Here are two things I just happened to read back-to-back:
Max Holleran: "How Gentrifiers Gentrify."
The process of forming a neighborhood elite in Boston's South End happened, according to Tissot, not always through the often-colorful world of the city's democratic politics but through voluntary associations that, despite being private, wielded considerable power—interior design or park conservation is not just a hobby.Ester Bloom: "When Neighborhoods Gentrify, Why Aren't Their Public Schools Improving?"
...Through such benign-sounding activities as philanthropy, historic preservation, and serving on committees for parks and liquor licenses, gentrifiers solidified their position in the community and began to erase the cultural presence of those who preceded them.
...Newcomers—armed with more time, education, connections, and "cultural authority"—professionalized the community groups they joined in ways that discouraged broad participation while extolling the virtues of involvement. Under the banner of community improvement and civic-mindedness, gentrifiers were able to concentrate on issues they found important, often over the objections of long-term residents. These issues included: opposing "high density" housing (understood here as a euphemism for public housing, but also for apartment buildings in areas where single-family homes are the norm), more space for dogs, quality-of-life crackdowns on noise and public drinking, and more support for the carefully supervised renovation of Victorian homes.
Because newcomers tend to send their kids outside of the local system, often to private or charter schools, gentrification tends to have a neutral or even negative effect on neighborhood schools, at least in the short term.Gentrification is, despite the best of intentions, ahem, basically just colonialism on a neighborhood scale.
...[M]any if not most urban institutions are "left to flounder," remaining segregated, low-quality "Apartheid schools," even while gentrification changes other aspects of the neighborhoods around them.