Stress Test: On the Connection Between Gentrification and Helicopter Parenting

A subject sure to hit close home to many readers: the relationship between the modern concerns of parenting and expense urban living. In other words: how gentrification leads to helicopter parenting.

August 19, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"For all the attention these close-buzzing moms and dads get in the media, helicopter parenting is actually misunderstood. It’s not a set of values. It’s a nervous condition. And one of the chief causes of this widespread malady is the rising cost of being a middle- or upper-middle-class parent in an American city," according to an article by Mercedes La Rosa.

The article is full of provocative statements, many of which comes from La Rosa's point of view as a mother living in a neighborhood of Montreal with cultural similarities to Park Slope in Brooklyn:

  • "The acceptance of helicopter parenting is, to me, part of a broader process wherein income inequality — the root cause of helicopter parenting, in my view — is coming to be considered part of the natural social order of life in the United States."
  • "Nowhere does the business of starting a family seem more fraught with social consequence than the urban American beachheads of the young professional class, those neighborhoods flush with Mommy and Me Yoga and organic baby puree."
  • "In the United States, most childcare is subject to the same market fluctuations as real estate…. In 2011, SFGate.com reported that the cost of childcare in the Bay Area had risen 21 percent in the previous three years."

The article also contrasts the Canadian experience with the American experience for what that reveals about the kinds of communities families chose to live in. The article is a long-read, with a lot more anecdotes, data, and insight offered.

Monday, August 17, 2015 in Next City

A conceptual rendering of three high-speed rail trains. The middle train is orange; the other two are black.

The California High-Speed Rail Project Illustrates America’s Transit Issues

Slow progress and a bloated budget have plagued the High-Speed Rail project linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, exposing deeper issues with American transit projects.

May 22, 2022 - Eric Carlson

Multi-Family Development

Density and Driving: A Second Look

A common argument against more compact housing is that increased population density will only reduce vehicle miles traveled at moderate levels of density, as opposed to very low-density and very high-density areas. But this might not be so.

May 22, 2022 - Michael Lewyn

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

What Role Does Health Care Play in Community Development?

Cities are economically diverse and require accessible health care systems, but this can be challenging to implement. Urban developers are working alongside health professionals to create affordable care for city residents.

May 18, 2022 - Devin Partida

Boise Idaho

Boise’s New Planning Director Warns Against 'Dysfunctional Highways'

On the heels of his stint as Atlanta’s planning director, Tim Keane says Boise should avoid following in the path of American cities that have let highway expansion and sprawl go unchecked for decades.

May 27 - Boise State Public Radio

Aerial view of single-family homes in Atlanta, Georgia suburb

Voters Reject Atlanta-Area Cityhood Proposals

After local activists whipped up concerns about forced density to promote cityhood for three wealthy Atlanta suburbs, residents voted to remain in unincorporated Cobb County.

May 27 - Bloomberg CityLab

A row of white pickup trucks at a car dealership.

Want to Drive a Big Pickup Truck in D.C.? It’s About to Get (Even More) Expensive

D.C. is considering a $500 vehicle license fee for private vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

May 27 - Bloomberg

Urban Planner

Environmental Science Associates

Land Use Field Representative - Culpeper County

Piedmont Environmental Council

Planner

City of Oakland, California

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.