Thursday, October 21, 2010

There Goes the Neighborhood

Megan McArdle tackles gentrification.

I have no idea how you could stop this process. To keep our neighborhoods the way Jacobs and I liked them would involve massive coercion not just of real estate owners, but of merchants, food vendors . . . everyone in the network of service providers that supports a neighborhood. The more people like me who move into my current neighborhood, the more services the neighborhood will attract--and those, in turn, will bring further waves of gentrifiers who will use their higher incomes to drive up rents, home prices, and the assessed values upon which property taxes are based.

I want the services, but I don't want this to price out all the people who already live there. Unfortunately, it's a package deal.

The neighborhood she describes sounds an awful lot like mine. It's economically depressed and a huge number of just achingly beautiful, Victorian homes have been left to rot.

Slowly however, as space is exhausted in other parts of the city, more affluent people are beginning to move in. On the one hand, I welcome this. For example, I want there to be a decent grocery store. Maybe a restaurant that doesn't serve Happy Meals.

And then I think about my rent...

Perhaps a solution might be to freeze property assessments for people that have owned homes or businesses for a certain period of time? This might at least help save people from being taxed out of their homes.

No comments:

Post a Comment