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Newcomers cause housing headaches in New York, North Dakota

April 11, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
I sympathize with people in low-income neighborhoods in New York City who are being displaced by gentrifying neighbors who can pay higher prices for housing.

As wealthier neighbors move into places like Bushwick or Flatbush, many longtime neighborhood residents unable to pay the higher rents must move. Their community life is disrupted, family and friends no longer live next door, and their normal ways of doing things may be disrupted by new neighbors who have different ideas of what is appropriate. The same thing has been happening in western North Dakota, where people who have lived here all their lives are being forced out by higher rents and an overall higher cost of living and must deal with increased traffic and crime and all the other headaches that come with a growing population. People don't appreciate it when the new neighbors try to change the way things have always been done. There ought to be more affordable housing options for people in those neighborhoods in both New York and North Dakota.

But does any of this change qualify as "violence?" Not in any dictionary I've read. I'd say it's capitalism at work. Some people are winners, others losers. While I don't always think pure capitalism is an entirely good thing, I also don't think it qualifies as violence unless someone is forcing a neighborhood resident to move at gunpoint. But Daniel Jose Older, in a piece written for Salon and republished at Alternet that can be found at http://www.alternet.org/violence-gentrification-american-cities, has an altogether different take on such things. "Gentrification is violence," he opines in the piece entitled "The Violence of Gentrification in American Cities." "Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities."

His definition of violence is one that is popular only in certain left-wing academic circles. Most other people will find it either incomprehensible or tiresome. It's also unlikely to make his appeal any more attractive to people who might be in a position to help those low-income residents afford to remain in Flatbush. But, at the same time, he makes a good point about the damage that can be done unintentionally by newcomers to a long-established community.

What solutions, if any, do you see for the housing problems in these communities?

 
 

Article Comments

(9)

AndreaJohnson

Apr-17-14 7:09 PM

His definition of "violence" does seem to be common in certain academic circles. And yes, I do fear what will happen if people with this particular world view come to real power.

MattRothchild

Apr-16-14 10:45 AM

Anyway, back to the original topic...

This bizarre new definition of "violence" should trouble us all. Sometimes when people do their thing, it's disruptive to the world around them. Every single innovation of any sort has proven to be disruptive in some way to the way of life of another. Example: was the rise in automobile ownership an act of "violence" committed by car manufacturers against horsedrawn wagon producers?

If we buy into this new definition of "violece", it will establish a needed excuse for the political ruling class to bring criminal charges against anyone who innovates without their permission. After all, we cannot have all of these unapproved disruptions destabilizing our favored (insert something here).

Frightening indeed when you see the real endgame. And yet while all of this is going on in front of your faces, you want to play shortsighted games of arguing over illegal immigration from Mexico? You're playing right into their

EarlyBird

Apr-16-14 9:23 AM

Time waits for nobody. I say open the border with Mexico so all the rich republican people will move there with their business and employees in tow and we will take their workers up here, be a real good trade.

concerned

Apr-15-14 11:23 PM

New York at least has rent control laws unlike North Dakota......

locomotive

Apr-15-14 11:07 AM

Perhaps there were Republicans that believed Democrats?

Silly them

JackAaah

Apr-15-14 8:06 AM

At least Reagan moved forword with us of the left, believing us when we said our legislation would 'fix' the illegal problem......we love pulling that 'Lucy' on those Republicans....seems we will be able to do that forever.

locomotive

Apr-14-14 9:27 PM

Great posts, all. I especially like the "secure the border" thought.

redneck

Apr-14-14 1:53 PM

when i was a kid we kept the keys in the pickup just incase sombody in the neighborhod needed it, and a mans word was worth something,

angeR69

Apr-14-14 12:05 AM

New York. North Dakota. Kind of a microcosm of a much bigger problem, isn't it?

"Their community life is disrupted, family and friends no longer live next door, and their normal ways of doing things may be disrupted by new neighbors who have different ideas of what is appropriate."

Secure our border with Mexico. Every Congress and every administration since Reagan has failed to do this. What kind of impact do you think the invasion of millions of illegal aliens has had on our borders, language and culture?

 
 

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