In New York City, there have been a handful of communities that have been rapidly altering due to many different factors that play in. In the article, The End of Black Harlem, Michael Henry Adams goes on to explain how Harlem was his home for half of his life- 30 years and he has noticed it in all it’s complexities; “black America,” Senegalese immigrants, transplants from the South, and a safe haven for people fleeing oppression and seeking opportunity. People in the community who reside there for years, started to realize such small aspects such as plants being grown as a sense of improvement, but like Adams said “harboring of his own displacement,” is what it’s really called. Rents begin to increase in the neighborhood, small local and historic business are slowly shut down, luxury buildings arise, and hip restaurants begin to appear as well in East New York. This is a process of something called gentrification; a process of renewal of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of influx by more affluent residents, which causes an increases in property values and replacing low income households and small businesses. In this article, Adams also seems pretty focused on a statement he believes newcomers say often but is a myth ‘Gentrification isn’t about race but about wealth and social class.’ Even though minorities were promised equality, political reforms have not yet brought economic parity. One example of that is that the median white household is worth around $141,00 today, but a typical black persons household is worth only $11,000. Harlem as a community in NYC endures high hopes and in 2013 they were so sure they had found  a champion, Bill De Blasio who ran as mayor and promised housing affordability but unfortunately his views were far from rent control and public housing. “…We are every color, every race, every age, identity and class. In the moment, laughing, drinking and dancing together, it seems marvelous. This Harlem, this is what New York is supposed to look like, to be like. Only, most of us know that our fun times together are doomed.” (Adams, 4)

Before Gentrification in Harlem
The top image is after gentrification has begun in Harlem. This image shoes before gentrification in Harlem.
Assignment 4-8, Commummity Development/Gentrification, ,

One Comment

  1. Harlem is a great example of an area where gentrification is taking root. Many parts of New York whose former residents were considered low income are being pushed out of their neighborhoods where they lived for years. It’s very difficult for people to watch their neighborhood change and to see the people they lived with for years being pushed out of the neighborhood. Another great point you mentioned is that race does play a factor in gentrification although many people think it’s only economic factors. It is a fact that many minorities live in these poor neighborhoods that are being gentrified. This is because minorities don’t have as much access to wealth, so it is mainly whites who gentrify neighborhoods because they think it’s trendy and affordable to live in NYC (although of course it isn’t just white people, there are also minorities who come from wealth and gentrify). When you stated “In this article, Adams also seems pretty focused on a statement he believes newcomers say often but is a myth ‘Gentrification isn’t about race but about wealth and social class. Even though minorities were promised equality, political reforms have not yet brought economic parity. One example of that is that the median white household is worth around $141,00 today, but a typical black persons household is worth only $11,000. ” This is a good example of how household income affects who lives where and why. I always wonder if people who gentrify neighborhoods know how they are deeply negatively impacting the people who live there, or do they not actually realize what’s going on, or maybe they don’t care? I know they are looking for cheaper rent, just like everyone else, but if you are pushing former residents into homelessness or more impoverished neighborhoods then maybe it isn’t worth it.

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