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

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 $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95