When interest in a particular neighbourhood increases, then gentrification is almost unavoidable. This involves an environment or a neighbourhood acquiring a new face as new high class buildings are erected, streets and lanes are polished and given a new face. The overall result is the increase in interest in such neighbourhood and thus the values in such properties shoot. In the United States of America, one area that has witnessed gentrification is Bushwick, Brooklyn. This was a neighbourhood where life was simple and neighbour connected with neighbour. The cost of living was affordable as families could afford rent and also carter for other needs. The case is not the same in the present day as the neighbourhood has seen an erection of elegant apartments whose value are high up the skies. Modern restaurants have also been put up that even the people previously in the neighbourhood find difficult to afford. Generally, gentrification in Bushwick has majorly affected the poor of the neighbourhood, the majority being Blacks and Latinos. This paper will exploit on the effects of gentrification on the blacks and Latinos in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Effects on Blacks and Latinos
Bushwick was majorly inhabited by members belonging to the communities of African-Americans and Latinos. However, gentrification brought about wealthier white inhabitants to the region; which marked the change in everything. As the neighbourhood acquired a new face, so was the rise in interest in property. Landlords in Bushwick increased the rents for the newly built apartments and the refurbished ones as the influx saw wealthier Americans moving into this neighbourhood.
Most of the Latinos who resided in these areas were low income earners and thus were looked down upon over the new high income earners moving into Bushwick. They were frustrated by their landlords as the apartments they lived in were not maintained, their leases were cancelled or not even renewed. This meant that they had to move out to other neighbourhoods. Some of the blacks and Latinos find it difficult to find housing elsewhere and thus are forced to stick around in unbearable conditions for they have known the place to be home. Most of these people have to maintain their apartments for their landlords refuse to do so with the view that they will move out and rent the apartments to higher income earners after renovation. They few that stick around have no finances to afford a lawyer and thus landlords breach the legal relationship that should suffice between a tenant and a landlord in a leasehold well aware that they face little or no legal consequences. Thus black and Latinos in the neighbourhood continue to suffer the effects of gentrification.
The economic lifestyle of the Blacks and the Latinos in Bushwick is also affected to great lengths. Most of them engage in small business in the neighbourhood to earn a living. However, gentrification has resulted into mega business being established around. Bushwick was a low-income neighbourhood. The movement of wealthier residents to the neighbourhood was like a blessing as they would be a boost to local businesses established by the Blacks and the Latinos. However, this was not the case as mega business were established to tab into the wealth brought about by the wealthier class, thus denting a major blow to local businesses owned by Latinos and Blacks.
Gentrification in Bushwick also led to increased stereotype as against the Black and Latinos. Most of the high-income residents who moved into the neighbourhood felt insecure around the Blacks and the Latinos accustomed to the neighbourhoods. Constant arrests are made on Blacks and Latinos on suspicion of crimes such as drug possession, robbery or any other offences, which is not the same case with the high-income earners in the neighbourhood. Who perhaps commit the same offences and little or nothing is done to bring them to justice. Latinos and Blacks in Bushwick are at times arrested for activities such as sleeping or resting in the streets. Some of these are poor and cannot afford descent living and this is the treatment they get, thanks to gentrification.
The community set up that existed in Bushwick before has slowly been eroded thanks to gentrification. Latinos and Blacks are communal communities and help out each other even in the conduct of business. Before gentrification, Local business would even trade on credit with members of the neighbourhood. Funds were also created among local business to assist members of the public who needed any sort of assistance. However, high in-come earners that have moved into the neighbourhoods have introduced businesses that are more focused on profit making than service to the community. This has washed away the fabric of the community and the togetherness enjoyed by the Latinos and Blacks in this neighbourhood before.
As pointed out early, most of the Blacks and Latinos left in Bushwick leave in poverty concentrated areas due to lack of a choice as even decisions to move out expose them to homelessness as they have no other places to go. This in turn expose their children to a lot of dangers and disadvantages. Most of these children are not able to get good education for their lives are impacted upon by a number of factors which include poor living conditions, communal segregation and discrimination and the violence meted out against the Blacks and the Latinos by police and law enforcement agencies due to the stereotypical beliefs that they violent and criminal in nature.
This can be proven by statistics of the students who graduate from high school and from college programs. Majority of these students are white students whose ration of enrolment into high and colleges as against the number of those who graduate out of the schools and colleges is far much better than that of the Blacks and Latinos. What happens in the neighbourhood affects what happens to the children in school as the discrimination is carried on and this affects their learning.
African-American and Latino communities are among the communities in the United States show vibrancy in social networking. Most of the persons who were residents of Bushwick before gentrification would testify that they almost knew of every neighbour and reached out for each other. The same cannot be said of the neighbourhood today. The high-income residents have brought in a culture whereby people are more concerned about individual affair with little regard to community living. This has left the Blacks and Latinos loose the communal safety they enjoyed days back.
Lastly, there is deterioration in the health of the Blacks and Latinos in this neighbourhood. Blacks and Latinos suffer mental torture due to the fear of being pushed out or even been separated from the community they are so fond of. This at times leads to depression and mental illnesses that eventual cost a lot to manage. Even if they choose to remain in the neighbourhoods, they have to deal with the rising cost of rent and even food. Those who cannot cope and cannot move out of the neighbourhood are forced into the dungeons of the neighbourhood where public health conditions are wanting.
To conclude, gentrification in any neighbourhood improves the outlook of the neighbourhood. However, it impacts in the most negative of ways on the lives of the people present in such an area before gentrification. Bushwick, Brooklyn is a perfect example of a neighbourhood negatively impacted upon by gentrification.
Valli, C. (2015). A sense of displacement: Long-time residents´ feelings of displacement in gentrifying Bushwick, New York.
Rauscher, R. C., & Momtaz, S. (2014). Bushwick Planning: 1970s to Current Times. In Brooklyn’s Bushwick-Urban Renewal in New York, USA (pp. 23-41). Springer International Publishing.
Lees, L., Slater, T., & Wyly, E. (2013). Gentrification. Routledge.