Gentrification is a word with entirely too many syllables. I first encountered it in my early college days in the late 1980’s. I have seldom heard the word since, with occasional exceptions in discussions among my peers. It refers to an area trend, often in less affluent communities, of the purchase and renovation of homes and businesses.
From my perspective, gentrification has always been (and still is) a positive thing. Throughout my career I have bought, renovated, and resold a number of single family homes and, more recently, commercial buildings. To my shock, I recently encountered the word ‘gentrification’ being used in a negative context when researching an appraisal assignment near downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. The article’s use of the word was based on the contention that the process resulted in the displacement of the poor.
As though allowing the urban landscape to continue to crumble as an appropriate place for the poor to live is the righteous course of action. You won’t find a more staunch advocate for the poor than myself. But the victim mentality that embraces the status quo and declares class warfare rather than proposing reasonable solutions is a bit nauseating.
I’d like to hear your feedback. Is gentrification something good or has it rightfully become the newest four letter word?