When Gentrification Works

"Gentrification doesn't need to be something one group inflicts on another," argues New York Magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson. He talks about how NYC neighborhood like Inwood and Bed-Stuy change over time, and whether "gentrification" deserves its bad reputation.


Gentrification doesn't need to be something that one group inflicts on another; often it’s the result of aspirations everybody shares. All over the city, a small army of the earnest toils away, patiently trying to sluice some of the elitist taint off neighborhoods as they grow richer. When you’re trying to make a poor neighborhood into a nicer place to live, the prospect of turning it into a racially and economically mixed area with ­thriving stores is not a threat but a fantasy. As the cost of basic city life keeps rising, it’s more important than ever to reclaim a form of urban improvement from its malignant offshoots. A nice neighborhood should be not a luxury but an urban right.

-- Justin Davidson in New York Magazine