With the less than minor disagreement between members of the City Council the Unity Group, Chattanooga Housing Authority, TIF Developers, etc. (which will all be smoothed over in the spirit of the best for the community by the time this article is published) it is time to define the term “gentrification” and its origin.
The term is alleged to have been traced back to its first use in Jolly Old London Town across the Great Pond in the 1950-1960s “to describe the influx of a new ‘gentry’ into low-income neighborhoods.”
A German-British sociologist and city planner (we have several of those) coined the term referring to the displacement of old housing with a mix of new housing (and businesses).
Both positive and negative uses of the term are now part of American urban development in America (and Choo Choo Town).
The threat of the ultimate demise of historically black Lincoln Park has always been a hot topic of discussion in our town.
“Reimagining” to improve a bad neighborhood of high crime, drug use, poverty, etc. brings up the question of who is benefitting from the potential for wiping out both black and white low income communities.
Implied (or actual) threats of “bloom and doom” should be evaluated from the standpoint of the 185,000 city and 385,000 county residents and not from just the financial, political, and economic benefit to a vocal minority.
(These statements are not made in support or opposition of the Westside Evolves program but should not create problems for the future when us old folks are long gone.)
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You can reach Jerry Summers at email@example.com