Benefits and Negative Effects of Gentrification

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Changes to neighborhoods, cities, and communities are considered to be inevitable, but usually gradual. However, now there is a wave of gentrification inundating former ethnic enclaves and working-class neighborhoods in every city from coast to coast. The mechanism entails renovation and rebuilding cities in deteriorating areas along with a massive influx of affluent or middle-class individuals.. This rapid phenomenon is having profound economic, political and demographic effects on American and even international cities.

The debate about gentrification raises uncomfortable issues. While the mechanism has direct positive impacts on the affluent new residents, the process comes with detrimental outcomes for the long-term poor residents who reside in these communities. While gentrification does offer improvements such as safety and increased sales for some local businesses, its financial impact benefits only a few, it displaces long-term residents, negatively affects public health; therefore, gentrification is harmful and negatively affects residents of communities.

Although gentrification does bring benefits to a fortunate few, it is really a detriment to the majority of residents for many reasons. People just need to be left alone to do as they please without the influence of corporations and government tax incentives. The negative outcomes of gentrification can be discussed in the lenses of. Shifts continue to occur in numerous neighborhoods, and many scholars have documented the social and economic effects of gentrification. Venis et al. report that Hispanic neighborhoods have drastically become whiter and wealthier. For example, their study explains that between 2000 and 2010, the population of African Americans in Harlem has decreased by around 15, 000 (Venis et al. 1).

At the same time, the population of whites has increased in the area with about 10,000 people. Besides, the medium income in the region has increased with approximately 6%. The elderly particularly become affected by gentrification due to a higher likelihood of displacement caused by them living on a fixed income, which can lead to homelessness or a strain on their families. The process increases the demand for wealthier households which drives the prices high and increase the cost of the houses. Again, gentrification leads to augmented values of the property such as land and an increase in the property tax. While this is a benefit for the fortunate homeowners, it is of no help to long-time renters who now face a dramatic rent increase (Florida).

Cohort studies signal that the lack of concentrations of similar ethnic densities in an area adversely impacts the mental health of the people. The negative outcome arises from the changes in the stress recovery and social support. Gentrification is associated with the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) due to increase depressive symptoms that correlates with the changes in the ethnic identities. The local communities become depressed due to increase pressure on the local economic and social resources. The demographic change in the neighborhoods results in health inequalities which are reflected in the shifts in the demographic population. A study in London revealed that between 1981 and 1991, many professional and wealthy individuals moved to the inner city and the sharp changes affected the mortality and morbidity rates and thus positive health outcomes (Venis et al., 2). These health benefits are significantly lessened by the effects caused by the people who are forced into worse neighborhoods, many of which have worse medical care.

The alterations in the structure and composition of age group impacts on the social cohesion, financial reimbursement, resource allocations and quality of life. One of the major fears that relate with gentrification is the displacement of the long-term local residents. The gentrified regions get exposed to high developments in population and the density of people increases. As a result, the problem of housing and competition on the local resources exacerbates forcing displacement. Undisputedly, the rich wealthier people outbid the poor individuals when they move to the gentrified places.

Gentrification is termed to be one of the major stressors that affect the residents. The mechanism leads to the displacement of long-term community structures. The method also reinforces the concept of racism and discrimination. Gentrification increases the social and financial pressures in the long term local residence which also leads to stress. With displacements, the long-term local residents are involuntary moved from their dwelling places due to changes such as rising cost of housing, change in customs, and climate. The traditional activities that were embraced in the past become irrelevant, and the introduction of new norms also change the neighborhoods. Introduction of new cultural practices builds resentment in the local residents as it leads to social exclusion. Gentrified neighborhoods remain segregated and worsen the health inequalities. The mechanism reinforces the inferiority, racial and economic power structures which entrench in the social problems. The fear of displacement also leads to undue mental health problems, especially depression and severe anxiety (Coscarelli).

Gentrified communities experience food and housing insecurities, feeling of exclusion, homelessness, and disenfranchisement. The long-term residents feel that they are pressured financially to leave their homes. The increase in the burden of rent and other necessities such as medical care and food creates feelings of discrimination. This negatively affects the mental health of the long-term dwellers (Freeman 6). The wealthier newcomers drastically put upward pressure on the housing market, and the owners are forced to upgrade their properties which later translated to an increase in the property tax.

The eviction of the local renters is also negative consequence. Again, the local residents who suffer from chronic diseases such as HIV have little access to medical services. Indeed, the severe financial hardship couples with insecurities in regards to food which leads to social exclusion. Studies indicate that this form of discrimination ignite structural violence and adversely impacts on the health outcome. It forces the local residents to vacate and gives privilege to the newcomers. This fosters a state of discriminatory behavior. The poor neighborhoods are usually converted to high-end neighborhoods and lead to expensive houses.

McKinnish et al. indicates that gentrification on the non-white neighborhoods creates regions which are predominantly attracted to the middle-class black people (McKinnish et al. 5). The neighborhoods start to experience income gains and promote a racially diverse environment. However, he indicates that the phenomena come with rising housing costs. The researchers emphasize that gentrification leads to displacement even though the regions experience massive income growth. The study goes ahead to showcase that in the recent past, there has been a significant increase in gentrification census and generate disproportionate consequences to the residents.

The phenomenon of gentrification has to be addressed to eliminate the negative effects that are associated with gentrification particularly on the long-term residents. The process is a reality and directly affects individuals and their families which influences their wellbeing. It is thus necessary to prioritize on avoiding the adverse health effects. More efforts should be directed at protecting the long-standing communities. The policies drafted need to secure and stabilize the rent rates and safeguard the accessibility to homeownership. Since many can’t afford the Fairways and Whole Foods that move into their neighborhoods, they are more likely to choose unhealthy food options like fast food because they are affordable.

The government should advocate for affordable food access through incentives that make healthy and affordable options economically friendly. There has to be an intention to facilitate social engagement between the old and the new communities. Social exchange can be supported through new community growth and development processes. Besides, incentives have to be created for both the new and the old residents for them to invest in real estate to lower the increasing rental prices. The government should endorse activities that will seek to promote the culture, tradition, and norms of the local residents. Indeed, the process of gentrification can be beneficial in the long run is the recommended strategies are taken into consideration (Florida).

In another research, Kellogg provides an interesting study where he illustrates the association between residential housing patterns, mass incarnation, and crime as a result of gentrification (Kellogg 2). According to the study, the government has a big role in promoting the formalization of the link through the policy formulated. The policies formulated play a great role in promoting residential segregation and deconstruction of low-income communities (Seckan 2). Gentrification is an issue that has taken forefront media coverage. The central urban neighborhoods have undergone disinvestment as well as an economic decline due to the experience of a rapid reversal of popular opinion.

Gentrification is also linked with periods of increased crime until resident incomes rise. There has been an increase in the prison population in the gentrified areas due to increase in the war on drugs in poor neighborhoods. The report indicates that 29% of the prison population are African Americans (Kellogg 6). The wide range of social issues including trends in the housing market are termed to be factors that contribute to the rise in incarceration rates. “The government is considered to be in the context of crime and promotes mass incarceration which later leads to a discourse on the residential housing patterns.”(Kellogg 5) Studies show that crime tends to concentrate in the urban areas and record an increase in violent crimes, which lead to more attributes of police states (Buhayar and Krause-Jackson).

The social disorganization shows that crime becomes more evident in the urban areas as the regions lack adequate social control and thus disinvestment. Gentrification only brings increased surveillance and police scrutiny to poorer neighborhoods. The deadly symbiosis ignites a social mechanism that aims to control the poor African American regions. The newcomers push the low-income communities away to the downtown regions and create a concentration in the ghetto areas. In these regions, there are fewer public resources, services, and special amenities (Kellogg 5). Thus, the concepts promote some aspect of self-selected residential segregation which leads to the fabrication of the society. Notably, the housing market is a reflection of the societal values system.

While crime rates often decrease gentrifying areas, this is often so because the crime is displaced, along with the poorer residents, to poorer neighborhoods. Discussion indicates centralization in crimes due to the phenomena, and this “brings increased surveillance and a lack of understanding around existing cultural behaviors and norms to formerly urban areas” (Kellogg 6). It is also sad to note that the schools in urban areas and the public housing have increasingly become militarized. Additionally, the cycles of poverty, incarceration, and crime counter the productive effects of gentrification. Undoubtedly, the prevalence of mass incarceration impacts on the stigmatization in the prisons along with the informal social control in the community.

Imprisonment, for example, takes fathers away from their families and therefore do not play their roles as role models. Studies comparing state incarceration rates and state welfare spending indicate that many states spend more on welfare and consequently register lower incarceration rates (Kellogg 7). However, zero-tolerance policies disproportionately affect the poor communities who are mainly minorities. Criminalization of the local cultural behaviors helps to drive mass incarceration and essentially creates policies that promote residential segregation. Gentrification creates in-migration of college graduates, and systematic cohort studies show that income in the gentrified regions increases. Papachristos indicates that the geographical spread of gentrification is a prominent symbol (Papachristos 7).

There has been growth in the coffee shops which provide a measure of economic development and exchange in the consumption patterns. Gentrification is a sign of economic growth, and this brings positive changes that alter numerous aspects of daily life, especially on a superficial level. Renovation of the buildings and parks makes them appear beautiful and thus attractive to the residents, potential buyers, potential renters and tourists, but it does not benefit the local residents who are displaced by the high rents. Furthermore, some argue that there is an economic advantage related to the creation of jobs, which increases due to the rise in the construction activities. These construction workers frequently patronize local businesses, which can inject new life into the local economy.

However, construction is only temporary; it is not a viable long-term solution to high unemployment. Some point out that new businesses often move into vacant storefronts to accommodate the influx of new residents. While this is beneficial for the new residents, these businesses may not cater to the older community or may be too expensive. Another economic benefit mentioned is that when property taxes increase it creates more revenue to be distributed to city services including public schools (Gould 12). Gentrification is beneficial as it creates rapid economic investment and development. It causes shifts in local neighborhoods and increases socioeconomic status, ethnic integration, and racial diversity.

The mechanism positively impacts the institutional resources including creation of centers, recreation sites, and schools. It also benefits collective socialization such as role modeling and intergenerational interaction. The formerly disenfranchised neighborhoods benefit from changes in aspects such as a rise in the tax revenue, empowerment, vocalization, and politicization which also improved the community standards. Theses improvements in the social status enhances the living standards. More importantly, the influx of young professionals in the neighborhoods ignites numerous social changes on the institutional structures.

For example, while these neighborhoods once had little voice in local government, the influx of newer residents are often highly educated and know how to work the political system to their advantage, leading to better social services in the neighborhood for all (Florida). At least that is the narrative passed along from gentrification’s proponents. They do not mention the fact that these improvements in social services only benefit its long-term residents if they can afford to remain there. The interaction between the various ethnic groups also leads to social cohesion. Due to population increase, the government also increases its attention to safety measures in attempts to protect the residents and reduce the rate of crime.

The phenomenon leads to policies that are beneficial to the community (The Economist). Large development organizations work together with the government in order to create affordable housing in the gentrified areas. The destruction of the low-income communities, as well as the invasion of gentry that occur due to partnerships with the private sectors, lead to the development of the cities and land. The government prioritizes on the commercial interests of the people. The partnership between the federal and the local government concerning the real estate and development trajectories become beneficial (Gurran 4). The concept of a “poor door” negates these benefits (Coscarelli). Therefore, with most advances, there are initially some negative consequences; however, careful regulation can mitigate and solve potential pitfalls and negative side effects of gentrification in order to make it a real solution to negative environments seen with rapid development.

The reduction in the poverty rates, improved institutional structures, social amenities and creation of jobs are the positive outcomes of gentrification. These factors lead to economic growth and improved standards of living the gentrified neighborhoods. However, adverse impacts are displacement of the long-term local residents, discrimination, and change in the historical community composition. Other factors include changes in age composition, increase prices of the real estates, rent, and taxes. There is also the rise in the value of the neighborhood due to changes in perception as a result of the wealthier newcomers to the regions.

The competition on the social and economic resources become a great disadvantage to the people and cause stress that could attribute to development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Many people end up suffering from depression and other negative effects on their mental health. This defies the idea of long term progress which brings up all people instead of picking winners and losers. It is the job of the government to promote fairness and equality, not to encourage segregation and disenfranchisement.


Cite this paper

Benefits and Negative Effects of Gentrification. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/benefits-and-negative-effects-of-gentrification/



What are negative effects of gentrification?
Negative effects of gentrification can include the displacement of long-term residents and small businesses, as well as an increase in crime and decline in the quality of life in a neighborhood.
What are the positive effects of gentrification?
Gentrification can lead to the revitalization of a neighborhood, as well as an increase in property values.
What impact does gentrification have on society?
Gentrification can have a number of impacts on society, both positive and negative. On the positive side, it can lead to the revitalization of neglected or run-down urban neighborhoods. On the negative side, it can displace long-time residents and small businesses, and lead to the homogenization of once-diverse neighborhoods.
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