University Times

Gentrification Galore

Cal State LA student believes that gentrification is slowly destroying Los Angeles, as well as the majority of California.

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Gentrification Galore

Downtown LA serves as a backdrop for Boyle Heights, one of Los Angeles undergoing gentrification.

Downtown LA serves as a backdrop for Boyle Heights, one of Los Angeles undergoing gentrification.

Tribune News Service

Downtown LA serves as a backdrop for Boyle Heights, one of Los Angeles undergoing gentrification.

Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service

Downtown LA serves as a backdrop for Boyle Heights, one of Los Angeles undergoing gentrification.

Javonne Crumby, Contributor

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With renovations and changes to neighborhoods through Los Angeles underway, the term “gentrification” has recently appeared in news publications and in personal opinions.

Gentrification is synonymous with renovations, high-rise buildings, hipsters and displacement. Picture this: You’re living in the same neighborhood you grew up in. Your neighborhood doesn’t have juice bars, fitness centers or high-end retail. Your neighborhood has waffle houses, fruit cart vendors and discount stores. It’s no Beverly Hills, but you love your neighborhood; It’s got heart and it’s home. Then, one day you notice the empty lot on your block is now fenced off with a sign saying “luxury apartments coming soon”. Shortly after, you start seeing long-standing businesses being bought out by investors. You get a notice from the landlord stating that your rent will increase by $500. You can either get a second job or move. This is gentrification.

“City Rising”, a documentary on the subject, was screened at The California Endowment in August. In “City Rising”, a study on gentrification in California revealed that over 50% of residents in major California cities are renters. The documentary focused on major California cities facing gentrification including: Sacramento, East Oakland, Long Beach, Santa Ana, South Central Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. The documentary also revealed that “nearly 1/3 of California renters pay 50% of their income on rent.” That’s very alarming, especially considering that most housing rental applications now require you to make at least three times the rent! This makes for a selective process that caters to an elite crowd.

“When you have new people move into a place, the irony is that people were drawn there by the distinctiveness and the character that is being destroyed in some ways,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, a senior adviser for the Kresge Foundation.

Cal State LA student Donovan Saddler has seen his neighborhood in Mid City become gentrified:

“Houses are being bought and flipped. Someone recently bought a house for $200,000 and sold it for $1 million. We have more white folks running around, literally.”

Fortunately, Donovan has not yet incurred a rental hike but he is still wary of the change in his neighborhood.

“It’s a modern day ‘discovery of new world.’ People get displaced instead of murdered. They are losing their homes and communities instead of their lives.”

Gentrification isn’t “cleaning up a city” or making it a better place to live. Gentrification is pushing out communities of color so white people can live more comfortably. Gentrification is wiping away the very culture that it claims to celebrate. Though this country was “founded” on gentrification, we need to stop perpetuating it.

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