Sunday, August 24, 2008

What is the difference between Revitalization vs. Gentrification ?

Revitalizing communities with home-owner rehabilitation, new housing, first-time homebuyer’s assistance, and adequate supportive services. Given the opportunity, most long time residents would choose to return to their own neighborhood, if adequate affordable housing was presented to them. So, as we think about gentrification, I ask that you keep in mind the difference between gentrification and revitalization.
Only by the process of revitalization can communities keep intact and avoid creating more homelessness. Gentrification means restoration of deteriorated urban property by the middle and upper classes, often resulting in the displacement of lower-income people and revitalization is to give new life to a community, by creating decent, safe, and stable affordable housing. It is vital, in order to prevent future homelessness and end current homelessness. However, when thinking and talking about affordable housing, it is important to frame our thoughts and words in ways that build people and communities up, rather then tearing them down.
James Jacob states,” The Death and life of Great American Cities, “Convention planning embodies a fantasy about the bewildering presence of people in slum, whose slums do not conform to slum dwellers such people are characterized as victims of inertia.…who need a push by forcing them to better themselves, which means finding their squadron of price tagged population and marching with it.” Slums and population are the victims and the perpetuators of seemingly endless troubles that reinforce each other. Slums operate a vicious cycle that deteriorates the people and community. These housing projects must be converted to assist human life and empower urban communities. Projects are too dangerous, demoralizing, and unstable within themselves, they make it too hard in many cases to maintain tolerable family and healthy community.
Noting the revitalization programs has helped govenerment, the commonwealth’s downtowns, and long time constituents. Many political leaders enthusiastically agreed and passed legislation unanimously on behalf of these urban planning programs. The Revitalization program was created to strengthen the older historic neighborhoods that characterize many of the commonwealth’s communities. Too many of them today are beset by low property values, a negative image, and perceptions of poor public safety. While Revitalization programs have made positive changes in older urban communities, however, urban communities that are surrounded by distressed neighborhoods continue to struggle despite gentrification being intergraded in many inner city communities.

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