Why Gentrification is Justified
Supporters of gentrification believe that the process is morally, socially, and economically correct. They argue that the problem is not Gentrification, but is instead the concentrated poverty of the neighborhoods where Gentrification is taking place. Further, they feel that Gentrification is a means to establishing safer, wealthier, and more accessible cities.
One of the strongest arguments of supporters is the negative effects of the concentration of low-income households in certain areas. Concentrated poverty, which is defined as any neighborhood in which at least 40% of the neighborhood lives below the poverty line, is widely accepted as a harmful situation. A lack of businesses, resources, and means for transportation, coupled with aging and inadequate infrastructure leaves the area without the ability to maintain economic efficiency. Since the neighborhood would be so expensive to recover, investors do not take the risk involved in investing healthy amounts of money into the area. The effectively means the neighborhood was not in a good situation from the start, and will not get any better in time. In recent years, this problem has increased noticeablly. Neighborhoods with high poverty rates have seen a 10.2 percent increase in the concentration of poverty, and “borderline” neighborhoods have seen a 43.1% increase. What this ultimately means is that the extremely poor are getting poorer, and the neighborhoods in which people are barely making ends meet are growing. Because there is a growing concentration, there will in turn mean a growing effect of what is called “neighborhood bias”. Since these areas have poor infrastructure, there will be a low quality of housing. Since the quality of housing is low, wealth will have no incentive to enter the area. Because wealth will not enter, new jobs and oppurtunities will not enter. In turn, the neighborhood will stagnate unless otherwise acted upon. Children growing up in these areas then find a lack of effectiveness in schooling, and the presence of crime, drugs, and violence can effect these kids’ ability to succeed. Unsuccessful children means another generation of low-income individuals to maintain this neighborhood, and ultimately, its continued stagnation. These factors are detrimental to a neighborhood’s ability to maintain and establish a healthy economic well-being, and illustrate the importance of the assistance that is needed in these areas.
Since these neighborhoods are caught in a cycle of poverty, it naturally follows that outside assistance is going to be needed to make these areas better. For supporters, this is where gentrification can offer its helping hand. By investing in a neighborhood, through the development of new housing and new businesses, supporters of gentrification believe that oppurtunities can be made for wealth to enter the area. As this wealth enters, the necessary steps can be taken to improve both infrastructure and amenities, which can effectively make the area more accessible to all people. Supporters believe that this is the main goal and end game of gentrification, and that it will do more good for these areas than can be done without it. Therefore, according to proponents of this process, gentrification is morally, socially, and economically justified.