The Parkview Pantera

Gentrification changes cities for the not so better

Hydiah Sylla, Co- Editor in Chief

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The city of Atlanta is rapidly growing on a day to day basis. The rapidly growing city houses many inhabitants, but in recent years some have lost their homes and cities have lost culture, to the new kid on the block: gentrification.The definition of gentrification often varies from source to source, but in short, gentrification is the reconstruction or revival of urban neighborhoods in a city through means such as new businesses, wealthier inhabitants, and increased property value. Some newly gentrified areas in Atlanta include the Old Fourth Ward, Edgewood, and the Ponce City Area, exemplifying common themes such as European style apartments with increased rents, more expensive retail. As a result, a wealthier crowd gravitates towards the area.

On the surface, gentrification sounds like a harmless way of livening up a city and making it a “better” community. However, the effects of gentrification can be quite negative and the effect on community natives is disheartening. Lower income neighborhoods have fallen victim to gentrification because of the high crime activities housed in the area; however in recent studies, it is proven that gentrification has not lead to an extremely decreased crime rate in Atlanta. According to a recent study done by AreaVibes, the overall crime rates in Atlanta between the years 2014-2015 has only decreased by 5%.

Some may argue that any decrease is better than nothing and if anything the process will have a greater long time effect than short term. However, gentrification is a never ending cycle. People that have been displaced will find a home somewhere else, build a community, crime rates many increase, the community may be seen as “bad”, and only generations later, the cycle has repeated. Some efforts have been made to provide home for this, previously placed in government housing, but at the end of the day home is not a random place you’re forced to move to. A home is place that’s seen a person’s greatest strengths/weaknesses, has meaning, and holds value in a heart that has been compromised for “a greater future”.

Gentrification is also believed to destroy the rich culture of a city. Of course, the extremity of the word “destroy” is subjective, but to some the process does take an extreme toll. Growing up I’ve always gone to the Ponce de Leon area, whether it be for a festival , dining in one of local restaurants, feeding the homeless, or just casually exploring the area with friends. Part of the reason why I love the area so much is because it is so different from Lilburn, even though the two places are only a 45 minute drive away from another. The differences are the cultures, the people, and even just the vibes. Ponce has been a target of gentrification since the mid 80’s, but in recent years the change has been marked by the building of Ponce City Market and the destruction of “Murder Kroger”. The vibes walking through Little Five Points versus inside the City Market are completely different. I enjoy both areas, but I would hate to see the Culture of Little Five Points be completely destroyed. One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. Gentrification destroys the little treasures and the places that some people call home.

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Gentrification changes cities for the not so better