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Think again, 10 signs of gentrification heading your way

Signs of gentrification by definition is targeting the idea around community vulnerability.

Gentrification is an overlooked subject with some individuals who see its aspects in a positive or negative spotlight. Its impact continues to obtain underlying factors that are seen as harmless upgrades but hurt low-income families or small business owners. 

One day your neighborhood could have three bodegas on every block near you then turn into two Starbucks cafes and a Target replacing those bodegas.

Here are 10 signs to look out for in a gentrifying neighborhood.

1. Local restaurants turn into franchises

The heart and soul of neighborhoods is the diverse culture that gets communities feeling like they are at home together. When that local Columbian restaurant that has been on the corner of the block for decades becomes a Chipotle it is destruction to the community. 

gentrification sign
Kaaha Kaahiye was seen at an anti-gentrification protest on behalf of Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine. VIA Cody Nelson | MPR News

Taking away inclusion, corporate companies take this chance of vulnerability that strips away culture in creating something that they know for a fact sells. 

2. An increase in police activity is a sign of gentrification

gentrification police activity
Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

The idea of creating a “safer neighborhood” by using police activity is a big sign of gentrification. This is based on the key three factors of race, class, and property value. 

As property value goes up, the increase in wealth within neighborhoods creates the need to place more police force. Over-policing and low-level arrests would increase because the poor idea of reinvesting in neighborhoods is implanted. 

Components range from an increase of 311 calls to social control which also comes with the increase of police activity in an urban renewal environment. These aspects also consider race, targeting low-income neighborhoods which affect individuals in arrest rates and street stops. 

Next thing a neighborhood watch group is enforced and individuals are to attend.

3. Are Flea Markets the wave?

Flea markets can be seen in a positive or negative aspect. Some argue about the takeaways of small businesses within the neighborhood while some say that it is an improving touch to a local neighborhood.

As neighborhoods advance, flea markets enter in creating more weekend activities and economic increases to keep up with gentrification. 

4. Beware of Citi Bikes

One of the most commonly known signs of gentrification, Citi Bikes are seen to “fit” the standards of a gentrifying neighborhood. With neighborhoods that lack bike infrastructure, these demands are solely from wealthy real estate developers.

Some argue that most residents within minority neighborhoods do not own cars, that placing city bikes in input is a great way of transportation for residents, however, its plan is not well thought out. 

To place these bikes suggests that neighborhoods are fully equipped with key factors such as bike routes and a well-rounded plan which is not the case. These neighborhoods are fighting to restore their neighborhood infrastructure, and having these bikes is the least of their priorities. 

5. Poor schools get worse

Gentrification leaves poor schools behind and the case is often due to urban inequality. 

Poor schools lose more and more students because higher-income families have a choice in placing their children in private or “better schools.” This leaves poor schools to worsen for those who do not have the opportunity in receiving superior education and it is due to the result of past and current racial segregation.

Lack of school diversity is a huge factor in why all schools are not the same. This is from the type of education that is taught to the statistics in district test scores, segregation has impacted communities and individuals in grasping opportunities.

To add gentrification to this issue is to take away more from the minority community. 

6. When the rent increase just know that’s a sign of gentrification

An increase in rent or housing complexes that are selling quickly is a sign that gentrification is for sure heading your way. 

These quality improvements in a district are no doubt great until they create a crisis for long-time residents who can no longer afford to live in an area that they call home.  

Within gentrification, often seen are luxury condos being built and the reduction of government affordable housing. It is no doubt important to improve the infrastructure in neighborhoods that are in need, however, the bigger impact in sustainable affordable housing is key. It implies the idea that to those who are unable to afford to live within this price range, then so be it. 

Gentrification takes away the opportunity of affordable housing to those who are in need or looking for it. 

7. Local bar? More like trendy drinking spot

gentrified bar
Photo by Jenna Day on Unsplash

The longtime local bar two blocks down transforms into one of the latest cocktail social spots. Does one miss the place, or look forward to what’s trending?

Increases in new and renovated bars are a common sign of gentrification because of higher demand within gentrified neighborhoods.

Items on the menu are at a higher price point due to the increase in demand for these trends which are designed to accommodate the wealthier part of communities and residents.

8. Street art disappearing is a telltale sign of gentrification 

street art cleaning gif
Original mural by Martin Whatson.

Street art has consistently obtained the reputation of edge and danger, however, it has been an outlet for creativeness. The idea of street art does not see fit in the ideologies and plans of gentrification. 

Neighborhoods that paint over street art display an indicator of regeneration and retaining individuals in helping to build a sign of wealth. Urbanization and gentrification have a want for a certain aesthetic that does not include street art.

9. On going street construction

Photo by Sam te Kiefte on Unsplash

A district that puts time and money into repaving potholes, or updating road signs is a sign of gentrification. One can look forward to street signs turning into traffic lights along with more traffic within the area.

 Within the plans for gentrification are large amounts of traffic flow that are expected to follow which is the reasoning for these renovations.

10. An increase in tourists

These upgrades and trendy spots that come with gentrification are followed by tourists. 

An increase in tourism is seen as an urbanizing investment. Gentrification in this context sees these upgrades as an opportunity in having more tourists visit an area where they can increase economic wealth. 

The design of these neighborhoods is strategic in economic contribution. Demographics are studied and plans are placed in attracting tourists to the neighborhood. 

Gentrification is coming and the signs point towards hurting

The talk on gentrification does more harm than good with one being that its plans are not well thought through. Families and communities are affected by upgrades that are supposed to have harmless intent. 

So the next time you see the streets filled with Citi Bikes or receive a rent increase notice it is because gentrification is coming your way!

#JusticeforJunior: Shocking murder of Bronx teen is a big wake up call

If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably heard of or seen the support for Junior, a 15-year-old boy from the Bronx who was stabbed to death by a group of five gang members outside a bodega on 183rd street on Wednesday night.

Lesandro Guzman-Feliz told his mother he was going to be right back, and that he was stepping outside to hand his friend $5. He never made it back home, but instead met the face of his killers just minutes before making his way two blocks over to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he took his final breath before collapsing out front.

Gruesome images and video surveillance of the scene has caught wind all over the internet. Celebrities like Cardi B have been in observance of the tragic events and used their own platforms to spread awareness of the injustice.

Reports have surfaced now that the gang has purportedly apologized to the family,  claiming that they’d “gotten the wrong guy.”

Social media has also unearthed the video that might have started it all; a young woman and a young man having sex, with a third guy filming it. The girl may have been related to one of the members that went after Junior, who resembled the cameraman which caused his untimely death.

While the surveillance is sickening on its own, a much larger issue can be seen caught on camera, from the bodega to the hospital where Junior fled.

In the store, before he was taken outside and slashed and stabbed, were grown-ass men who watched as the young boy was dragged by his hair, “like a dog,” according to his sister, Genesis Collado-Feliz, and did nothing to stop the events from unfolding.

In the article first reported by the New York Post, the witness said,

“He tried to run into the store because he thought he’d be safe. They dragged him from the store like a dog. He is not a criminal.”

But even more disturbing is the reaction of the community at hand. Those in the bodega were not the only witnesses of the crime, nor were they the only ones who did nothing.

The entire block seemed rampant and alive as they watched the young boy die before their eyes. A couple walking hand in hand, ignoring the scene, passerbys yelling “run to the hospital,” after the killers had fled, woman filming from her balcony and shaking her head rather than calling the police, and the NYPD who stood and did nothing, watching him bleed out outside the St. Barnabas Hospital.

Chief Terence Monahan of the department said that the murder was one of the most “brutal crimes” he’d seen in 36 years of his career.

Last week’s death of XXXTentacion also unveiled the brutal reality of the chase for social media clout. XXX’s slumped, lifeless body was put on display for the world to see in a matter of minutes after his death.

As witnesses awaited the cops, one man could be seen weakly checking for XXX’s pulse, while the others stood above him with their phone camera’s out, contributing nothing to the preceding events.

This misfortune really sheds light on how society seems to prioritize the principals that are most important to us. Have we really become so consumed in technology, so blinded by our world’s computerization, that we whip out our phones to take a video, rather than calling for help?

What’s going on here? While no one is expected to throw their body in front of a machete for a stranger, could it be argued that this adversity could have been prevented, had those at the scene worked together to drive away the murderers? Called the police earlier on? Covered his wounds and taken him to the hospital, rather than watch him use what adrenaline was left in his body to run two blocks down?

While nothing can erase horrific and unjustified nature of this story, a lesson can surely be extracted — if you see someone in need of help, pick up the phone and call for some damn help.

For those looking to help Junior’s family during this time of sorrow, a GoFundMe page is up and currently accepting donations, a small token to help quell the suffering that his family is no doubt enduring.


Meet Mélan, the Bronx emcee delivering sultry vibes with an original sound

Mélan grew up in the Bronx with three brothers who had an everlasting influence on her artistic edge. Since she was a child, music was heavy in Mélan’s life.

Each of her brothers had a role they played when it came to music, hardcore hip-hop having a deep effect on her come-up, acting as a game changer for the different sounds in which she would spit bars.

Mélan describes herself as having a “rough exterior” and being attracted to “boyish things.” Her musical influences seem to reflect on her personality, as she cites dominant names in the music industry to be her top picks; Erykah Badu, Biggie, Lauryn Hill, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Eve.

Mélan recalls getting in trouble for singing long to DMX,

“I would get in trouble for rapping DMX’s lyrics especially off of ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot’ the aggressiveness, I felt like I could relate but in some of his music a presence of vulnerability.”

Mélan is not your average rapper. Her words don’t follow a typical “flow,” but instead rest over a tangled beat. Raw bars and poetic tones mix together to form a unique sound and story.

“I would describe my music to be a mixture of raw bars with a sultry hit. Also a taste of poetry. Overall, I would say it’s an old school delivery with a new school vibe, a combination of various flows.”

She hopes to claim an unorthodox style of music, due to her poetic lines.

“I hold no punches with pieces of my life in songs like ‘Lettér’ and ‘Kéép On’, where I express my imperfections in the decisions I made with my life and those who are involved. Overall, I would say it’s an old school delivery with a new school vibe, a combination of various flows that I will soon make waves in the industry.”

So far, Mélan has worked with artists Ya Boy Majik and Cadence on mixes like “Tree House Vibes Vol. 1”, where she and Majik pass a harmonious melody back and forth:

Mélan is inspired by positivity and good vibes. Through her music she hopes to simply allow people to feel good.

“I want people to know and that we can feel good even through the hard times.”

Her unique ability and style inspires her to continue making music that relates to her everyday life.

“My focus at the moment is to drop my originality. The experiences, things I’ve seen, made me always want to write poetry and now I’ve transformed into music. Knowing my talent is my reason for being on this earth keeps me accelerating on, writing my music and releasing the vibe I do.”

Mélan’s talents seem to be moving her career in the music industry forward. With plenty of support, she’s has made it her goal to extend her sound beyond the genre of rap and hip-hop.

“It’s more of a goal to get it felt to the point where it’s translated everywhere beyond just hip hop lovers, but music lovers in general.”

In the next year, she hopes to expose her name much more throughout the world.

“Next year is definitely going to be an explosion of content with a taste of everything with always a piece of my own originality. Heavy promotion on all social media outlets, and breaking my image more into the scene. I want to see my name on almost every blog just creating that buzz and keeping thriftysoul alive.”

In the start of 2018, she plans on taking her project thriftysoul to the next level, highlighting the distinctive pieces in her album.

“Outside of music, I see myself making way more collaborations with dope artists and hitting up venues where more notoriety will be given. It shall be a year where Mélan’s name will be found all over Google through one click.”

She leaves upcoming emcees with advice as confident as her persona.

“Advice I would give is to keep making music and never get defeated. People will ignore you and brush you off, but you gotta remain focused. They will notice that tenacity for sure.”

As for sense of self, her confidence, and ability to maintain her image is very apparent. For Mélan, acceptance of one’s self is the most important lesson anyone breaking into the industry can carry with them.

“Comfort within self. Staying true to your image, and letting people know you’ve accepted the lessons learned. Spread positivity and hella good vibes for the people to feel they can make it through the hard times.”

Check out thriftysoul v.2, which is promised to include visuals soon.

“I’ll be creating more music and comedic skits that I would make to broaden my audience all over. Using different elements outside of music, I would eventually combined all together to tie it into my music persona overall and build hopefully a bigger fan base.”

We’ll be sure to see plenty more creative projects from Mélan, both musical and not. After thriftysoul‘s drop, there’s no doubt that the rapper’s talent is clear to see.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what other creative outlets she will take on!