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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!