Gentrification

Introduction

Gentrification is a term that describes a process of arrival of the wealthier residents in the urban district to make it richer, improve its infrastructure, and make it more pleasant for living. As a result, the district becomes better; the changes concern not only the renovation of apartments and houses, but also the improvement of the entire area. Nevertheless, this phenomenon is often viewed as a negative one because the new residents, who are usually the representatives of high and middle class, push out the old residents, who introduce the lower class. According to this fact, the representatives of lower class lose the opportunity to have cheap, though neglected, property that they may buy. Hence, gentrification is a negative phenomenon for people with low income, but it is a positive change for the society in general. The dilemma upon this issue increases the demand for this phenomenon’s analysis, in order to identify its contribution in the society and the shifts that it brings to the particular groups of individuals.

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Gentrification and Accumulation by Dispossession

The term gentrification is not similar to the term accumulation by dispossession. These two phenomena have many in common, but they use different methods, and their final goals are also different. First of all, it is necessary to say that accumulation by dispossession is a phenomenon that occurs on a governmental and economic level, while gentrification is a social process. In other words, the participators of gentrification process are those people who buy realty in a district with a bad reputation. As a rule, the houses in such a district have low price because their rental requirement is low. The residents are the representatives of lower class, and their income is not very high. Hence, they invest very little money in the repairmen of their realty, which makes it not very attractive for the potential buyers.
When one talks about accumulation by dispossession, it is necessary to mention that this process is occurred without a person’s desire to sell his/her house. For instance, the government decides that a particular district could be more profitable, but those people who live there do not promote the wellbeing of this district. Hence, the government loses profit because of the citizens’ indifference. Another example of accumulation by dispossession is making a tourist zone. A particular area is a very good place for the developing of middle-size business.

According to this fact, the biggest difference between gentrification and accumulation by dispossession is people’s will. In the first case, gentrification predetermines voluntary selling of the property; people make this choice according to their own desire, or because the conditions of new environment become too expensive for them. In the second case, when one talks about accumulation by dispossession, people have no choice at all; they have to sell their property according to the government's demand. Hence, gentrification has only one similar feature with accumulation by dispossession; it is the process when people sell their property since the new owners have a desire to receive some profit or other social benefits from this purchase.

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Neil Smith’s Attitude to Gentrification

Neil Smith (2005) states that, despite the positive effect that gentrification brings to the society and its contribution in the improvement of life conditions, it is still viewed as a negative effect, especially by those who become victims of this process. In my opinion, gentrification cannot be viewed only as a positive or negative phenomenon because it has equally advantages and disadvantages for both sides. On the one hand, gentrification is a beneficial phenomenon. The neglected and unkempt district turns into a prospering and pleasant place for living and development. Thus, it is difficult to state that this process has negative impact on the society.

According to this fact, I think that if a person cannot make things better, he/she should not hinder others to do that. The same things concern the process of gentrification; people who live in poor districts cannot make the place of their living better. Moreover, the things become only worse every year, and no one seems responsible for that. No doubts, one may state that they are poor and do not have such opportunities as those who use gentrification and property in a poor region. According to this fact, it is not an individual problem, but a global social challenge.

The negative side of gentrification is increasing of poverty among the indigent people. In other words, those people who were poor because of some social conditions or challenges become even poorer as a result of gentrification. They have to leave their districts and move to new areas. Despite the fact that they receive good money for their property, it does not solve their main problem, which is low income. Hence, even if they move to another district, they still are the representatives of lower class. Moreover, the increasing of gentrification phenomena leads to the decreasing of poor districts. No doubts, one may state that it is a significant advantage and a step forward towards the improving of life conditions. However, it also means that the cost of apartments in the improved districts is also higher. In other words, poor people rent the neglected houses because their price is lower than for the house in a good condition. Thus, it can be said that even the existence of neglected houses is a good and necessary phenomenon because it helps poor people to survive. If all houses will be repaired, poor people will not have a place to live because they will not have enough money to pay for such house. In this way, gentrification leads to worsening of life conditions for poor people.

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Conclusion

As a conclusion, it can be said that gentrification is a good attempt to improve the social situation in the country. However, it should be improved in order to solve the core problems, which are the poor conditions of life. Gentrification has a goal to fix the results of poverty, while it is necessary to deal with the reasons and causes. Hence, gentrification should be accomplished with some additional social programs, which will help people with low income to overcome the consequences of gentrification. Moreover, one may involve them into the process, but this time, as direct participators of this process, who will take part in the further development of their district. According to this fact, the current attitude to this phenomenon is mostly negative because it solves one problem, but increases others.

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