Monday, April 13, 2009

soylent green politics of gentrification

with urban squeeze comes gentrification. the two are inevitable & uncomfortable bedfellows. property developers after a fast buck even in times of arguable recession are the enemies of equitable housing & low socio-ecomomic urban communities.

money is an incredible motivator as is population growth which provides a precurser for dense urbanisation in areas previously considered unfit (for wealthy white "pioneers").

in some city areas in sydney & the world this has resulted in displacement of existing inhabitants. the shabby & old [often toxic] juxtapose against shiny upwardly mobile cuckoo architecture.
generally those most prone are indigenous or ethnic minorities who have traditionally resided on the industrial fringes of the city where noone before wanted to live, [once too] close to transportation, where rich diverse communities were built as best they could.

alexandria & redfern, sydney are experiencing just such a development revolution. the former homes of industry & low cost housing primarily occupied by pensioners, aboriginals & welfare beneficiaries are becoming increasingly minimised as architects, developers & town planners move in to rape & pilage, lure the natives out with blankets & alcohol before sterilisation & the importation of a new wave of cashed-up settlers. warehouse conversions are de rigueur. social conscience gets a face-lift.

this trend can recently be demonstrated in the very hip williamsburg, new york. the latinos who've been there for multiple generations can no longer afford to live in their hood as city improvements & consistently low rents have made it attractive for the nouveau hipsters who then in turn make the area more desirable, utilise the amazing "undiscovered" spaces and drive up rents.

but where do these lost civilisations go? do they like the streetwalkers & homeless people during olympics time get trucked to some western badlands or nazi labour camps to work-for-the-dole where noone can see? westernized post-modern leprosy valleys. out of sight, out of mind.

in many countries it's a punishable crime to be poor. people are incarcerated for vagrancy. what can you do when your home is taken away from you by fancy types & you just can't afford to live anymore? poverty crime is a reality.

is soylent green made out of poor people?


  1. gentrification doesn't have to be perpetrated by property developers. the gentrification of newtown was almost entirely created by renovator-yuppies, who created a market for budding chain restaurants and expensive second hand clothing stores.

  2. most noticeably [and wonderfully] though, starbucks was inched out from satellite villages like newtown & balmain... apparently sydney's sophistocated coffee culture will not be chained.