This article starts from the premise that gentrification means displacement — that when the Yuppies…
Amy Livingston

So first thing is that I’m using gentrification to illustrate how optimization is problematic. Gentrification is not universally bad, especially if managed properly.

A few things about these studies.

  1. They are studying the 1990s. Are you 100% sure this can extrapolate to the 21st century, which is defined by massive migration into urban areas? Furthermore, the first paper only studies New York City.
  2. The second paper is drawing some pretty sweeping conclusions from a bunch of correlations (I know because I do the same thing!) I’m skimming here but how does the study aggregate data across cities? If they’re pooling data, then one city can wash out effects from other cities. Yeah, the gentrification of Detroit is great. I totally agree that we should turn abandoned warehouses into condos. Does this imply that the gentrification of Spanish Harlem is also a good thing?
  3. Who the hell double-spaces a research paper?

Building on point 2, this is precisely what I’m talking about with decontextualization. While there are some very vocal complaints, we can dismiss all of these because of a correlative study. Some pretty weak correlations = gentrification is no problem and we should go ahead with it carte blanche.

That said, my opinion is heavily weighted by my experiences in San Francisco. San Francisco gentrification has been very negative for large numbers of people, which is admittedly not the case for all forms of gentrification.