Gentrification creates a stifling homogeneity in urban areas that makes it less suited for the everyday lives of the lower class and more suited towards the leisure and tourism of those with expendable income.
An old, decrepit laundromat gets replaced by an upscale bakery? And people are mad? It’s not that the poor hate organic vegan cupcakes, it’s that most of us don’t have a way to do laundry in our own home.
Run-down corner stores replaced by hand-made designer clothing boutiques? We don’t hate your eco-fabric shawl, but I can’t eat that for dinner after work like I could have a can of beans I grabbed from that corner store when I don’t have time to take the bus to the real grocery store after work.
What gentrification brings in and of itself is not typically bad, it’s that gentrification brings institutions of leisure and pleasure and makes it so that the poor have to go farther out of their way for basic necessities. It turns low-income living spaces into local tourist attractions. It can even create food deserts by putting restaurants, grocery stores, etc. in that the majority of the lower class cannot afford.
Imagine if someone totally renovated your house and turned it into a mini theme park – they took away your sleeping space, where you prepare food, where you clean yourself and get ready for your day, and replaced it with things that will please people who are visiting, who have their own homes they can go back to, who are here not for their entire life but just as a distraction from their otherwise mundane existence. It’s not that you hate theme parks, it’s not like you’ve never been to a theme park and vow to never visit one again. It’s just that you need to live! To survive! And the leisure of those who have more than you should not invalidate your existence.
I am glad this has made the rounds. Some people feel a dense misunderstanding or misinterpretation concerning gentrification, and I think it helps to hear a description/explanation of what gentrification is from those who are both affected by it and educated by the culture from which it hails. I and many others enjoy some of the delights of gentrification while simultaneously having their livelihoods threatened by it.