Planning many of the older but over-crowded urban

Planning and managing
the development of contemporary cities has become one of the most important
development and societal challenges worldwide. Today, 54 per cent of the
world’s population lives in urban areas. Urban Regeneration is required in
order to maintain living standards in many of the older but over-crowded urban
core. In order to increase the positive social, economic and environmental
facets of the urban society and reduce the negative ones, urban planning is
vital to fulfil a sustainable and secure “urban” future.

Since the 1990s, there
is subsequently a concern that the outcome of regeneration policy in cities has
been gentrification. The trend to
gentrification had become strong and today this is one of the most significant
trends in the urban development (UN News Centre, 2014).

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Gentrification is a term that has come to refer to the
movement of affluent, usually young, middle class residents into run-down
inner-city areas. The effect is that these areas become socially, economically
and environmentally upgraded ( Hall T., 2006, pg 147). Giving a more update
definition of gentrification, Stacey Sutton on What we don’t understand about
gentrification, says that The term gentrification refers to processes
by which higher income or higher status people relocate to or invest in low
income urban neighbourhoods… in doing so they inflate property values, displace
low income people and fundamentally alter the character and culture of the
neighbourhood. The most kind of adverse of act of gentrification is
displacement.

While Hall sees
gentrification as a positive thing, Stacey Sutton sees it as a negative thing,
saying that fundamentally gentrification is a social justice problem.

Sharon Zukin, a professor of sociology who specialises in
modern urban life, describes these changes as the authentic social character of
urban spaces that get constantly invented and reinvented all over again.
Zukin  advocates that authenticity has
become a cultural form of power over space, that serves gentrification purposes.
As the influx of upper-income or affluent people impose their culture on the
neighbourhood, lower-income residents become economically and socially
marginalised. This can lead to “resentment and community conflict that feeds
racial and class tensions” (Zukin S., 2010). Zukin tries to draw attention to
the ugly side of the most recent transformations in the city’s places, known
for its diversity and authenticity and she describes how the spaces of Harlem,
Brooklyn and Union Square have developed from sites of declination to sites of
mass cultural consumption. For example in the case of Williamsburg, writers,
artists, musicians, and other cultural creatives followed the old ethnic
working classes that had been pushed out of SoHo and Little Italy over the
Williamsburg Bridge to create a funky neighbourhood of bistros, performance
spaces, and boutiques. The gritty character, ethnic diversity and eclectic
spirit that attracted the initial urban pioneers is overtaken by chain stores,
overpriced brunch menus and iPad-tapping hipsters. Those are the kind of
noticeable social effects that can’t be quantified by statistics, but feed a
growing antipathy for gentrification and gentrifiers.

Ruth Glass, the British
sociologist who first introduced the term in 1964 wrote “One by one many of the working-class quarters have been invaded by the
middle classes…Once this process of ‘gentrification’ starts in a district, it
goes on rapidly until all or most of the original working class occupiers are
displaced, and the whole social character of the district has changed.”
(Ruth G., 1964).

Rebecca Solnit in her
article “Death by gentrification” says that gentrification can be fatal. She
wrote about a  latino man who was killed
by police in San Francisco. That man died because a series of white men saw him
as a menacing intruder in the place he had spent his whole life. San Francisco
is now a cruel place and a divided one. 83% of California’s homes, and 100% of
San Francisco’s, were unaffordable on a teacher’s salary. Displacement has
contributed to deaths, particularly of the elderly, wrote Solnit in The
Guardian.

Gentrification is that
overall, it’s a negative not a positive thing says Loretta Lees on
“Gentrification and what can be done to stop it”. She was talking about Spike
Lee who was asking “What happens to the people, where do they go?” And she
responds that council estates are redeveloped as mixed income communities when
the middle classes are about to move in and the lower classes are moved out,
they’re displaced. She goes on saying that what you get it is not social
mixing, what you get is gentrification and social segregation.

In fact, the poor are
vulnerable to the negative impact of gentrification. First of all, they have to
move from their traditional residential areas to new ones, where they have to
start a new life and where conditions of living are worse compared to the
communities they used to live in. Furthermore, as the poor have to move to a
new residential area, they often have to change their workplace because they
cannot always afford covering transportation costs or the schedule of their
work makes their work impossible.

In such a situation,
representatives of the low-income and working class can face another problem,
the problem of high crime rates in areas. Having no means for living, the poor
are forced to commit crimes to earn for living and to afford living in a new
community, where they move to from communities now inhabited by representatives
of the middle class mainly.

Another social problem
representatives of the lower class face is the lack of access to education. In
fact, as they are removed from traditional residential areas, where they used
to live, the poor have to develop their life in new communities and areas,
which are often underdeveloped.

The urban development is vulnerable to the growing impact of
gentrification. It is worth mentioning the fact that the process of
gentrification emerges under the impact of multiple factors, including economic
and social ones and the process of globalization, which stimulate consistent
changes in urban development. At the same time, the process of urban
development leads to socioeconomic and demographic changes, provoked by the
gentrification. Gentrification has become an emotionally charged term. For some, it’s a
toxin, displacing existing lower-income residents and destroying community. For
others, it’s a balm, improving and revitalizing neighbourhoods desperately in
need of it. 

 

Refferences

Hall, T. (2006) Urban
Geography

Lees, L. Gentrification
and what can be done to stop it

UN News Centre (2014)
More than half of world’s population now living in urban areas

Ruth, G. (1964) London:
aspects of change

Sutton, S.  What we don’t understand about gentrification

Solnit, R. Death by
gentrification, The Guardian

Zukin, S. (2010) Naked
City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places