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Coastal Charms and Resource Riches

The disappearance of the identity of given settlements is as interesting as the formation of the same settlements. Before looking into reasons why the identity of a given city is fading away, it pays to take a look at the circumstances that led to the establishment of that settlement. There exists many reasons as to why humans choose to conglomerate in a specific location. Perhaps the most important reason is the proximity to the ocean. This argument stems from the fact that fourteen of the world’s largest cities are located right next to the sea. These cities are Bangkok, Jarkata, Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Osaka, New York, Karachi, Buenos Aires, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, and Rio De Janeiro. Oceans, since time immemorial, has come out as the most budget-friendly means of ferrying goods over long distances. This is what has attracted millions of earth inhabitants to make homes near the coast. Another equally important reason is the location of natural resources. Natural resources are the driving force behind a city’s population. Natural resources include natural gas, petroleum, forests, freshwater bodies, minerals, salt, and good agricultural soil. People use these resources to sustain their lives.

Yet another good reason for the formation of settlements is the presence of mountains. Mountains ideally create a natural barrier against attack by other communities. This particular aspect was very important in ancient times. Mountains also are characterized by the presence of a variety of natural resources, including flora, fauna, and other inanimate resources. Though mountains are a great obstacle to transport, the abundance of natural resources outweighs the transport difficulties, and therefore, people choose to settle near the mountains.

Climate is yet another major reason for human settlement. Statistics tell us that 85 % of the largest cities in the world are located in the Northern Hemisphere. This is attributed to the fact that lands in the Northern Hemisphere span more in the East-West direction, which is contrary to the lands in the Southern Hemisphere which span more in the North-South direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, the climate is more likely to be constant across vast pieces of land. The opposite is witnessed in the Southern Hemisphere. Lastly, settlements develop through the ten-mile rule. Surveyors in the US have concluded that the average distance between any two adjacent pre-industrial towns is about 10 to 15 miles. These were formed way before the invention of cars. Since people mostly walked on foot, they could only manage a maximum of 5 miles. For this reason, settlements formed approximately 10 - 15 miles from each other. These settlements had basic services that the dwellers required on a day to day basis, including food stores and banking services. For several such settlements, one of them supposedly grew to be a sphere of influence, perhaps due to its strategic location. The sphere of influence refers to that town that offers more specialized services that are not present in the other small towns, such as hospitals.


Once these settlements are formed, history tells us that they do not last forever. In the course of time, the settlements are either transformed into more affluent standards or in worst cases abandoned entirely. The transformation of settlements from their former state to higher standards is referred to as gentrification. This essay will focus on the varying dimensions of gentrification. The borough of Hackney Wick will be used for a case study.

What is gentrification?

Gentrification loosely refers to the infiltration of wealthier people in an existing low-income neighborhood. This definition already exhibits some degree of negativity. It is implied that the poor veterans are being displaced by the wealthy outsiders. That is the face value of gentrification and is the reason why it is such a complex and controversial aspect of urban development (Freeman, 2005).

According to Ehrenhalt (2015), gentrification is the displacement of the poor, mostly people of color. This is to some extent the reality. In most big cities, the whites occupy the poshest areas, whereas people of color occupy low standard neighborhoods. This is purely out of affordability issues and the need to stay in well-knit communities. But then the population bursts and the high-end residential areas can no longer accommodate all the wealthy individuals. The best option at such a point is changing the character of the poor neighborhoods to accommodate the rich.

In another dimension, gentrification can be viewed as the rapid development of an urban center. This is normally characterized by inflated home prices and eviction of the original dwellers.

Gentrification is not a new trend as such. It started way back in the 3rd century AD in ancient Rome. Then, small-scale shops were being replaced with giant villas. However, the first person to use the word “gentrification was British sociologist Ruth Glass. This was in 1964. Then, the middle-income workers in London were fast taking over low-income neighborhoods such as Islington. The district of Islington was majorly comprised of rickety one-story wooden houses. When their lease period came to an end, the workers who by then were making decent income transformed these ramshackle residences into more presentable houses. This process goes on until nearly all the low-income earners are replaced with the middle-income earners. When this happens, the entire social traits of the settlement changes because of the new class of people (Glass, 1964).

  1. Freeman, Displacement or Succession? (Urban Affairs Review, 2005), 463
  2. Ehrenhalt, What, Exactly, Is Gentrification?
  3. In a report titled Health Effects of gentrification, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) gave a slightly different definition for gentrification - the conversion of settlements from mediocre worth to significant worth. It is implied in the same report that gentrification can literally displace the pioneer residents of a given region. When the houses are upgraded, rent rates and property taxes soar high to a level that the pioneers can no longer afford. This forces them to move out and look for cheaper alternatives. The once run-down districts transform into affluent neighborhoods. In case the pioneers were predominantly of a given race, their replacement by another race is often viewed as racism.

    After Ruth Glass’ definition of gentrification in 1964, quite a number of definitions have been proposed by different academicians. The definitions clearly show whether one is against gentrification or supports gentrification. One notable pro-gentrification definition was put across by Hackworth (2002). He defined gentrification as the continuous creation of space for the more moneyed individuals. This in a sense supports gentrification. His definition does not include the aspect of the low-income earners who previously occupied the area in question. It is somehow implied that houses are being built in virgin land without any existing structures. This is rarely the case. It is hard to find non-occupied land around a city. The affluent workers most probably are employed in the city and they need to live in good homes close to their places of work. Virgin land, in most cases, can only be found in rural areas or further away from the city.

  4. CDC, Health Effects of Gentrification
  5. Kasman (2015) gave a definition that portrays his bitterness against gentrification. He defined gentrification as the cutting down of inexpensive residential and retail space that the low-income earners can afford. His focus is on the low-income earners who are literally being displaced. When the inexpensive houses they used to live in and do business in are demolished, the low-income individuals are forced to vacate their area of residence and retreat to other affordable areas.

    Rose (1996) gave a more neutral definition of gentrification. She defined gentrification as the gradual process in which the workers with improved earnings make homes in low standard neighborhoods and proceed to physically improve them and culturally influence them. This view of gentrification implies a non-malicious move by workers who have recently started making better money than they used to. Because of their financial ability, they occupy run-down residential areas and renovate the buildings therein and/or build new better structures.

    Finally, Lin (2017) views gentrification as a natural cycle. As workers start getting a better income, they start shunning old houses and desire to live in new houses. In every city, new houses are continuously developed. The middle-class workers occupy these houses with the effect of the old houses lacking tenants and becoming economic burdens. In a bid to cater to the inclination of the residents towards better housing, the owners of the old houses upgrade them to better standards or destroy them and set up new buildings. This naturally pushes up the rental rates. The new middle-income earners who can afford such move into these houses. Those who cannot afford the rent relocate elsewhere. New structures eventually rise up in the areas where they relocated and the low-income earners are again forced to move further away from the city. The new developments keep pushing out the poor farther away from the city.

  6. Hackworth, Postrecession Gentrification in New York City, (Urban Affairs Review, 2002), 815-843.
  7. Kasman, Speers, & Siemens, Public policy and gentrification in the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood of Vancouver, B.C.
  8. Causes of gentrification

    Gentrification is a result of a number of factors. According to Palen & London (1984), there are 5 major causes of gentrification namely i) Demographic-ecological reasons, ii) Social-cultural reasons, iii) Political-economical reasons, iv) Community networks, and v) Social movements.

    Demographic-ecological reasons

    Demographic factors point to the socioeconomic traits of the population, including sex, age, income level, education level, occupation, marital status, birth rate, religion, family size, death rate, and age of marriage, among others. Of particular interest is the number of residents aged between 25 and 35 years. This age group greatly increased in numbers during the 1970s. The effect was a steep rise in the demand for houses. The rate at which new houses were being developed was quite slow compared to the influx of these youths into the cities. This age group is characteristically different from their parents. The parents to these youths typically had large size families, with more than 5 children. Their salaries were also generally not that good compared to what the new generation was earning. In most cases, the father used to work while the mother managed home affairs. As such, the fathers and mothers to this generation of youths could only afford cheap housing. They also needed a neighborhood where they could take their children to inexpensive schools for their education. The new generation was characterized by both spouses working and generally one or two children per household, or no children at all. This generation also preferred to live as close as possible to their places of work. They, therefore, infiltrated inner-city neighborhoods that were previously occupied by the older generation. The new generation had the ability to pay higher rent than the older generation. When the landlords are confronted with such a situation, they definitely opt to accommodate the ones willing to pay higher rents. This influence spreads across the entire neighborhood. To cope with the demands of the new generation of workers, the landlords are forced to upgrade their houses. With time, an area that was once occupied by low-income earners becomes an abode of the more affluent in society.

    Social-cultural reasons

    Gentrification can also be caused by social-cultural factors. Using the same example of the rise of the new generation of workers during the 1970s, the social-cultural aspect is evidently exhibited. Rather than a mere rise in incomes, the new generation had quite a different set of attitudes and lifestyle choices from their parents. While the parents found comfort in rural areas and city suburbs, the new generation preferred inner-city neighborhoods. For this reason, the 25-35 years age group moved into the cities as a more appropriate place to live in.

    Political-economic reasons

    It is alleged that neighbourhoods have been gentrified due to political and economic reasons. This can be viewed in two different ways - the traditional view and the Marxist view. The traditional view holds that gentrification came about naturally as a result of new political ideas. Towards the 1970s, there were widespread campaigns to end discrimination in both job acquisition and choice of area of residence. Originally, more whites occupied the city suburbs as land and homeowners. The blacks had no property of their own and therefore rented houses within the city. When the anti-discrimination laws were passed, whites embraced the idea of settling in the cities and the blacks likewise had no issue with moving to the suburbs. At the same time, periurban land was gradually becoming scarce and rental rates were soaring higher and higher. This drove even more whites to move into the cities to look for budget-friendly houses.

  9. Palen & London, Gentrification, displacement, and neighborhood revitalization, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984).
  10. Palen & London, Gentrification, displacement, and neighborhood revitalization
  11. The Marxist view holds that the political aspect of gentrification is premeditated. The inner city is first labeled as neglected. Influential individuals and groups go on to stage bold campaigns to stop the perceived neglect of such neighborhoods. At the back of their minds, they know that they can reap great benefits when the government changes its policy on such areas. When their efforts succeed, private enterprises are allowed to move into the inner city and reform them into better standards. Slowly but sure, the inner city blossoms with high end residential houses which generate considerable revenue to the influential groups and persons. In the end, the vulnerable veterans have no option but to leave the inner city and look for shelter elsewhere.

    Community networks

    According to London and Palen (1984), gentrification also comes as a result of the loss of significance of a given neighborhood. Imagine a low-income neighborhood right next to a gigantic city. High standard roads are being built to connect the city to other towns and cities. Technological advance has made the city a hub of technology, where virtually everything is handled technology-wise. Houses are connected to the gas pipeline, electricity, and fiber optic cables for internet connection. Tarmacked roads are being built to link the houses to the main highways. The low-income neighborhood is thus slowly being rendered useless and uneconomical. It does not add up to supply all the above-mentioned services to ramshackle residences. First, they may not be able to afford the services. Second, they may find little use of some of the services. For this reason, the standard of housing changes correspondingly to the improvement of infrastructure. The revitalization of these suburban residential areas invites a new community of people who can cope with the standards. The pioneers are slowly pushed out to other inexpensive districts farther away from the city.

    Social movements

    London and Panel (1984) finally pointed out social movements as another cause of gentrification. As the world advances, a given neighbourhood is likely to have a group of elites concerned with the improvement of dilapidated areas of residence. Such individuals start pro-gentrification campaigns and gain followers who support the main course. On the other end of the divide are those who do not support gentrification. Such are the men and women who maybe own property in the run-down neighborhoods, but due to their financial capability, they are unable to upgrade to the required standards, and so fear that their property will be taken away. From history, such resistance has many times proved unsuccessful. The voice of the elite seems much stronger than that of the opposers. This way, the shabby suburbs end up being gentrified and the veterans displaced.

    Effects of gentrification

  12. Palen & London, Gentrification, displacement, and neighborhood revitalization
  13. Palen & London, Gentrification, displacement, and neighborhood revitalization
  14. Gentrification has both negative and positive effects. These effects affect both old residents and new residents. Of importance to ask is the social cost of such economic growth. This is because gentrification mostly involves the renovation and upgrading of deteriorated neighborhoods, as well as the introduction of new social amenities never witnessed before in the neighborhood - things such as luxury parks, malls, high-end entertainment joints, schools, hospitals, etc. Gentrification also involves the conversion of old industrial buildings into housing units. Many old industries have closed down due to change in technology or change in policies, leaving entire industrial areas to be fully occupied by the people who used to work in the industries. In other scenarios, the government of a given country used to provide affordable housing for civil servants near the workplace. Such houses are literally that way - affordable - meaning their standards are generally low, and they do not have many facilities. As population growth intensifies, the government becomes no longer able to provide housing to all its workers. The employees are instead provided with house and transport allowance to facilitate their comfortable stay and movement to and from their homes. This invites business-minded individuals to cash in on the demand for houses. Once they build presentable dwelling units, government workers rush to occupy them. The once prestigious housing units provided by the government become detestable and workers start shifting from them. In the end, the areas with government houses become neglected and start deteriorating - both the houses and the infrastructure around. In another twist of events, the government sells the dwelling units to private investors. These businessmen renovate and expand the deteriorating units. They once again become habitable, but this time around the rents are higher and the houses are privately owned. Only the financially sound households move into these rehabilitated units, the able individuals survive, whereas the financially disabled persons quit. Such movements greatly affect society. It is a fact that gentrification is an indication of economic development, but the negative effect on the social setup of the community may be greater than ever thought.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted the following profound effects of gentrification:

    Positive effects of gentrification

    Government incentives for property owners

    As earlier indicated, the government may intentionally desire to upgrade a given neighborhood to improve the outlook of the city to both the residents and foreign visitors. Since the property owners may not have adequate financial resources for the required upgrades, the government may choose to give them incentives for such development. This comes as a great joy to property owners. Private developers may also be given incentives to ensure such deteriorated areas gain a good look within the stipulated timelines.

    Reduced crime

    Rundown neighborhoods are associated with high levels of the crime rate. The bad characters in society generally find their way to such areas because of the low rent rates and relaxed scrutiny by the local authorities. It is in such areas they can safely hide from the arm of the government. Such characters include drug addicts, street families, and prostitutes, among many others. Since their income many times does not provide for all their needs, they resort to crime in order to make ends meet. When such deteriorated neighbourhoods are upgraded, the levels of crime consequently go down.

    Restoration of deteriorated areas

    Deteriorated neighborhoods are never stable socially or politically. Due to the problems associated with such areas, there is always a movement of families in and out of the neighborhood. Some fear for their lives, others need more secure districts, others get fed up with the lifestyle of such areas, and others close their businesses for better jobs elsewhere. It is in short survival for the fittest. It is difficult for such communities to thrive. Gentrification makes families settled and the general society stable.

    Better property value

    When the infrastructure in a previously dilapidated area is improved, the property value consequently goes up. Gentrification brings with it better roads, connection to electricity, connection to water supply, connection to cable internet, connection to gas supply from the municipal, etc. With better property value, the owners get better returns.

    Improved consumer purchasing power

    The local businesses in gentrified areas get a boost when middle-income earners occupy the once rickety neighborhoods. This class of people has a higher purchasing power than low-income earners. They buy goods and subscribe to services and are willing to pay higher prices for these. The local businesses greatly benefit from this change and likewise improve their standards to measure up to the rising demand for their products.

  15. Lees, Slater, & Wyly, The gentrification reader, (London: Routledge, 2010).
  16. CDC, Health Effects of Gentrification
  17. Lees, Slater, & Wyly, The gentrification reader,
  18. Less strain on infrastructure

    Generally, low-income neighborhoods tend to be overcrowded. Families live in one or two-bedroom units with probably a large number of kids. The result is a strain on the local infrastructure. Water is used in excess within a small area of residence. Electricity has to be supplied to numerous small units to a point it becomes non-economical. Contrary to this, the upgraded dwelling units will usually have two or more bedrooms with bigger room sizes. In addition to this, such developments come with large parking areas to cater for those who drive. Parks and playgrounds are also provided for family leisure time. The population density, therefore, goes down. This reduces the strain on local infrastructure.

    Improved intermingling of different social classes

    In most cities, the ramshackle inner cities are predominantly occupied by people of color while the whites live in secluded suburbs. Such a divide is never healthy for society. With gentrification, the whites live in the same neighborhood as the people of color. The two races do business together. Such a social mix is very necessary for the development of any country.

    Negative effects of gentrification


  19. Atkinson, Gentrification in a global context (London: Routledge, 2008).
  20. CDC, Health Effects of Gentrification
  21. Atkinson, Gentrification in a global context
  22. According to Hamnett (1991), one of the most dreaded effects of gentrification is the displacement of the working class. As the more moneyed families move into a poorer residential district, supply and demand forces lead to a rise in the cost of housing. Low-income individuals opt to move out of these areas to other budget-friendly neighborhoods.

    Freeman (2005), however, has a different argument. He claims that the low-income earners may not as such move out of gentrifying areas. Gentrification comes with improved security for the residents. For this reason, the low-income earners may overlook the rising cost of houses and choose to remain there to enjoy the low rates of crime.

    Increased homelessness

    Gentrification has many times been fought because of the ill manner in which it treats the homeless. A good number of gentrifying areas house the homeless in society. When these areas get upgraded, the homeless are forced to look for other hideouts. Low-income earners may also be rendered homeless if they can no longer afford the new rents. Since there are no low-income houses coming up around the city, the number of homeless people continues to rise.

    Weakened community cohesion

    Improved social mix was earlier stated as a positive effect of gentrification. Freeman (2006) has a different view from this. According to him, gentrification brings together people of different financial status, educational level, race, and cultural backgrounds. This leads to a polarization of the population on the aforementioned grounds. These two classes of people will neve freely intermingle. Furthermore, the more affluent individuals exhibit a different pattern of consumption than what was there before the gentrification process. Coupled with many other differences between the two classes, the result is a conflict of interest. Instead of social integration, the community becomes even more divided.

  23. Smith & Williams, Gentrification of the City, (Hoboken: Routledge, 2013).
  24. Unsustainable property prices

    Most gentrification is happening at a time when the cost of construction is unbearably high. As much as the construction companies may try, putting up low-cost structures may not be as practical as thought. To recover the costs incurred in building the houses, the developers sell or rent the houses at correspondingly high rates. The rates may at times be so high that very few individuals can afford it. Such buildings may end up unoccupied for quite long periods of time.

    Lower voter turn out

    Non-gentrified areas are characterized by well-knit communities that can unanimously stand in support for a given political aspirant as they are normally faced with similar problems. They tend to elect a leader who promises to address their needs. Communication between the different households is also very healthy, with many of them being relatives. When a new crop of people comes in, the cohesion suffers a great blow. Communication lines are broken because of an influx of people with very different backgrounds. The new entrants may not relate to the aspiring leaders. After all, they already live in upgraded houses with better infrastructure. A political leader who was once greatly supported by the community may run the risk of losing his seat because of reduced support.

    The case of Hackney Wick

  25. Michelich, K. The impact of Ohio exurban gentrification on voter participation in township trustee elections.
  26. CDC, Health Effects of Gentrification
  27. Michelich, K. The impact of Ohio exurban gentrification on voter participation in township trustee elections.
  28. Hackney Wick, in conjunction with Fish Island, is a very appropriate case study for gentrification. Hackney Wick is strategically located between the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the culturally dynamic East End in London. It lies about 6.8 km to the Northeast of gigantic Charing Cross, where six major routes meet. Before the London 2012 Olympics, census officials estimated its population at slightly below 12,000 people. It lies to the west of the River Lea, which is one of the largest rivers in London. Also next to Hackney Wick is the Waltham Forest. This strategic location of Hackney Wick makes it quite an area of interest.

    History of Hackney Wick

    Before Hackney Wick became habitable, it used to flood every now and then, given that it is located in a river valley. The government constructed canals to drain the marshy areas around Hackney Wick. This reduced the flooding instances, and therefore Hackney Wick became habitable. Local communities used to graze cattle in the marshy fields.

    By the early 20th century, Hackney Wick had grown in population, with quite a number of industries established. Most of the residents were poor to very poor, at least according to Booth (1980). Hackney Wick housed an enormous silk industry from as early as 1811. Another notable industry was set up by Alexander Parkes to manufacture Parkesine which is the world’s earliest form of synthetic plastic. The famous oil distiller Carless was also started in Hackney Wick. Other industries set up in Hackney Wick include Medola Blue Dye, Clarnico for the manufacture of confectionaries, and dry cleaning.

  29. Brickfields History of Hackney Wick
  30. From this industrial time, Hackney Wick began experiencing changes. During the 1960s, the government rehabilitated Hackney Wick to become Trowbridge Estate. This was owned by the Greater London Council. Most of the houses were single-story. The officials also built seven residential blocks, each with 21 floors. Moving on to the 1980s, the buildings done by the Greater London Council had quickly gotten to a bad state. A number of structures were demolished in the 1990s to pave way for new houses.

    Fast forward to the 2011 census, the official report was given as follows: Total population of 11,734 people; a total land area of 1.6 million square meters; a population density of 7,190 persons per square kilometer; a total of 4, 802 households; about 17 % households with married couples; about 37 % households with single men and women; about 20 % households with lone parents; about 9% households with come-we-stay couples; about 48 % whites in the population; about 32 % blacks; about 11% mixed race dwellers; about 9 % British Asian residents; about 50 % Christians; about 13 % Muslims, about 2 % Buddhists; about 1 % Jews; about 25 % with no specific religion; about 2 % Sikhs, Hindus and unknown religion.

    The former industrial factories and godowns have since been occupied by a mixture of different professional artists, musicians, carpenters, metal workers, painting studios, etc. As of now, there are about 1,000 studios spread across Hackney Wick. These artists were attracted by the low rental rates and availability of vast spaces for their trade. Nearly all the industries were closed either due to change in technology or change in policies. With the industries gone, their big factories were left vacant and appropriate use had to be crafted. Artists moved in droves and now they occupy most of the buildings.

    During the years leading to the London 2012 Olympics, Hackney Wick experienced rapid changes. In 2005, London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics. From that time the country started implementing major infrastructural changes to create a lasting impression on both the visitors and the residents. This was boldly dubbed the London Olympic Legacy. After the Olympics were gone, a number of residential locations were established within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The establishment of these residential houses has spilled over to Hackney Wick. In the years that followed, Hackney Wick became earmarked for the construction of mixed-use flats with both residential units and retail space. To pave way for these, quite a number of the studios have so far been demolished. Furseth (2018) reports that only about a third of the studios remain intact, but which are also in anticipation of demolition.

    The residents of Hackney Wick are largely against such demolitions of their working dens. Most of them fault the government for not sticking to their promise of putting the interests of the locals as a priority both before, during, and after the Olympics. They claim the construction of such mixed-use developments can in no way benefit the locals. For instance, the average sale price of a sizeable retail space is a whopping 400,000 GBP. In terms of renting, workspaces are going for an average of 25-35 GBP per square foot. In their opinion, no artist can afford this. Some of the artists recall how they have been forced to move out of some neighborhoods in London as a result of an increase in rental rates. It seems that Hackney Wick is not their first experience with gentrification. As a matter of fact, most of the artists intend to relocate to other shabby parts of London to re-establish their businesses.

  31. Furseth, The battle to save east London: is this finally the end?
  32. The recent developments in Hackney Wick led the residents to stage the Save Hackney Wick campaign. Hackney Wick has for over 20 years been known as the area where artists make things. It was, in fact, the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe. The anti-gentrification supporters fought for close to 2 years to stop the demolition of the studios. Of particular concern was the Vittoria Wharf studio warehouse which was scheduled for demolition to pave way for a bridge. The residents do not see the need for a bridge. However, the London Legacy Development Corporation insists that this bridge must be constructed. The approval for the H16 bridge was finally made and its construction is underway.

    It has now become evident that there is very little that the Hackney Wick residents can do to stops the plans by the government. All they can do is watch and wait for the uneventful. When the remaining studios are demolished, they will have no option but to relocate. According to LLDC (2014), a total of 18,740 square meters of workspace will be preserved for the low-income earners. Within the same area, there will be an equally large market-rate workspace. Their intention is a mixed setup where the original residents operate at a low cost while the new entrants rent spaces at the prevailing market rates. The original residents, however, feel already cheated. When they go inquiring for workspaces to let, the high figures quoted simply put them off.

    Another thing they decry is the breaking up of the connection they so long enjoyed. Furseth (2018) reports that artists really supported each other’s works. They used to talk a lot about work whenever they had time. They used to attend each other’s expos to support the work. With the recent developments, they simply wonder what life will be like without such support. It is unlikely that the artists will again end up in the same location. With over 3,500 of them set to relocate, the future is quite dull for them.

    On the other side, the new entrants were enthralled by the popular artistry culture they would witness right in their neighborhood whatever time they desire. Little do they know that the very artists creating such beautiful works will no longer be available once their studios are all destroyed and they can no longer afford to live there.

    My take

    After closely considering the arguments from both sides, it is clear that both the original residents and the new residents plus the government have valid points. There is no way particular neighborhoods will continue to exist in the lowest of standards because of the perceived low costs. What the common man refers to as low cost may not be low when viewed from a wider angle. Ramshackle neighborhoods are usually characterized by low health standards. The living conditions in such rundown areas are many times not fit for human dwelling. The houses were probably designed long ago with no much thought of human comfort. You will realize that some of these houses are dark even during the day. Some are damp and extremely cold even during the hotter months. Others have leaking roofs, letting in rain in considerable quantities. Plumbing fixtures in such houses is nearly non-existent. Waste disposal systems also leave a lot to be desired. With such conditions, the health of the dwellers remains at risk. In the event that they contract related diseases, many of the victims end up suffering a lot because of the lack of funds to pay for treatment. In addition, such shabby neighborhoods house criminals. The residents stay in a continual state of fear over their lives and property. The criminal elements extend their deeds to neighboring residential areas and commercial districts. Such a state of affairs is not desirable at all. The low-income earners are simply forced to cope with the conditions because of their inability to afford better places.

    Order Now

    It is the role of the government to help low-income earners out of this mess. Many times the government means well but their intentions are normally overtaken by crooked individuals who have undue influence and ulterior motives. What starts as a project to improve deteriorated neighborhoods quickly turns into cold business which naturally throws the working-class population in limbo. In business, the consumer with the highest purchasing power always wins. This remains a fact and it cannot be changed. What the government can do is to specifically plan for the low-income earners. Before the upgrading of a rickety neighborhood begins, the concerned authorities should consider the effects of the change on the original residents and craft a working plan for them. For instance, they can facilitate their relocation to a better neighborhood with equally affordable houses. The government can also preserve a given area within the gentrifying neighborhood to house the original residents. If this is done with transparency, the locals will have no reason to oppose development.

    In conclusion

    Gentrification is such a multi-faceted phenomenon that is viewed by different people from extremely different viewpoints. Right from its definition, gentrification comes out as a complex subject of discussion. Scholars have not yet been able to settle on one definition of gentrification. Most definitions are influenced by whether the scholar is for or against gentrification. Those who are pro-gentrification tend to lean on the development aspect of gentrification. Those who are against gentrification tend to lean towards the discrimination aspect of gentrification.

    Nonetheless, numerous neighborhoods in the UK and the world at large have experienced gentrification. In most cases, it has been to the advantage of the new entrants and to the disadvantage of the original residents of the shabby residential districts. The new entrants, because of their financial ability, have been able to settle in the newly developed housing units. Having small families, the new entrants largely enjoy the convenience of the gentrified neighborhoods. These are usually close to their places of work, and so they do not strain to travel over long distances to report to work. They also enjoy upgraded services like water, electricity, cable TV, fiber optic internet, call networks, waste disposal systems, and gas supply. In addition, they enjoy improved infrastructure, including better roads, leisure parks, quality eateries, and social halls.

    Contrary to this, the original residents have always suffered the most. With an increased standard of living, the low-income earners opt to leave the gentrified neighborhoods for more affordable areas. They mostly lose their business since they are usually involved in small scale businesses right where they live. For those employed in the cities, they may have to cope with longer traveling distances to their places of work once they relocate. The once well-knit communities are broken up. Human ties get severed and extended families lose the personal touch they once had.

    For those neighborhoods where gentrification has been carried out responsibly, both the new entrants and the original residents have been equally satisfied. As such, gentrification is both good and bad. If handled in a responsible manner, it satisfies all the concerned stakeholders. If carried out without much thought on the effects, it might do more harm than good.


    Atkinson, R. (2008). Gentrification in a global context. London: Routledge.

    Baxter, H. (2009). Toward a theory of gentrification. Oxford, Ohio: Miami University.

    DeSena, J. (2009). Gentrification and inequality in Brooklyn. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    Freeman, L. (2005). Displacement or Succession?. Urban Affairs Review, 40(4), 463-491. doi: 10.1177/1078087404273341

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