed yesterday when I was reading the news and thought it was interesting enough to post it here.

Edwin wrote:

I acknowledge that gentrification is a problem. What should I do about it?

Right now, I'm moving (back) to Seattle and am currently looking at places in the CD (I have an approved lease at 18th & Union). Should I not take it? Should I limit myself to some other neighborhoods so as to not be part of the problem? That feels overly simplistic.

I send my kid to a daycare in the CD. I shop at businesses in the CD (including the referenced Ezell's). But I'm not African American and am certainly changing the socio-economic make-up of the neighborhood.

Edit: Thinking more about this (and about some of the other problems listed above), it feels like the right approach is to try to be part of the community, respecting and supporting what's been there before me while not trying to change it to fit my own cultural preferences. However, doesn't the very act of me paying high rents now charged in the neighborhood alter the economic picture for those there first?

*nod* There are no easy solutions for this. But the very start of finding solutions is to see that the problem exists, and to think about it. In my opinion, you really [em]do[/em] want to see cities with mixed income neighborhoods--and there might be ways for public policy and city planning to encourage that.

For other forms of urban renewal that cause social justice issues, things are a bit clearer. It's easy to see how public policy choices to give large loans to outside investors, landlords, and the like leave the current residents stranded without any support at all. One possibility is to require the outside investors to also spend effort on improving the community, rather than just the parts that they see as money making. If they're going to benefit from public support in the form of loans and grants of land, let them also spend their money towards the public good and improve infrastructure. (This has more or less been the argument of the people in the hill district as the new arena went up: Go ahead and build the arena, but spend some money on schools and other public goods in the area. Don't just dump a lot of money on a thing that will only be used by visitors, and call that "urban redevelopment" when you're leaving this entire neighborhood right next door to rot.)

Problems like this aren't easy to solve. They're not even easy to characterize. But the first step to finding a solution is thinking about the problem, and figuring out what you think things *ought* to be like. How can we balance the needs of everyone in our community? How can we avoid improving neighborhoods only by driving the current residents [em]out[/em] of those neighborhoods?

If you have these concepts in your head, then if you're ever faced with a decision involving such problems, you're that much more likely to say "Oh, we should think about [em]this[/em], too" and try to come up with something, or support the attempts of others to do so. You might be that much more likely to, when you hear a local marginalized community complain that their needs as citizens are being ignored, raise your own voice to back theirs in the interest of keeping your city a more diverse, more vibrant community.

That's the point of talking about these things.

@ Trashie - The amount of gentrification happening in the CD pales in comparison to all the super-expensive condos popping up in downtown proper. While it probably wouldn't hurt to ask some of the local business owners/residents what they think, I haven't heard a lot of public outrage about that neighborhood. Of course if you're looking for an affordable neighborhood with character there are plenty of options.

Seth wrote:

FSeven I'm curious to hear your opinion on gentrification when it involves rich white folks pushing out poor white folks. Austin and Portland would be good examples.

We can also talk about hypotheticals - in two decades, Detroit will be overrun by idealistic white hipsters, who will then be displaced by rich white yuppies. Motown will probably be forgotten or re branded as Urban FarmVille and City of Authors.. The point is that while gentrification can be said to be about race, that's really only true inasmuch as the overlap of the socioeconomically disadvantaged and race makes it a fair shortcut. These things remain cyclical.

And I'm not entirely sure we can use NYC as a paradigm for how urban revitalization happens in other parts of the country. I have actually experienced the feeling of being squeezed out by a developer with deeper pockets, but it was completely public. There were no secret back room deals, just richer people with more money.

Your examples are not wrong, of course. I just hesitate to call them the standard.

Which areas of Portland and Austin?

Generally speaking, I'm against gentrification when it A) risks destroying a culturally unique neighborhood with a rich history that cannot be recreated or duplicated (Harlem and New Orleans) and B) when it displaces residents who then have no alternative (and equally affordable) living spaces within a fair proximity to the place where they've built their lives. So if either of the white areas of which you speak fall under those two categories, I am against it.

In regards to A, it's not about "we were here first, we're cool". It's about destroying the unique culture of a specific place unlike anywhere else on the planet. I really can't think of any way to make that more succinct. I don't want my kids to read about these places on the Internet or in a museum. I want to take them there and let them experience the living, breathing place firsthand. Why do these places get dismissed so easily? Is it because they are relatively young places in respect to the timeline of civilization? We revere and protect places like the Pyramids in Egypt, like Stonehenge, the Freedom Trail in Boston, etc. Why are those places any more sacrosanct than New Orleans or Harlem which are living, breathing places and are alive. Why are we so quick to kill off living culturally unique places but protect long dead ones? Some might argue that the Pyramids are important. Been there. Cool and all but personally speaking, I think Jazz for instance is a far more important gift to the world than some Pyramids. The unique human gumbo made from African, French, and Haitian cultures which gave birth to a unique culture found nowhere else in the world and which still persists is, to me, more important than a ring of stones in Scotland. These places are not just landmarks and places to see on a bus tour. The very people that inhabit these places are part of their history and unique culture.

Another aspect which may or may not be considered is that it does further entrench economic equality. Rich folks flocking to the city from their suburban McMansions and pushing those poorer than them out means the people who previously lived in that urban area will have to spend more money to commute to their jobs which were previously local, or will have to get new jobs near their new residences and in some cases start back at the bottom, abandoning positions they may have been in for years.

jdzappa wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems then to be as much a problem with big government overreach as it is with unfair market forces. The ways that some local governments aid and abet unscrupulous developers through tax hikes and even using eminent domain to build new shopping centers is something that hasn't been explored enough in this thread IMHO.

Also, my understanding from my friends in NYC is the city has very strict rent control/stabilization laws. Is that no longer the case or is Harlem a special zone? (Not trying to be confrontational with that question but honestly curious).

Two good points. Not sure on the zoning laws in regards to Harlem so I'll have to do some more research on that.

Paleocon wrote:

My point is that the term "gentrification" is a pretty blunt object that just boils down to a pejorative applied to economic development that makes the accuser butt hurt.

Disappointing that is all you are getting from this discussion.

Seth wrote:

But. Spike Lee owns a 32 million dollar mansion in Manhattan. So from where I'm standing, Mitchell Moss would be justified in calling Lee a hypocrite.

No, Lee would be a hypocrite if his 32 million dollar mansion was built on the grounds left over after razing the 500 block of Amsterdam Avenue. The Upper East Side was already one of the most affluent areas of NYC before Spike Lee moved there.

Trashie wrote:

Edit: Thinking more about this (and about some of the other problems listed above), it feels like the right approach is to try to be part of the community, respecting and supporting what's been there before me while not trying to change it to fit my own cultural preferences. However, doesn't the very act of me paying high rents now charged in the neighborhood alter the economic picture for those there first?

See, that's the attitude that Spike Lee is talking about. You're moving in and you have the frame of mind to respect and support the area instead of changing it to fit you. That's all Spike Lee and nel were referring to.

And yes. Paying your high rent changes the economic picture for those who are already there and may be getting pushed out due to increasing rents. That's something only you can decide how to perceive based on your own personal ethics.

Pragmatically speaking you could argue someone is going to pay those higher rents either way. Might as well be someone who appreciates and supports the area.

FSeven wrote:

Why do these places get dismissed so easily? Is it because they are relatively young places in respect to the timeline of civilization? We revere and protect places like the Pyramids in Egypt, like Stonehenge, the Freedom Trail in Boston, etc. Why are those places any more sacrosanct than New Orleans or Harlem which are living, breathing places and are alive. Why are we so quick to kill off living culturally unique places but protect long dead ones? Some might argue that the Pyramids are important. Been there. Cool and all but personally speaking, I think Jazz for instance is a far more important gift to the world than some Pyramids. The unique human gumbo made from African, French, and Haitian cultures which gave birth to a unique culture found nowhere else in the world and which still persists is, to me, more important than a ring of stones in Scotland. These places are not just landmarks and places to see on a bus tour. The very people that inhabit these places are part of their history and unique culture.

They're not getting dismissed, FSeven. But there's a world of difference in saying that this particular building or location is of historical interest and should be preserved versus here's four square miles of one of the largest cities on the planet that you want preserved in its entirety. Or, in the case of New Orleans, here's an entire city that you want preserved.

People change. Cities change. Societies change. Insisting that something never changes isn't going to end well.

You might personally value jazz, but it's been 80 years since anybody's been stomping at the Savoy. And you're more likely to have a drunk, overweight white girl flash her boobs at you in the French Quarter than hear really good music.

Not to mention that you're kinda assuming that everyone in Harlem or New Orleans thinks exactly as you do and they want things to stay exactly the way they are (or were, in the case of New Orleans).

I mean there's about 100,000 people who used to live in New Orleans who don't anymore. They stayed away after Katrina. Perhaps that's because your "unique human gumbo" also came with a side of crushing and concentrated poverty. And, as much as people might miss their old neighborhood, they might like the new life they've built more.

FSeven wrote:
Seth wrote:

But. Spike Lee owns a 32 million dollar mansion in Manhattan. So from where I'm standing, Mitchell Moss would be justified in calling Lee a hypocrite.

No, Lee would be a hypocrite if his 32 million dollar mansion was built on the grounds left over after razing the 500 block of Amsterdam Avenue. The Upper East Side was already one of the most affluent areas of NYC before Spike Lee moved there.

He's still a hypocrite.

Lee's argument is basically that white people are buying property in Harlem and thereby ruining the neighborhood. But when he had an opportunity to buy property, he didn't buy in Harlem. He bought in the Upper East Side. I'm going to take a guess and say that $32 million would have bought a sh*t load more than 9,000 square feet in Harlem.

If Lee had bought the property then he would have controlled it and could have preserved it as he saw fit. This really isn't any different than the tact that more and more environmentalists are taking to preserve sensitive areas: rather than fight the developers they simply buy the property and keep it out of their hands.

Had Lee taken that $32 million and started the "Do The Right Thing" Foundation to preserve and improve Harlem, I'd be listening to what he had to say. But he didn't put his money where his mouth is.

FSeven wrote:

Which areas of Portland and Austin?

We can start with Rainey Street. The neighborhood has gone from wealthy Victorians to lower middle class Mexicans to a thriving mixed use space that is currently being threatened by wealthy California transplants. Which part(s) of that 130 year evolution is gentrification?

Generally speaking, I'm against gentrification when it A) risks destroying a culturally unique neighborhood with a rich history that cannot be recreated or duplicated (Harlem and New Orleans) and B) when it displaces residents who then have no alternative (and equally affordable) living spaces within a fair proximity to the place where they've built their lives. So if either of the white areas of which you speak fall under those two categories, I am against it.

This is a fair point. Urban renewal should be done with a gentle hand, with pains taken to preserve what made a given neighborhood popular in the first place. As Hypatian pointed out, this is the narrow slice of renewal in which investment moves to an area that's already begun the process of renewal on its own.

I have a tiny, tiny quibble with living spaces remaining the same price. Living spaces should reflect the market in which they're based, and if new jobs become available, one could sustainably offer better, higher cost housing while still maintaining the title of "affordable." Tiny quibble though and if you write a paragraph saying I'm wrong I'll let it be.

I just suddenly found myself agreeing with both OG and FSeven. This is crazy - must be the falling star.

FSeven makes a great point about preserving places before they become historical relics. However, I also agree with OG that if Lee wanted to preserve his home neighborhood he had the money to do so. Instead, he just yells at the newcomers for things they probably didn't have any control over (i.e., I doubt the guy who called the cops on his dad was at the press conference). Furthermore, the homeowner he went off on during his rant is a middle class African American who had a lot to say about Lee's celebrity entitlement:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/us/new...

But Smith said there was a definite lack of balance in Lee's rant.

"I'm black, and America is America," he said. "I don't need to moan and groan about it all the time. And some things are bigger than Bed Stuy or Fort Greene or being black in Brooklyn. Gentrification is an issue everywhere. It gets right down to the whole economic scene with the super rich, the 1%, and then the other 99 % of us."

Smith said that when he bought his parents' four-story brownstone in 1989, he thought he'd be lucky to one day get $450,000 for it. "We passed that some time in the '90s," he said.

"I'm personally tired of moaning and groaning about being black," he said. "Here's a case where it has its advantages -- for the first time tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of blacks can participate in American wealth creation. My God, that's what this country is all about."

Referring to reports that Lee's 9,000-square-foot mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side is on the market for $32 million, Smith said: "Spike is a causative factor in gentrification. If Spike moves to a swamp ... that land next door goes up immediately."

Why does Lee have to spend his money to preserve something to be allowed to get mad at someone else's destruction of it? That's an absurd standard and not at all the proper use of hypocritical.

Also focusing on his actions and character instead of his words is cheap and dismissive. Is he wrong or right? This isn't the "Judge Spike Lee" thread.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Why does Lee have to spend his money to preserve something to be allowed to get mad at someone else's destruction of it? That's an absurd standard and not at all the proper use of hypocritical.

My guess would be because he is one of the few people who cares about what is happening and also has the resources to do something about it. If someone in that position isn't willing to do something why should any one else?

SixteenBlue wrote:

Also focusing on his actions and character instead of his words is cheap and dismissive. Is he wrong or right? This isn't the "Judge Spike Lee" thread.

How is it cheap and dismissive? Is it fair to denounce developers for developing a neighborhood when you're just as guilty as they are?

Also up till now, no one mentioned how terrible 25th Hour was, so we're doing a good job focusing only on his actions that are directly involved in the discussion of gentrification.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Why does Lee have to spend his money to preserve something to be allowed to get mad at someone else's destruction of it? That's an absurd standard and not at all the proper use of hypocritical.

What's absurd is claiming that people investing in a neighborhood--renovating the homes, opening new businesses--is really a destructive act.

What's absurd is claiming that Harlem property owners should be prevented from doing anything with their property that alters their neighborhood's "character.

Is Harlem's character the 1920s and 1930s jazz and swing hotspot for Manhattan's rich and famous? Is it a nostalgic remembrance of the days of the Harlem Renaissance? Is it the days of protest and civil rights activism? Is it the days of urban blight in the 1970s? That's the problem. Different people are going to have very different ideas of what, exactly, is the unique character of Harlem.

Lee had the means to prevent the very thing he's bitching about (well, a least a portion of it). Instead of doing that, he bought a $32 million mansion in the Upper East Side (one that previously sold for about half that).

So he's perfectly OK with contributing to the increase in housing costs in the Upper East Side--a sort of gentrification for the gentry--but railed against people who had less than $32 million to spend on their homes whose only real crime was doing exactly the same thing as he did. That is the very definition of hypocritical.

OG_slinger wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Why does Lee have to spend his money to preserve something to be allowed to get mad at someone else's destruction of it? That's an absurd standard and not at all the proper use of hypocritical.

What's absurd is claiming that people investing in a neighborhood--renovating the homes, opening new businesses--is really a destructive act.

What's absurd is claiming that Harlem property owners should be prevented from doing anything with their property that alters their neighborhood's "character.

Is Harlem's character the 1920s and 1930s jazz and swing hotspot for Manhattan's rich and famous? Is it a nostalgic remembrance of the days of the Harlem Renaissance? Is it the days of protest and civil rights activism? Is it the days of urban blight in the 1970s? That's the problem. Different people are going to have very different ideas of what, exactly, is the unique character of Harlem.

Lee had the means to prevent the very thing he's bitching about (well, a least a portion of it). Instead of doing that, he bought a $32 million mansion in the Upper East Side (one that previously sold for about half that).

So he's perfectly OK with contributing to the increase in housing costs in the Upper East Side--a sort of gentrification for the gentry--but railed against people who had less than $32 million to spend on their homes whose only real crime was doing exactly the same thing as he did. That is the very definition of hypocritical.

Preach it, brother!

Folks in DC have been saying the same thing about the Ethiopians moving into the Petworth neighborhood for years.

Still trying to get my brain around how the "character of a neighborhood" is some kind of protected thing. I am pretty sure Fort Lee and Flushing have changed ethnic hands at least a dozen times since the 1900's and that alone is also part of the "character". The same could be said of Petworth in DC or Silver Spring, MD.

It is when folks insist in stagnation that you end up with blight.

Seth wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Also focusing on his actions and character instead of his words is cheap and dismissive. Is he wrong or right? This isn't the "Judge Spike Lee" thread.

How is it cheap and dismissive? Is it fair to denounce developers for developing a neighborhood when you're just as guilty as they are?

Also up till now, no one mentioned how terrible 25th Hour was, so we're doing a good job focusing only on his actions that are directly involved in the discussion of gentrification.

Not preserving and destroying are two different things. That was my point. He didn't gentrify Manhattan with his purchase. He just didn't use that money to stop gentrification somewhere else and that doesn't make his complains invalid.

Paleocon wrote:

Still trying to get my brain around how the "character of a neighborhood" is some kind of protected thing. I am pretty sure Fort Lee and Flushing have changed ethnic hands at least a dozen times since the 1900's and that alone is also part of the "character". The same could be said of Petworth in DC or Silver Spring, MD.

It is when folks insist in stagnation that you end up with blight.

Like I said, I don't have the answers. I just don't want to have to bring my kids to a museum to learn about the culture of these places or have them experience them as they were through old footage. I think maybe that part of your inability to wrap your brain around it lies in your comparison of the culture of Harlem and New Orleans with that of Flushing, NY or Silver Springs, MD. And that's fine but there will always be a severe disconnect in the way we perceive these places, ensuring that any discussion over it will be fruitless.

I just frown upon the dilution of anything unique and different in this country for the sake of the almighty dollar and the opening of another Walmart or strip mall, dog park, or Starbucks.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Seth wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Also focusing on his actions and character instead of his words is cheap and dismissive. Is he wrong or right? This isn't the "Judge Spike Lee" thread.

How is it cheap and dismissive? Is it fair to denounce developers for developing a neighborhood when you're just as guilty as they are?

Also up till now, no one mentioned how terrible 25th Hour was, so we're doing a good job focusing only on his actions that are directly involved in the discussion of gentrification.

Not preserving and destroying are two different things. That was my point. He didn't gentrify Manhattan with his purchase. He just didn't use that money to stop gentrification somewhere else and that doesn't make his complains invalid.

No I understood your point, I just thought it was weaker than the others pointing to his hypocrisy. The pot is completely correct in calling the kettle black, after all.