Degentrification, gentrification and something to think about

Frozen Tropics pointed it out and Richard Layman did too, the NY Mag article about a neighborhood that seemed as if it was going to get gentrified, but is now heading in the opposite direction. I enjoyed reading the article as well as the comments at the Curbed blog that shed some light on the Red Hook neighborhood.
I can’t really talk about a neighborhood I know nothing about, but the idea of de-gentrification is curious. Of course, the question is has gentrification occurred in the case of Red Hook, or was it really strong wishful thinking? And if a neighborhood is gentrifying and then the process is stalled indefinitely, is that de-gentrification, or does it only count if the neighborhood reached a gentrfied point? To me degentrification seems to hint at disinvestment, but reading the NY Magazine article, they appear to define it as something else.
Today I got an email from the folks over at Neighbors Project with their 7 Rules for Talking About Gentrification and they make some excellent points. I especially like #2. Get your history right. I’ll call Shaw an historically Black neighborhood, mainly because it a) in it’s most recent history been predominately African American, and b) the history bonus points of notables come from the Black History basket. Yet I will totally acknowledge that once you go further back than 1930, Shaw is mixed, if not white.
Flipping around on their site I found a link to some Instructable guides they produced. Some are so simple that it should be like ‘duh’, such as “How to Pick Up Trash In Front of Your Home.” But I guess if you lived somewhere where this was never an issue, then a how-to is in order. (My excuse for not cleaning up in front of my house, I’m just lazy) They have some other guides like “How to be a trick-or-treat stop for apartment-dwellers“; “How to Shop at a Downtown Farmers Market”; and “How to say hi to a stranger on the street“. These guides, though a little dorky, can help people integrate into the neighborhood and foster neighborly-ness.
Check out their 7 Rules, what do you think?

5 thoughts on “Degentrification, gentrification and something to think about”

  1. But not all. Some are more than happy to be good neighbors. Mt. Sinai opens its basement to BACA and did so for PSA meetings when they met there. I wonder if a guide can be created to teach church leaders and members to be good or better neighbors?
    Talking in person is better than screaming on-line. One of the reasons I like keeping topics local and to the neighborhood AND not allowing a lot of anon postings is that I increase the chances of meeting people in person. That chance of running into people in person hopefully keeps the discussion somewhat civil.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for soliciting feedback on our “7 Rules for Talking about Gentrification” and how-to guides. We’d definitely love to hear from anyone who has ideas on how to improve the rules and how-to items. And you’re absolutely right, we start by assuming that people know absolutely nothing about living in a city neighborhood. Which of course is far from true in most cases.

    Kit Hodge
    Neighbors Project

  3. Hysterical — I read some of the “how to” guides, including how to clean up in front of your house. We are getting better about this on my block, but it helps to have some tools.

    Red Hook comparable to SE DC? Maybe I misread that comment, but I have to disagree. Red Hook is under the Gowanus overpass. While I was snarled in Hamilton Ave traffic en route to Thanksgiving dinner, I had a good hard look at the area. The infrastructure really has done Red Hook a disservice, but all ports lost relevance in the era of the tractor trailer. The whole Red Hook reputation is based on an older, earlier way of life.
    SE DC has many more buses and metro stops than this part of Bklyn. I’d have to suspect there are greatly different patterns of race and ethnicity, but don’t know enough data to be specific.

Comments are closed.