Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper

Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper ORDER NOW FOR CUSTOMIZED AND ORIGINAL NURSING PAPERS Unformatted Attachment Preview Journal of the American Planning Association ISSN: 0194-4363 (Print) 1939-0130 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjpa20 Toward a Theory of Gentrification A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People Neil Smith To cite this article: Neil Smith (1979) Toward a Theory of Gentrification A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People, Journal of the American Planning Association, 45:4, 538-548, DOI: 10.1080/01944367908977002 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/01944367908977002 Published online: 26 Nov 2007. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 17628 View related articles Citing articles: 603 View citing articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rjpa20 Toward a Theory of Gentrification A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People Neil Smith Consumer sovereignty hypotheses dominate explanations of gentrification but data on the number of suburbanites returning to the city casts doubt on this hypothesis. In fact, gentrification is an expected product of the relatively unhampered operation of the land and housing markets. The economic depreciation of capital invested in nineteenth century inner-city neighborhoods and the simultaneous rise in potential ground rent levels produces the pos- sibility of profitable redevelopment. Although the very apparent social characteristics of deteriorated neighborhoods would discourage redevelopment, the hidden economic characteristics may well be favorable. Whether gentrification is a fundamental restructuring of urban space depends not on where new inhabitants come from but on how much productive capital returns to the area from the suburbs. Following a period of sustained deterioration, many American cities are experiencing the gentrification of select central city neighborhoods. Initial signs of revival during the 1950s intensified in the 1960s, and by the 1970s these had grown into a widespread gentrification movement affecting the majority of the country’s older cities.’ A recent survey by the Urban Land Institute (1976) suggests that close to half the 260 cities with over 50,000 population are experiencing rehabilitation in the inner city areas. Although nationally, gentrification accounts for only a small fraction of new housing starts compared with new construction, the process is very important in (but not restricted to) older northeastern cities. As the process of gentrification burgeoned so did the literature about it. Most of this literature concerns the contemporary processes or its effects: the socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of inmigrants, displacement, the federal role in redevelopment, benefits to the city, and creation and destruction of community. Little attempt has been made to construct historical explanations of the process, to study causes rather than effects. Instead, explanations are very much taken for granted and fall into two categories: cultural and economic. Cultural. Popular among revitalization theorists is the notion that young, usually professional, middle-class people have changed their lifestyle. According to Gregory Lipton, these changes have been significant enough to “decrease the relative desirability of singlefamily, suburban homes” (1977, p. 146). Thus, with a trend toward fewer children, postponed marriages, and a fast rising divorce rate, younger homebuyers and renters are trading in the tarnished dream of their parents for a new dream defined in urban rather than suburban terms. Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper Other researchers emphasize the search for socially distinctive communities as sympathetic environments for individual self-expression (Winters 1978), while still others extend this into a more general argument. In contemporary “postindustrial cities,” according to D. Ley, white-collar service occupations supersede blue-collar productive occupations, and this brings with it an emphasis on consumption and amenity not work. Patterns of consumption come to dictate patterns of production; “the values of consumption rather than production guide central city land use decisions” (Ley 1978, p. 11). Inner-city resurgence is an example of this new emphasis on consumption. Economic. As the cost of newly constructed housing continues to rise and its distance from the city center to increase, the rehabilitation of inner- and centralcity structures is seen to be more viable economically. Old but structurally sound properties can be purchased and rehabilitated for less than the cost of a Neil Smith is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University. H e is presently doing research under D r . David Harvey. 538 A P A JOURNAL comparable new house. In addition, many researchers stress the high economic cost of commuting-the higher cost of gasoline for private cars and rising fares on public transportation-and the economic benefits of proximity to work. These conventional hypotheses are by no means mutually exclusive. They are often invoked jointly and share in one vital respect a common perspective-an emphasis on consumer preference and the constraints within which these preferences are implemented. This they share with the broader body of neoclassical residential land use theory (Alonso 1964; Muth 1969; Mills 1972). According to the neoclassical theory, suburbanization reflects the preference for space and the increased ability to pay for it due to the reduction of transportational and other constraints. Similarly, gentrification is explained as the result of an alteration of preferences and/or a change in the constraints determining which preferences will or can be implemented. Thus in the media and the research literature alike, the process is viewed as a “back to the city movement.” This applies as much to the earlier gentrification projects, such as Philadelphia’s Society Hill (accomplished with substantial state assistance under urban renewal legislation), as it does to the later schemes, such as Baltimore’s Federal Hill or Washington’s Capitol Hill (mainly private market phenomena of the 1970s). All have become symbolic of a supposed middle- and upper-class pilgrimage back from the suburbs.2But as yet it remains an untested if pervasive assumption that the gentrifiers are disillusioned suburbanites. As early as 1966, Herbert Gans declared: “I have seen no study of how many suburbanites were actually brought back by urbanrenewal projects” (1968, p. 287). Though this statement was made in evidence before the Ribicoff Committee on the Crisis of the Cities, Gans’s challenge seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Only in the late 1970s have such studies begun to be carried out. This paper presents data from Society Hill and other revitalized neighborhoods, examines the significance of these results in terms of the consumer sovereignty theory, and attempts to deepen our theoretical understanding of the causes of gentrification. A return from the suburbs? Once the location of William Penn’s “holy experiment,” Society Hill housed Philadelphia’s gentry well into the nineteeth century. With industrialization and urban growth, however, its popularity declined, and the gentry together with the rising middle class, moved west to Rittenhouse Square and to the new suburbs in the northwest and across the Schuylkill River. Society Hill deteriorated rapidly, remaining in slum condition until 1959. In that year, an urban renewal plan was implemented. Within ten years Society Hill was transformed and“the most historic square mile in the nation” according to Bicentennial advertising-it again housed the city’s middle and upper classes. Few authentically restored houses now change hands for less than $125,000. Noting the enthusiasm with which rehabilitation was done, the novelist Nathanial Burt observed that “Remodeling old houses is, after all, one of Old Philadelphia’s favorite indoor sports, and to be able to remodel and consciously serve the cause of civic revival all at once has gone to the heads of the upper classes like champagne” (1963, pp. 556-57). As this indoor sport caught on, therefore, it became Philadelphia folklore that “there was an upper class return to center city in Society Hill” (Wolf 1975, p. 325). As Burt eloquently explains: The renaissance of Society Hill . . . is just one piece in a gigantic jigsaw puzzle which has stirred Philadelphia from its hundred-year sleep, and promises to transform the city completely. This movement, of which the return to Society Hill is a significant part, is generally known as the Philadelphia Renaissance (1963, p. 539). By June 1962 less than a third of the families purchasing property for rehabilitation were from the suburbs3 (Greenfield & Co. 1964, p. 192). But since the first people to rehabilitate houses began work in 1960, it was generally expected that the proportion of suburbanites would rise sharply as the area became better publicized and a Society Hill address became a coveted possession. After 1962, however, no data were Table 1. Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper The origin of rehabilitators in Society Hill, 1964-1975 Year Same address Elsewhere in the city Suburbs Outside SMSA Unidentified Total 1964 1965 1966 1969 1972 1975 5 3 1 1 1 0 9 17 25 9 12 1 0 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 14 27 32 12 16 1 Total Percentage by origin 11 11 73 72 14 14 2 2 2 2 102 100 OCTOBER 1979 539 officially collected. T h e following table presents data sampled from case files held by T h e Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia; the data is for the period up to 1975 (by which time the project was essentially complete) and represents a 17 percent sample of all rehabilitated residences. (Table 1.) It would appear from these results that only a small proportion of gentrifiers did in fact return from the suburbs; 14 percent in the case of Society Hill, compared with 72 percent who moved from elsewhere within the city boundaries. A statistical breakdown of this latter group suggests that of previous city dwellers, 37 percent came from Society Hill itself, and 19 percent came from the Rittenhouse Square district. T h e remainder came from several middle- and upperclass suburbs annexed by the city in the last centuryChestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Spruce Hill. This suggests a consolidation of upper- and middle-class white residences in the city, not a return from the present day suburb^.^ Additional data from Baltimore and Washington D.C. on the percentage of returning suburbanites support the Society Hill data (Table 2). In Philadelphia and elsewhere an urban renaissance may well be taking place but it is not a significant return from the suburbs as such. This does not disprove the consumer sovereignty hypothesis but suggests some limitations and refinements. Clearly, it is possible-even likely-that younger people who moved to the city for an education and professional training have decided against moving back to the suburbs. There is a problem, however, if this is to be taken as a definitive explanation, for gentrification is not simply a North American phenomenon but is also happening in numerous cities throughout Europe (see, for example, Pitt 1977) where the extent of prior middle-class suburbanization is much less and the relation between suburb and inner city is substantially different.5 Only Ley’s (1978) more general societal hypothesis about post-industrial cities is broad enough to account for the process internationally, but the implications of accepting this view are somewhat drastic. If cultural choice and consumer preference really explain gentrification, this amounts either to the hypothesis that individual preferences change in unison not only nationally but internationally-a bleak view of human nature and cultural individuality-or that the overriding constraints are strong enough to obliterate the individuality implied in consumer preference. If the latter is the case, the concept of consumer preference is at best contradictory: a process first conceived in terms of individual consumption preference has now to be explained as resulting from cultural uni-dimensionality. The concept can be rescued as theoretically viable only if it is used to refer to collective social preference, not individual preference. This refutation of the neoclassical approach to 540 Table 2. The origin of rehabilitators in three cities City Philadelphia Society Hill Baltimore Homestead Properties Washington D.C. Mount Pleasant Capitol Hill Percent city dwellers Percent suburbanites 72 14 65.2 27 67 72 18 15 Source: Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (1977), Gale (1976, 1977). gentrification is only a summary critique and far from exhaustive. What it suggests, however, is a broader conceptualization of the process, for the gentrifier as consumer is only one of many actors participating in the process. T o explain gentrification according to the gentrifier’s actions alone, while ignoring the role of builders, developers, landlords, mortgage lenders, government agencies, real estate agents, and tenants, is excessively narrow. A broader theory of gentrification must take the role of producers as well as consumers into account, and when this is done, it appears that the needs of production-in particular the need to earn profit-are a more decisive initiative behind gentrification than consumer preference. This is not to say in some naive way that consumption is the automatic consequence of production, or that consumer preference is a totally passive effect caused by production. Such would be a producer’s sovereignty theory, almost as one-sided as its neoclassical counterpart. Rather, the relationship between production and consumption is symbiotic, but it is a symbiosis in which production dominates. Consumer preference and demand for gentrified housing can be created after all, and this is precisely what happened in Society Although it is of secondary importance in initiating the actual process, and therefore in explaining why gentrification occurred in the first place, consumer preference and demand are of primary importance in determining the final form and character of revitalized areas-the difference between Society Hill, say, and New York’s SoHo. T h e so-called urban renaissance has been stimulated more by economic than cultural forces. In the decision to rehabilitate an inner city structure, one consumer preference tends to stand out above the others-the preference for profit, or, more accurately, a sound financial investment. Whether or not gentrifiers articulate this preference, it is fundamental, for few would even consider rehabilitation if a financial loss were to be expected. A theory of gentrification must therefore explain why some neighborhoods are profitable to redevelop while others are not. What are the conditions of profitability? Consumer sovereignty A P A JOURNAL explanations took for granted the availability of areas ripe for gentrification when this was precisely what had to be explained. Before proceeding to a more detailed explanation of the process, it will be useful to step back and examine gentrification in the broader historical and structural context of capital investment and urban development. In particular, the general characteristics of investment in the built environment must be examined. Investment in the built environment In a capitalist economy, land and the improvements built onto it become commodities.Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper As such they boast certain idiosyncracies of which three are particularly important for this discussion. First, private property rights confer on the owner near-monopoly control over land and improvements, monopoly control over the uses to which a certain space is From this condition we can derive the function of ground rent. Second, land and improvements are fixed in space but their value is anything but fixed. Improvements on the land are subject to all the normal influences on their value but with one vital difference. On the one hand, the value of built improvements on a piece of land, as well as on surrounding land, influences the ground rent that landlords can demand; on the other hand, since land and buildings on it are inseparable, the price at which buildings change hands reflects the ground rent level. Meanwhile land, unlike the improvements built on it, “does not require upkeep in order to continue its potential for use” (Harvey 1973, pp. 158-59) and thereby retains its potential value. Third, while land is permanent, the improvements built on it are not, but generally have a very long turnover period in physical as well as value terms. Physical decay is unlikely to claim the life of a building for at least twenty-five years, usually a lot longer, and it may take as long in economic (as opposed to accounting) terms for it to pay back its value. From this we can derive several things: in a well-developed capitalist economy, large initial outlays will be necessary for built environment investments; financial institutions will therefore play an important role in the urban land market (Harvey 1973, p. 159); and patterns of capital depreciation will be an important variable in determining whether and to what extent a building’s sale price reflects the ground rent level. These points will be of central importance in the next section. In a capitalist economy, profit is the gauge of success, and competition is the mechanism by which success or failure is translated into growth or collapse. All individual enterprises must strive for higher and higher profits to facilitate the accumulation of greater and greater quantities of capital in profitable pursuits. Otherwise they find themselves unable to afford more OCTOBER 1979 advanced production methods and therefore fall behind their competitors. Ultimately, this leads either to bankruptcy or a merger into a larger enterprise. This search for increased profits translates, at the scale of the whole economy, into the long-run economic growth; general economic stability is therefore synonymous with overall economic growth. Particularly when economic growth is hindered elsewhere in the industrial sector, the built environment becomes a target for much profitable investment, as is particularly apparent with this century’s suburbanization experience. In this case, spatial expansion rather than expansion in situ was the response to the continual need for capital accumulation. But suburbanization illustrates well the twosided nature of investment in the built environment, for as well as being a vehicle for capital accumulation, it can also become a barrier to further accumulation. It becomes so by dint of the characteristics noted above: near-monopoly control of space, the fixity of investments, the long turnover period. Near-monopoly control of space by landowners may prevent the sale of land for development; the fixity of investments forces new development to take place at other, often less advantageous, locations, and prevents redevelopment from occurring until invested capital has lived out its economic life; the long turnover period of capital invested in the built environment can discourage investment as long as other sectors of the economy with shorter turnover periods remain profitable. T h e early industrial city presented just such a barrier by the later part of the nineteenth century, eventually prompting suburban development rather than development in situ. During the nineteenth century in most eastern cities, land values displayed the classical conical form-a peak at the urban center, with a declining gradient on all sides toward the periphery. This was the pattern Hoyt (1933) found in Chicago. With continued urban development the land value gradient is displaced outward and upward; land at the center grows in … Purchase answer to see full attachment. Tusculum College Gentrification Significant Political Influence Reflection Paper Get a 10 % discount on an order above $ 100 Use the following coupon code : NURSING10

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