Our New York correspondent Alex Frankcombe on sabbatical, looking at urban issues and how they relate to Perth
Urban Issue 1 | What Perth Can Learn from a New York Perspective on Gentrification
Gentrification: we know it when we see it, but what does it actually mean? British sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term in 1964 when she described the changing conditions in neighbourhoods around inner London in the 1950s and 1960s. Glass wrote that gentrification occurs when "working class quarters have been invaded by the middle class until all or most of the working class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed". This definition reflects what most critics of gentrification still believe about the process; that it is mostly a matter of displacing poorer and disadvantaged people from a neighbourhood. Gentrification typically occurs in run down inner city areas or failing manufacturing centres where disinvestment and urban decay create opportunities for redevelopment.
In New York, the G-word evokes strong emotions in the affected communities and it is also a symbol of wealthy white Americans displacing poorer minority communities. In East Harlem, where I am currently living, the streets are covered with posters of the proposed skyscraper development at East River Plaza (refer to image). Whilst the development won't directly displace anyone, as it will be built on top of an existing shopping centre, surrounding residents are concerned about rent spikes and large scale displacement that improved amenities will bring. East Harlem, also known as El Barrio or Spanish Harlem is one of the city's poorest districts, yet to the south is Yorkville, one of the city's wealthiest areas, making it a very attractive development opportunity.
We'd like to let you know of an exciting change here at TPG Town Planning, Urban Design and Heritage.
We have joined forces with Western Australia's only specialist place-making consultancy, Place Match, to create an exclusive one-stop shop for place creation services.
Click here for more information.