Tuesday, February 07, 2006

sheets in the windows

Our new town is in the process of some radical gentrification.

I happened to mention to someone how we're still settling in and have sheets temporarily hanging in the windows. She joked that we'd fit right in. It took me a second to realize she was referring to the old neighborhoods where houses are rickety and separated by chain link fences. This town used to be pretty impoverished.

Actually we do fit in. There is so much new development here, most people are slow in getting their feet on the ground and their blinds in the windows. (My favorite is the rose-adorned dining room window around the corner from us.)

Gentrification is never a delicate process, nor is it necessarily always a good thing. It helps the city make more money, and I've certainly bought into it, but it's worth reflecting on the concern that there is a lack of affordable housing. Some people are being bought out of their own neighborhoods. The price of their own land goes up, but the quality of their house is so low comparably that they can't afford to move.

In the meantime, the discrepancy between those who have and have-less is jarring. I know the region will thrive in the new development; I just hope the rest of the people survive, too.

4 Comments:

Blogger mal said...

it seems most places can either succumb to the 2nd law of thermodynamics or go "upscale". I think most are better with going upscale. (I am still not sure about the Huntington Beach redevelopment)

Knowing So Cal prices, could you have afforded a desireable home unless you had moved to a "gentrified" area?

I am dumbfounded what Dads house in OC is worth now...insane

5:51 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

No, we couldn't. It was cheaper to buy a new house 15 minutes away than to buy a 10- 20- or 30-year-old house in the town where we work. I am urban sprawl.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Col. Dr. said...

It's a universal paradox of non-collective living that, even without a zero sum outlook, the prosperity of any community comes at the expense of those who can least afford "progress".

6:17 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I wrote about this a few months ago an nealy got my head chopped off. Over-pricing is a major concern, especially in the Philadelphia area.

7:17 AM  

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