I live in Boys Town, a bustling suburb of Chicago, gentrification a city with a reputation for homosexuals, with bars, shops, and other businesses, especially for the LGBT community. More than five years ago, when I moved to Chicago, I was surprised when locals told me, “You wouldn’t want to live in Boys town 40 years ago.” It’s not hard to know that they represent the days of pre-gentrification Neighbors when residents look very different from the almost white faces you see on the streets today.
I also remember how the old man said, “when your lovers come, peace will never end.” It’s also not hard to see that “homosexuals” often refer to white people – who are inherently attracted to the same sex – and make their own financial arrangements.
Boys town may be a case study included in Peter Markowitz’s book, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighbor (external link), which studies land development or Detroit, New Orleans, New York. , and San Francisco – but it also banned the entire country from providing space for the rich and white. There are advantages, which Markowitz makes no effort to ignore. But its negative consequences, such as pushing the poorest of the poor across city boundaries and rising affordable housing prices for surrounding areas, have gone unnoticed.
How You Killed the City provides information on how governments are always making decisions, such as subsidizing housing and investing in schools and businesses, for economic planning, not for the masses. Markowitz said that, for example, in Katrina New Orleans, many saw what happened as an opportunity to “rehabilitate” the poor. But eventually rebuilding, along with changes to city services, was left difficult. Many new homes were purchased by the majority of the local population.
In other words, the book challenges people – such as community leaders – including real estate professionals – to bring about housing equality without government intervention. And take a look at your historic city, and see how environmental change affects its inhabitants. Does gentrification, even if it has the potential to make boundaries better, kill what you provide?