Asia Jennings-Blog #4

Asia Jennings-Blog #4

Gentrification has been practiced for a long time with a sole purpose of “bettering a community”. Although it is seen by the affluent people in society as a positive improvement to a run down community, it can effect many people negatively. The main consequence of gentrification is displacement, which is seen usually with minorities. In this article that I have picked, gentrification may be having a positive effect on this community.

In Vancouver, Canada, protests have taken place by anti-gentrification activists in the city’s Downtown Eastside. ‘Yuppies’ have decided to take action in developing their businesses by building condominiums and high-end restaurants in the neighborhood. The residents of the city are protesting against yuppies coming in. One high-end restaurant that has been picketed and protested against was called Pidgin, which used to be a vacant building. However, just today, residents, artists, business owners, and Aboriginals collectively protested against the anti-gentrification group because they are tired of the “bullying” that has been done through vandalism, arson, intimidation, and slander. This gathering against the anti-gentrification activists wanted to make a statement that businesses should be an ally to the community. Obviously this is not the view that the activists are taking.

Usually what happens when gentrification takes place is that the business owners that are the gentrifiers always see it as improving a community, such as providing jobs, and improving housing. The gentrifiers feel that residents protesting are crushing the personal aspirations of an entrepreneur who wants to develop the community by hiring local people, and renovating housing so that the community has a fresh look for attraction. Unfortunately, the poor get displaced to another run down community. Even though jobs may be provided, the disadvantaged might not be educated enough for that job, and on top of that, aren’t able to afford the housing that was built, and are forced to move to another bad community. The ‘new and improved’ community will attract other affluent people who can afford the lifestyle that, in this case, the yuppies have brought with them. Therefore, I understand where the anti-gentrification activists are looking towards, but they could get their message across less violently damaging to the city. 

This article is tied in with the contents of Sociology 133 because it gives an example of how a certain class can obtain resources that others can’t, which results in inequality. That class was the yuppies that wanted to come in and build their businesses, but other people aren’t able to make decisions like that because of financial statuses, not allowing them to have social mobility. 


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