urban renewal, rebuilding while displacing … gentrification! are you feelin it too


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Definition of GENTRIFICATION …

Gentrification is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders. pbs.org

Listening to the local news, reports are that the Seattle City Council is building a New police precinct to replace the old one. ok, Then we hear the cost started out being $160Mil is now around $149Mil and would be the most expensive police precinct ever …let me change that, it would be the most expensive in the nation…

yep, it is a WTF moment.

Oh, and let’s top that off with a city that seemed more on the side of troubled youth using diversion programs, has or is deciding to invest in the school to prison pipeline …

This plan seems like a betrayal to the residents of this great city.  Why can’t they rebuild on the old site least we ask why should we put up with this when there is a lack of housing, jobs and from just reading about this move … suffering from what appears to be secrets, lies and closed door meetings until that last public hearing. To say Seattleites are pissed at some of those folks we trusted and voted for is crazy … while gentrification seems to be in full effect. This news seems in conflict with what Seattle is about or used to be, not to mention the proposals for affordable housing being considered, discussed, possibly implemented. The plan was or is to have developers, who want to build here put money or a %  into a fund that will help pay for affordable housing or for that new “Police Precinct”?  What I want to know is if this is retroactive because common sense … how many new proposals could be in que …just saying

Oh and did you know if you want to live near great city transportation systems such as our light rail stations in the Greater Seattle area; you will be paying approximately 10% more? I have to admit hearing the City of Seattle is known for and admitted they actually tell property managers that IT professionals are the best tenants was very disappointing and makes you wonder…did they just admit to systematic discrimination and don’t care? The comment becomes clearer if you’re looking for what used to be affordable housing here and discussion with folks who now live an hour or two away taking a train or drive in from Olympia to work.  The colourful yet offensive yellow, orange and sometimes blue cranes stand tall, maybe 4 or more in certain parts of this beautiful city are being built to house folks of the IT variety among other big corporations that moved into downtown Seattle; spread out, took green space away … all of which ultimately raises rents all over the greater Seattle area. Then we heard our rents are not just higher than New York City, but highest in the nation and if that wasn’t mind boggling enough try driving through Seattle to get to point B, C or D it’s not only frustrating to see the lack of space between buildings … it’s a cluster f for sure.

The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of upper-income or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents is not new. The changing faces of the Pacific North West is quite concerning … Portland,OR once 33% white in the year 2000 is now 76% white as of the year 2016. The change raises unsettling questions for a city that prides itself on tolerance, social equity and valuing diversity, which includes Seattle, WA.;Census documents reports our State was 77% white in 2014, not far behind that concern is hearing that there were are developers possibly still asking, demanding and harassing older communities of colour into selling their homes and or lands without having a place to move to in the neighborhood let alone in the city because they are priced out.  I don’t know about you but gentrification is worth fighting against, but who really knew how bad it was or is? I knew that new development companies were pushing parts of the Pacific North West but got to say; not until after watching, “United Shades of America” point the finger at Portland did it become clear that Portland was indeed systematically involved in a change in the faces of their state. The 64 million dollar question is how did this happen? As someone who used to go to Portland a lot, it makes me want to scream. The idea that gentrification continues to be skillfully ignored, kept outta the airwaves and or swept under some rug… probably dirty from developers makes most feel helpless, but then again Seattle and Portland need their Democratic Governor and Mayor to tell their constituents why they haven’t addressed or solved this issue

… and where are they?

Below is a quote from Goodread

“In the twenty-first century, the visions of J.C. Nichols and Walt Disney have come full circle and joined. “Neighborhoods” are increasingly “developments,” corporate theme parks. But corporations aren’t interested in the messy ebb and flow of humanity. They want stability and predictable rates of return. And although racial discrimination is no longer a stated policy for real estate brokers and developers, racial and social homogeneity are still firmly embedded in America’s collective idea of stability; that’s what our new landlords are thinking even if they are not saying it. (138)”

Other reads below

― Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

 

 

Photo: using my phone ~ Nativegrl77

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2 thoughts on “urban renewal, rebuilding while displacing … gentrification! are you feelin it too”

  1. This is exactly what is happening where I live in Berlin. Old buildings (that are already inhabited) are being renovated (i.e. all personality and individuality is removed and “normal” people are kicked out). After these “improvements”, the cost of a one bedroom apartment goes from about 400€ up to 800+ € per month. Not only that, but massive high-rises are being built and a flat costs more than a million Euros. It is insane. Hello homogeneous white yuppie culture.

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