came up while reading both Jane Jacobs and Adam Greenfield.

wikipedia on Jane:

She has been accused of inattention to racial inequality, and her concept of “unslumming” has been compared with gentrification.

from Adam’s against the smart city:

A wavefront of gentrification can open up exciting new opportunities for young homesteaders, small retailers and craft producers, but tends to displace the very people who’d given a neighborhood its character and identity.  – Adam


alex steffen on gentrification


Jacobs and Hsieh and gentrification:

Jacobs feared that this chaotic but human landscape was under threat, lost forever in the rationalizing schemes of planners who desired order rather than life.
There is no place where one is allowed to be unproductive
“Coworking” is, therefore, one of those words that needs to be approached with caution. Dismantling the walls of the traditional office space can be liberating and highly creative, but it can also deliver insecurity, division, and constant work. As community and business collapse into each other, does this leave any space in the city outside the marketplace? Is there anything except work, customer service, and the rules of 24/7 Capitalism?

Hassan Massoumi exclaimed after he lost his store when the lease was not renewed, “My wife and I came here when no one else would. For 10 years, we worked seven days a week — not one day of vacation. Then one day, Tony Hsieh’s people tell us to get out of there.”

And for those that remain: Does everyone have to buy their daily food from the Downtown 3rd Farmers’ Market? Much has been made of the private schools and nurseries such as the 9th that use revolutionary educational techniques, but these cost up to $12,000 a year. It is telling that little is said about the parents who can’t afford these rates. Despite the marketing, this is the opposite of a diverse neighborhood in the making. Like so many examples of gentrification, these are the subtle mechanisms that sort out the unwanted from the desirable.


via Matt Bruenig..

When (1) a rich person and a poor person (2) vie for (3) the same resources, the rich person gets them and the poor person does not.

(1) a rich person and a poor person
Gentrification, understood as the displacement of poorer residents by richer residents, is only possible because of economic stratification. This is true by definition: without stratification, any displacement would not be done against poorer residents by richer residents because there wouldn’t be such things as poorer and richer residents, just residents.


(2) vie for
Gentrification is only possible when rich people vie for the housing units that incumbent poor people currently control. ..That is, nearly all gentrification articles concern themselves with theorizing why rich people come to vie for housing units that they formerly did not vie for. The reasons that pop out of that analysis are then often called the “causes” of gentrification, which is only sort of true depending on what one means by “cause.”

..waves of newcomers to areas — ..improve the image of the area to richer and richer people, causing them to vie for the housing units.

..developers buy up land in an area and add private services and amenities that are more attractive to richer people,

..public authorities provide public services and amenities to an area that are more attractive to richer people,

..residential preferences of (especially younger) rich people have shifted away from suburbs and towards urban centers,


Here are some common solutions people explicitly or implicitly offer to prevent richer people from vying for the housing units of poorer incumbents:

  • Reduce an area’s attractiveness to the rich. This means blocking rich-attracting development like Whole Foods stores. It also means blocking rich-attracting public services like good parks and transit options.
  • Educate richer people to not vie for the housing units. This involves telling richer people that it is morally wrong to decide to relocate to certain areas and convincing them to make the individual decision not to do so.
  • Provide advantages to incumbents that make it impossible for richer people to vie for the housing units. This can take the form of imposing rent controls that also force landlords to give incumbent residents the right to renew their lease before the landlord tries to replace them with someone else.


(3) the same resources
Finally, gentrification is only possible because rich people and poor people are vying forthe same resources, which is to say the same housing units. Although this obvious observation is closely related to element (2), it gets at a slightly different point that suggests a significantly different solution. The suggested solution is that more housing units be created in the area that rich people are vying to live in so that rich people can vie for those housing units rather than the housing units of the poor.


on gentrification and hacking the hackers:

The revised definition of the tech startup entrepreneur as a hacker forms part of an emergent system of Silicon Valley doublethink. individual startups portray themselves as ‘underdogs’ while simultaneously being aware of the enormous power and wealth the tech industry they’re a part of wields at a collective level. And so we see a gradual stripping away of the critical connotations of hacking.


We need to confront an irony here. Gentrification is a pacification process that takes the wild and puts it in frames. I believe that hacking is the reverse of that, taking the ordered rules of systems and making them fluid and wild again. Where gentrification tries to erect safe fences around things, hacker impulses try to break them down, or redefine them. These are two countervailing forces within human society. The gentrification of hacking is… well, perhaps a perfect hack.


The un-gentrified spirit of hacking should be a commons accessible to all.



The ‘Airbnb effect’: is it real, and what is it doing to a city like Amsterdam?…

Starting today, this Guardian Cities series will examine the consequences of gentrification around the world, and interrogate what is being done to tackle it. From Vancouver’s pioneering gentrification tax to the efforts of a tenants’ cooperative in Brooklyn, from housing evictions in Johannesburg to the impact of Airbnb in Amsterdam, we will hear from groups on both sides of the regeneration machine about the impacts, challenges and tactics being deployed on this ever-shifting battleground.


Peter Moskowitz ‘s how to kill a city.. on gentrification