Three ways to fight gentrification

Karate is not one of the steps

Karate is not one of the steps

Everyone hates gentrification, or so they claim in comments hoping new arrivals to the neighborhood get murdered. But no one seems to have any ideas how to fight it outside of the aforementioned wishes for the murder rate to spike. The people who made My Brooklyn are pretty much experts on the topic, and after making a movie showing that gentrification is an almost unstoppable force in Brooklyn, they’ve put together some tips on how to slow it down.

1. One of the most important things you can do, whether you’re a gentrifier or a resident of the neighborhood for your whole life is to sit down and talk with each other. Or stand we guess. The important thing is making a connection with your neighbors off the bat, before each side of the argument can harden their opinion of the other as “lousy entitled hipsters” and “poors in the way of progress.” Without a community being connected to each other, every other way to fight gentrification is useless. Just don’t let the friendly chat become a haughty lecture.

2. They also point out how important it is to fight for and save public areas, like schools, parks and libraries. Demand that libraries in your neighborhood stay open and that the schools don’t become charter schools, and fight to make sure homeless shelters and soup kitchens don’t get driven out by high rent.

3. Finally, always be ready to confront elected officials, from the community boards up through Gracie Mansion. It might seem like City Council members are elected to rubber stamp giveaways to real estate developers, but there’s actually no law in the city charter that says that. Don’t forgive and forget, remember things like Christine Quinn’s proposal to cap property taxes for landlords that was so friendly to developers that even Mike Bloomberg rejected it.

They’ve got some more ideas at the My Brooklyn site, so check it out and complaining about gentrification can become doing something about it.

6 Comment

  • How to stop gentrification? The same way rape can be stopped. Only rapers can stop rape.

  • Between gentrification and redlining, I’ll take gentrification every time. Trying to put a stasis-ray on a neighborhood is only destructive, and in 30/40 years we’ll be looking back on anti-gentrification sentiment in this era the same way we look at “urban renewal” now.

  • do you have some resources about charter schools? i thought they were good things! but i don’t have kids or anything.

  • fighting gentrification really isn’t the point so much as allowing people to live out their own destinies. the best place to start is checking out the work of the wonderful group FUREE: http://www.furee.org . Oh, and they also throw the best parties, so you might want to “like” them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FUREEous

  • Hang it up already. I have been buying and flipping properties in Brooklyn for 30 years. And I am a bohemian and an art dealer. Why would I want to undo or “stop” the process that I and a handful of artists began in the 1980s. Gentrification is the outcome of our history in Brooklyn. The first generations of Brooklyn artists can point to neighborhoods where cars burned in the streets and gunfire went off at night like popcorn. These very neighborhoods are today some of the most expensive in the city. It is an extraordinary economic event in no small part the doing of artists like myself who moved to Brooklyn in the 80s and started galleries, cafes, newspapers, and so on. Why on earth would we want to disown or stall this process? It is our legacy. It is the signal urban history of the city in our times. And we started it! And if I have ruined someone’s ghetto romance with a working class Brooklyn, why is this any concern of mine?

  • If you are going to tell a story, you have to tell the whole story.
    Before a lot of these neighborhoods where poor, and lower income people moved in,they where middle class and upper class areas. Therefore gentrification is not a displacement but a return to a normal. Real estate close to city centers/parks is normally more valuable, costly than those further out. The earlier displacement was caused by discriminatory redlining of neighborhoods. The poorer people that currently own their own homes in these gentrifying neighborhoods will do well however lower income renters will be displaced.