Art Pokes Fun at Gentrification of Brooklyn


Photo: Lauren Besser

Urban artist Specter created a series of hand painted billboards that lampoons the gentrification of Brooklyn. The art is very tongue-in-cheek (don't miss the "Ghetto Fabulous Condos"), but let me ask you this: what is wrong with gentrification? What's so bad with cleaning up the neighborhood and raising property values?

Link - via Wooster Collective


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Newest 5 Comments

che - ;)

All right - I've been called out to share my point of view. That's fair. Here it is.

I'm all for gentrification (in most cases) because it generates a huge amount of economic activity. Short of war, housing and construction provide one of the biggest engines of job and wealth creation. Yes, there are bubbles that pop (Japan's, Hong Kong's and our very own real estate bubbles come to mind) but long-term appreciation in real estate value is real.

Gentrification results in new homes, new restaurants, new shops - all of which provide new jobs. Keeping a neighborhood in squalor does not.

There's a knee jerk reaction that corporations are to blame. Actually, if you want to blame someone, blame the hipsters.

The first wave of "gentrifiers" aren't corporations or real estate developers looking to make a quick buck. They are typically young "trend setters" who establish artist colonies and open small shops, bars, and restaurants in places with cheap rents (as well as industrial areas). In the 1960s, artists and hippies gentrified Manhattan. In the 1990s, gays played a big role in gentrifying San Francisco neighborhoods.

Another false charge is that gentrification is racist. This is an easy charge to make given the socio-economic status of many minorities being displaced, but it fails to take into account that gentrification occur all over the world and across racial boundaries.

(Indeed, when gay people "gentrified" San Francisco, African-American communities screamed racism - in turn, gays accused them of being homophobic)

Gentrification is also not new, folks. Roman historians recorded instances of shops and villages being replaced by villas. It is also not stopping because its part of the natural ebb and flow of urban life.
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There have been a number of interesting and non-derogatory comments with different takes on gentrification and its meaning and effect. It really would be beneficial to your community of users if you could engage while avoiding token dismissal of one commenter who can't keep their tongue (or fingers) in check.

Now that you've found out what some of your Neatoramanauts think, what about you?
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Alex: I think the phrase is "doesn't JIBE with mine" not "doesn't JIVE with mine".

Unless "jive" was used as a black reference, in which case touché.
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