policy & design

Thought – while writing about gentrification & artists

It seems to me, and has seemed to me for some time, that gentrification is truly less caused by artists moving into areas and doing them up, than by the egregious inability of contemporary developers (mostly large-scale and private) to create desirable environments. Gentrification may be a problem of scarcity more than of class itself. Gentrificatory push on the inner city is generally less pronounced in places that have plenty of interesting environment to go around (unless gentrificatory push is global, by which I mean outsizing the region significantly – say, the tourist-driven gentrification of Italian inner cities).

In any case, the solution would be to invest in urban design and amenity across the metropolitan region, and not try to protect pockets of beauty and amenity; and certainly not to shrug and blame it on the market, the middle classes, or the artists.