Anti-Gentrification Editorial from PLANETIZEN
Reading Charles Shaw's editorial piece from PLANETIZEN (in response to John Norquist's editorial from a few weeks ago about how fears of the negative effects of gentrification are overblown) gets me fired-up. While I do agree with him regarding cities' wasteful public spending on stadiums and giving outrageous tax breaks to corporations, I am really put-off by the more radical suggestions of a supposedly malicious, racist agenda of urban reinvestment.
The author's nebulous connection between gentrification and the war on drugs, the decline of the independent farmer, and sweatshop labor in developing countries, as well as the use of the term "prison-industrial complex," paints him to be the very sort of "arm-chair liberal" that John Norquist astutely pointed out in his piece. In my mind, the conspiratorial tone debases what could have been a well-reasoned essay on the need to mitigate the negative effects of gentrification on the poor, and instead turns it into a 'wallowing in the warm muck of stagnation, poverty, crime, and despair,' socialist, stick-it-to-the-man manifesto that smacks of the same Coleman Young-esque antagonism that was a major accellerant of white flight, middle class flight, and business flight from cities in the first place (certainly not the only reason for such flight, but undeniable, especially beginning in the 1970's).
I look forward to a range of responses.