The Gentrification of San Antonio
I’m a part of the problem. I eat at these places, drink at these places and have become a permanent fixture of these places. I see the good and bad of gentrification. For those who may not be familiar with the term gentrification, it is the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. This definition can be cited back to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I want to have an honest, open discussion with all of you on your thoughts on gentrification.
I won’t pretend that I am fully educated on gentrification and how it effects the socio-economic classes that once resided in these areas. On a very basic level, I do see both sides to this situation. I see that businesses come in and reinvent a certain area of the city. It brings in money, jobs and promotes small business growth. On the other side of the coin, I also see that it does displace lower income families and individuals that had lived in these areas for decades. I saw this in real-time when I was looking at apartments near my job earlier this year. An apartment complex (I will not name this complex to protect their privacy) near my job had been remodeled and rebranded as this luxurious living experience. I can only assume that this complex was repurposed due to the expansion and repurposing of the Historic Pearl Brewery Complex. I was in the leasing office of this apartment complex, and I ran into a resident. This resident was an elderly man who had been living in this complex for decades. He was being evicted because he could not afford the new rent that had been significantly increased under the new management. This was the first time I had seen the negative effects of gentrification at work. This complex was being updated to fit the new culture that had been expanding in the newly-named Midtown. Midtown San Antonio encompasses the Pearl Brewery area and its surrounding areas. It was now seemingly displacing citizens that had long been here.
I would love to see what your thoughts on this and if you’ve seen this happening in your area. I will not sit here and say it’s a purely good or bad experience for a city to go through. I personally feel that this is a version of the “white flight” back to urban areas. Only, in this instance, the diaspora of affluence transcends all races and genders rather than the migration noted in the 1920s United States. This seems to be purely socio-economic. Post your thoughts in the comments below or in a private message if you’re on Tumblr.