Friday, October 17, 2014

Seattle, the Incredible Shrinking City

The gentrification of your single family home at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Gentrification and migration.

Subject Article: "Scrunched in Seattle: Is this hipster hovel the future of the American city?"

Other Links: 1. "Tech Company Wagons Ho! Geography of the Urban Land Rush."
2. "Overflowing Fairfax Homes Split Neighbors."

Postscript: Read the following this morning, thinking about the connection between concerns about gentrification and NIMBYism:

Your question posits whether there is a need for more housing in East Dallas, which I find somewhat off the mark. I suspect, rather, that developers are speculating on a potentially profitable market for people who want to live here. That said, I’m OK, in general, with some new apartment and condo development in East Dallas. My support depends entirely on what is being torn down and where, plus the size and appearance of what is to be built. If the wrecking ball and huge North Texas-style developments are headed for our older, traditional, single-family homes and neighborhoods, I object. A number of Dallas developers have been steadily decimating East Dallas since the 1950s. Once upon a time, Live Oak and Ross were known as Painted Lady Rows, a beautiful gateway to downtown … leveled for parking lots, gas stations and cheap, soon blighted, commercial buildings and apartments. We almost lost the incredible Swiss Avenue in the 1970s. Then the 1990s McMansion craze began its broken-tooth effect on previously charming streetscapes. If this is another wave of destruction headed for what’s left of historic East Dallas, please, let’s exercise caution before there’s little left. Guess what’ll happen once the developers have milked their short-term profits and the market for people willing to pay to live here disappears along with the old neighborhoods and the charm?

Passive residential displacement (is that gentrification?) can take two forms. The first, being priced out of a neighborhood, is the common understanding of the term "gentrification". Less common is the kind described above in the quoted passage. The quality of the neighborhood changes and no longer feels like home. The two forms of passive residential displacement weave together, but the common thread is a sense of place (how we define home).

Turning the concept on its head, consider preemptive gentrification. I want to move my family to a neighborhood where the schools are better and the streets safer. I can't because the rent is too damn high there. But I have no standing, no claim to that place because it isn't my home. I can't afford it. Tough luck.

Being priced out of a place is quite common. It would be more common if residents didn't go through extreme measures to stay put or move into the best school district. The main rub, outside of academic considerations, concerns quality of place and sense of home. But such changes could render a neighborhood more affordable. We balk because it no longer feels like home.

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