Why Gentrification Is Good
"Contrary to received wisdom among so-called progressives and community advocates, gentrification is good for poor people. A classic example of needless conflict is currently playing out in New York City.
The recent certification by New York's Department of City Planning of Columbia University's rezoning application for its plan to build a new section of its campus in West Harlem initiates a public review process that no doubt promises to be a contentious, rhetoric-filled negotiation. In fact, no sooner had Columbia University made its first public announcement then activists, both from the Harlem community and within Columbia itself, started their not unpredictable protests against expansionism, displacement, and, worst of all, the dreaded ‘gentrification' that might define Harlem's future.
But characteristic of their complaints is a misunderstanding of what actually happens in a gentrifying community, how, despite bringing significant change to the social and economic fabric of the community, the process of gentrification will result in positive, tangible benefits for Harlem's 300,000 residents. For a community perennially wracked with poverty, disenfranchisement, and despair, this is an end result that, one would think, all would embrace."