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Defining, Debating And Defending Gentrification48:34
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The relentless gentrification of America’s cities, and a white hot debate about it.

People sit at tables in a parklet outside a Mission District cafe Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in San Francisco. Finding a place to live has become so expensive and emotional that city supervisors are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, which has long been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. (AP)
People sit at tables in a parklet outside a Mission District cafe Tuesday, June 2, 2015, in San Francisco. Finding a place to live has become so expensive and emotional that city supervisors are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, which has long been one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. (AP)

For decades, money and affluence left America’s cities and moved to the suburbs. Now, that’s turned around. Money and young college grads are flooding the cities. Driving up prices. Flooding neighborhoods that were middle class and poor. We call it gentrification. It can be exciting when the new coffee shops move in. The nice sidewalks. The cash. And painful when old residents, and their culture, get shoved out. From New York to San Francisco to Portland and DC and Austin and Boston and beyond, it’s a big deal. This hour On Point, American urban gentrification, and what we want our cities to be.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Adam Gopnik, staff writer for the New Yorker. (@adamgopnik)
D.W. Gibson, author and filmmaker. Author of the new book, "The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century." (@dw_gibson)

Roberto Hernanndez, community organizer with the group, Our Mission No Eviction in San Francisco, CA.

From Tom’s Reading List

New Yorker: Naked Cities — "Cities can’t win. When they do well, people resent them as citadels of inequality; when they do badly, they are cesspools of hopelessness. In the seventies and eighties, the seemingly permanent urban crisis became the verdict that American civilization had passed on itself. Forty years later, cities mostly thrive, crime has been in vertiginous decline, the young cluster together in old neighborhoods, drinking more espresso per capita in Seattle than in Naples, while in San Francisco the demand for inner-city housing is so keen that one-bedroom apartments become scenes of civic conflict—and so big cities turn into hateful centers of self-absorbed privilege."

Paris Review: Meet Your New Neighbors: An Interview with DW Gibson -- "Land doesn’t have to be commodified. It can simply be a place where you lay your head, where you work, grow food, gather in a park. I realize that’s utopic. But it deserves to be part of the conversation. Our vision is narrowed by primarily thinking of land as property. Why can’t we think about it more as a community resource, something that can be handled through things like land trusts?"

San Francisco Chronicle: Prop. I, Mission building initiative, elicits emotional arguments -- "Proponents of Prop. I, known as the Mission moratorium, say what’s needed is a pause, a timeout of sorts. They want to use the 18-month construction hiatus to put in place a plan to deal with the effects of gentrification and slow the outward migration of neighborhood residents — a model they say could be used in other parts of the city."

This program aired on October 15, 2015.

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