I meant to post this picture up yesterday. I took it while I was hanging outside at this trendy coffeebar, Bedford-Stuyvesant, in the Indische Buurt neighborhood of Amsterdam. I was sitting down and noticing the beyond obvious signs of gentrification. There were tons of Turkish, Morrocan, and other people and families of color walking down the street - grocery shopping and what not. Then, there were these young, white Dutch people sipping their lattes and organic juices while puffing on cigarettes. It was quite a sight, so I took a picture.
After I was done sipping on my coffee, eating my tosti and finishing up work on my Mac (yep, I’m a walking contradiction). I decided to walk up and down the street, Javastraat. It was so interesting - there were small Turkish supermarkets smack between trendy cafés and boutiques selling 100€ backpacks. The word gentrification practically slapped me in the face. Then, today, I read an article for my urban studies class that describes this particular street pretty much exactly as I saw it.
I find gentrification to be such a personal struggle, I wish the ‘improvement’ of neighborhoods didn’t displace people. Of course, it’s great to have updated housing stock and, boy, do I love hanging out at cafés. But, I also love going to the tiny immigrant-run bakery and vegetable market. Why can these things only co-exist for such a small period of time together? Now, this will sound corny, but in my perfect world - different racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups would live together and weave a deeply interesting neighborhood for all. I guess we’ll need to keep up the fight for that to ever become close to a reality.
Sometimes, I lose my faith in humanity and think we’ll always ‘other’ people and segregate ourselves indefinitely.
Can I also add— part of the problem is not that all of these people want ’completed’ gentrification, but that less ‘desirable’ neighborhoods are more affordable for certain business owners. Over time they are simply priced out, like many former residents. Not sure how this could be changed without intruding on the freedoms of property owners (so american of me to worry about ‘freedom’ before the common good) but I’m sure innovative local planning could really make a difference. If anyone knows any examples of gentrification being stopped before it is completely, would love to read/hear about it x