by Nevin Cohen, Research Director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute
Gentrification has transformed low-income communities worldwide. The process is complex but often follows a consistent pattern: capital flows into low-income neighborhoods, more affluent residents move in, real estate values go up, the housing stock is upgraded, low-income residents are forced to leave, and community character changes to accommodate the newcomers. Gentrification can happen abruptly, with people and businesses displaced through eviction, but more commonly occurs gradually, even over generations, as children of longtime residents leave because they cannot afford to remain in the neighborhood in which they grew up. The impact of gentrification varies, too. Those able to remain in place while their neighborhoods gentrify may benefit from new investments, more political influence, and better infrastructure and services, or they may suffer the loss of place as commerce, culture, civic life, aesthetics, and the people living around them become unaffordable, unfamiliar, or unwelcoming.