When Gentrification Works

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"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