Most of the time, Decipher City will use the term “displacement” as opposed to “gentrification,” because to many people, calling the issue gentrification racializes displacement and confuses the concern. The issue is not that some people deserve to be in certain neighborhoods or that neighborhoods cease to be engaging with the absence of others. The true issue of displacement is the idea that the amenities of a city should be accessible by fewer and fewer people, and with wage stagnation, transit and food deserts, and relentless development, more long-term residents are being expelled from the city center while being charged to accommodate advantaged communities.
The most visible element of gentrification is a shift in demographics, and most of the time, the shift is racial. This is why some people are frustrated when a neighborhood is declared to be “gentrified.” However, there are also variations in educational attainment, which may currently not indicate a change in socioeconomics. Often, higher income residents replace the working class, which means that those with less are forced to commute farther for living wages. Long-standing businesses which may not have been able to receive the funds for updates and extra space may be replaced with luxury businesses by entrepreneurs with more capital to invest. Transitions in society are inevitable, but no one is pleased to be pushed out of a neighborhood to make room for someone else.
Because of shifts in housing demands, gentrified neighborhoods tend to have more people, which makes sense because there are more people. Even though there’s a perception that families are being phased out of existence, it is more true that people are simply waiting to develop families. Thus, there are more people who need more spaces to live, and the association of “family” with “house” has been sustained since the post-World War II era. Several single adults need housing, but thanks to the rise in the luxury market and wage stagnation, even people with extensive education who are currently employed have been rendered homeless. To add insult to injury, the same neighborhoods that used to sustain generations may be rendered as “trendy,” a label which draws outside investors instead of actual residents.
Finally, based on media coverage and city funding, some parts of cities receive more attention than others, and some receive more than their share of negative coverage. Crime statistics are a big part of property values, and many marginalized communities have extensive police intervention without necessarily having more crime. Unfortunately, the statistics draw down property value and neighbors, which then attracts development speculation, driving up property values. A suitable older house next door to a newer luxury house shares the same property taxes. If the resident is older, the inhabitant may not be able to afford taxes and be forced to sell for less because of the age of the home. Currently, there has been a pattern of older homes being torn down and replaced with more expensive housing.
All of these reasons explain why “displacement” is used instead of “gentrification” on Decipher City. Urban areas cannot be reserved only for the wealthy, and working classes should not have to wait until a market readjustment to afford a sustainable lifestyle. No constituents should be seen as more valuable than others, and no one deserves to be displaced.