Gentrification And White Preference In The Rhode Island Housing Market

1321 words - 6 pages

The loss of public housing and the expanse of the wealth gap throughout the state of Rhode Island has been a rising issue between the critics and supporters of gentrification, in both urban areas such as Providence and wealthy areas such as the island of Newport, among other examples. With the cities under a monopoly headed by the wealth of each neighborhood, one is left to wonder how such a system is fair to all groups. Relatively speaking, it isn’t, and the only ones who benefit from such a system are white-skinned. With the deterioration of the economic status of Rhode Island, and especially in the city of Providence, more and more educated Caucasians are leaving to seek a more fertile economic environment.
“Gentrification is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district's character and culture.” (Grant) In layman’s terms, gentrification is when white people move to a black neighborhood for the sake of cheaper living, and in turn, raise up property values and force black neighbors to leave because of a higher price of living. Commonly, the government supports gentrification with the demolition of public housing in areas that are developing with more white neighbors. This is causing a decreasing amount of African Americans to be able to afford to live in the neighborhood as their homes are taken away from them, forcing them to relocate. Whilst gentrification normally has negative connotations, there are several people who believe gentrification brings about “an upward trend in property values in previously neglected neighborhoods.” (Jerzyk) On the other hand, this new trend in property value and business causes those who previously lived in that neighborhood before gentrification, to face a price of living that they themselves cannot afford. The argument that is currently being held all around the US is whether to embrace the positive changes in neighborhoods, or to discourage this growth in the wealth gap within neighborhoods.
Gentrification, mainly starting in the 1990s, has been seen all across the United States, especially in major cities. For example, many cities that are rich in culture, diversity, and vitality are beacons for white people interested in the “upcoming scene.” This brings more and more whites who displace and marginalize the original residents through increasing prices. Cities such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco all have neighborhoods that originally had mostly poor, uneducated African Americans, and now are swelling with young, educated whites that have greatly increased the price of living. In Boston, Charlestown, Jamaica Plains, and Beacon Hill have all experienced intense characteristics of gentrification from the 1970s up until the present, showcasing an increase in the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as a large increase in new and renovated buildings. In New York, the most...

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