One may not notice when the neighborhoods around us are being gentrified if we are young, due to our ignorance of such complex thing. Believe or not, here in Chicago we are the city which is most affected by gentrification, according to the 2000 census statistics. Social worries have been growing ever since the term was coined in 1964 to describe the movement of middle class families into the working class neighborhoods in London, as said by Wikipedia’s definition. Americans should be against gentrification because violence and crime is just moving from one place to the other, and jobs become scarcer.
Neighborhoods like Logan Square or Uptown have become isolated in this city from community leaders, volunteers and even block watch captains. They simply do not want to carry the burden of our streets. I used to live in a place full of Hispanics and people from different cultures in Logan Square. We eventually had to move out because rent kept rising every year around lease time. The owner’s justification was all the new stores and places around the block. Now, my family and I live at a certainly comfortable house but in a bad neighborhood. I find it very unfair that gentrification only benefits folks with white privilege or wealthy families that can afford to go to upright universities. We cannot measure the costs by matching the quality of housing and neighborhoods occupied by relocated households. Many families that are obligated to relocate face many more risks. These undesirable areas they move to affect whom their children grow up around and increases chances of being robbed or assaulted. Instead, we should focus on what can occur in the neighborhoods without the sky-high rents and taxes. This rapid gentrification of poor neighborhoods caught any organizations and groups by surprise. CRA meansCommunity Reinvestment Act (loans) and even with the help of CRA agreements, they still could not afford to stay in the area (Aardema39).
Based on a survey I conducted, I essentially asked 100 people walking/exercising along the Bloomingdale trail about their backgrounds, lives, and revenue in Chicago during the last 30 years. I strategically chose this place because it is one new construction that is a cause of gentrification along the neighborhoods it passes through. I found that more than 64% of families (mostly white) progressed into gentrified neighborhoods since they were able to afford it. They are also aware that the people that move out must face risky consequences. It is all a matter of obligation or choice. You leave the neighborhood because either you can no longer afford it or you move into it because you can afford it. Those same families were in possession of a degree as well. The majority stated that that the crime and violence rates have minimally gone down, and that there has been a noticeable change in the loitering levels. They notice, however, that as crime goes down in one neighborhood, it rises within another one. This goes to show how many wealthy people notice gentrification happening but still contribute to it even though it affects low-income people.
A different survey I directed, with 100 people again, consisted of the way poor neighborhood families were living now compared to twenty years ago. They generally answered the same since most of the residents there have been obligated to move out of gentrified neighborhoods. They stated that several young people had to rob or commit crimes to survive because there were also no companies around for them to get employment. I went to the south side around W Madison St. and S Pulaski ave.I also noticed that they really were not many stores around, there was rather more empty lots of land. I believe gentrification also has to do with which types of races reside where. They could gentrify this area but I guess they do not since it is mostly African Americans living there. I understand what cities are trying to do with this, but crime is not going to withdraw if you “fix” poor neighborhoods and transfer in middle to upper class citizens.
What used to be ethnic diversity-filled neighborhoods are now dull and basic looking. I think the beautiful part of Chicago’s is the old style buildings it has. It gives Chicago a unique look. Now many buildings on many streets are being renovated to look modern. Neighborhoods are now filled with stereotypical features such as a Starbucks or two in a neighborhood, teenage rebels, whites being successful, genius Asians, men doing all the work, and stay-at-home moms.As much as I do not agree with these stereotypes, they are vastly met in gentrified areas. One persistent issue low-income families face is the migration of jobs along with the high-income individuals. “Union members report that salaries of teachers and city employees are no longer sufficient to afford housing in Chicago” (Aardema42). Even those people that are supposed to get many benefits and good pay are facing the crisis due to gentrification. As soon as you start noticing the cracked sidewalks getting fixed and pot hole-filled streets being asphalted, know that gentrification is happening.
I believe that to diminish crime and violence the government should aim to help the poor instead of trying to satisfy the ones who in reality do not need it. They should focus on school attendance and graduation rates in schools and better activities young people would be interested in because that is our future as a city. In fact, if we do encourage our youth to remain focused in school and whatever will make them successful, this country’s economy can face a positive change. They need to realize that the problem is not the poor neighborhoods; it is the lack of funds provided for poor neighborhood schools. Essentially, the government focuses more on what does not matter such as new stores and “better looking” houses. They only want to help those who are producing them money instead of trying to help the ones in need. Helping the poor neighborhoods can lead to those families eventually becoming wealthy. Unfortunately, most Americans do not see this as a bad thing. Redevelopment, as high-income individuals see it happening, it is more likely for nearby houses to also be redeveloped. What gentrification is doing is dividing our metropolitan areas. They are moving low-income families to less desirable places to live that include bad reliance on automobile transportation, far distances to employment centers, and low ranked school districts (Charles 26).
Neighborhood watchers still standby as gentrification slowly unfolds – more housing sales, new grocery stores, a Starbucks, new paint jobs here and there. Everything is being redeveloped around us and typically; prices are at three times their original price. Neighborhoods where there are more Hispanic and African American individuals, the neighborhoods are being less redeveloped. Eventually, all wealthy people will move intro central cities and lower income people will be in non-desirable areas to live in. I believe the government will always chose whatever benefits them and the wealthy the most.