One definition of gentrification is “the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.” While renovation and improvement both sound like positive things, the effects of gentrification are not positive for all.
Neighborhood changes such as the addition of bars, restaurants, waterfronts or even extended transit, may indicate to less advantaged households that they should remain stagnant in the face of gentrification, or move out of the city to more affordable locations. Therefore, it can reasonably be said that gentrification leads to displacement, which is a problem expanding in many cities, especially in the Charleston area.
On March 21st, Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) held an event called The Miseducation of Gentrification, a forum that encouraged all in the community to discuss the issues, and opportunities, that come along with gentrification and rapid growth.
The three areas of primary interest to the audience were housing, social responsibility and economic development.
While there are no easy solutions, most participants felt the event was a great conversation starter. One attendee said, “I believe that this is the tip of the iceberg. Many more conversations need to happen [to make a change].”
Some other observations from attendees were that they found it extremely helpful and anticipated the second in a series of four forums CPN’s Community Engagement Council will be organizing.
Whether living in the Neck Area or just close enough, it’s easy to feel the waves and effects of the growing gentrification issue.