Whole Foods as Gentrification Bellwether

Whole Foods' newest store in Gowanus, Brooklyn is causing local vendors and artists to tread "a fine line" between reaching new customers and supporting what they think of as new, "big" development.

The discomfort that neighbors feel about the new Brooklyn Whole Foods continues a pattern of local resistance to the company's entrance into new markets. Whole Foods includes local products in its offerings, emphasizes environmentally friendlier building practices, and even contributes food to local schools. But, in several cities, its reputation as a predictor of neighborhood turnover has residents feeling nervous.

Elizabeth Greenspan explains, "Indeed, at a time when wealthier people are moving back to cities, and lower-income residents are getting displaced, debates about Whole Foods seem to double as debates over the very character of cities and their residents. Whole Foods rejects the idea that it targets neighborhoods primed for high-end development. 'People use us a gauge of the state of the community, and we don’t think that’s fair,' [Whole Foods spokesman, Michael] Sinatra said. But even John Mackey, the Whole Foods C.E.O., has acknowledged his company’s knack for identifying neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification."  

Full Story: A Whole Foods Grows in Brooklyn

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!