Gentrification Is Not Beneficial to Established Residents

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Gentrification is not Beneficial to Established Residents

Growing up in East Austin, one would be accustomed to seeing rundown neighborhoods inhabited mostly by African American and Hispanic working-class families. In the past few years though, the view has drastically changed. Now brightly colored two-story homes housing affluent Caucasian families occupy the once dilapidated areas. The previously desolated lots are now the future sites of lofts and condominiums. The recent changes in East Austin are a clear sign of gentrification. Gentrification is the extremely evident process of displacement. Revitalizing a derelict neighborhood favors the entire community, not just the ones with money. However, revitalization and gentrification are two different matters; gentrification favors one class over another. The gentrifying of East Austin is a precarious process that is reaping negative effects on the preexisting community. While the middle-class is being attracted to the working-class area, established residents are inescapably being squeezed out. Pumping new life into the fading heart of a community through gentrification may be beneficial to some, but at what cost? The recent interest in a once forgotten area is not benefiting the current residents; instead, it is displacing them and erasing the community identity.

With a city growing at an alarming rate, the low cost of East Austin lofts compared to downtown lofts are attracting the middle-class Caucasians everyday. When these new luxury lofts are built, they make the property value of the land around them rise. Subsequently, the property taxes of the surrounding homes increase. According to Caroline Keating:

Census data shows a sharp increase in home values throughout East Austin. In 1990, 80 percent of the houses in one particular census tract were valued at less than $50,000, with just 0.5 percent valued at between $150,000 and $199,000. By 2000, the figure for houses less than $50,000 had fallen to...
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