Gentrification Is a Hard Problem

A 577-unit market-rate development planned for the Crenshaw district in Los Angeles.Los Angeles Department of City Planning

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Gentrification has been a flash point in race relations for some time now. In Los Angeles it’s an endless battle, with activists fighting to keep everything from skid row to historically black neighborhoods out of the hands of the rich. One councilmember not only wants to reject a housing proposal proposed for an empty lot in his district, he wants to establish “anti-displacement zones”—which probably means rent control—around all upscale housing developments.

It’s a difficult issue because it’s so easy to see both sides. On the one hand, longtime residents really do get pushed out as rents go up and affluent white folks move in. It seems obviously unfair to toss that onto the bonfire of all the other abuses and inequities that blacks and Hispanics already suffer. On the other hand, can we really say that low-income areas should stay low-income areas forever and never be improved? That hardly seems like a great answer either.

I don’t have anything new to offer on this front except to recommend this story from the Washington Post. It focuses on one particular area of grievance, but it does a good job of laying it out from multiple points of view and without trying to put all the blame on one side or one thing. In a small way, you will probably understand the issue a little better if you read it, and that’s something I so rarely get to say these days.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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