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Gentrification and Community Life in Canada Report (Assessment)

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Updated: May 9th, 2021

Introduction

The modern world evolves rapidly. Numerous things that for decades have remained topical become outdated and are replaced with new phenomena today. There are many causes for the appearance and development of this tendency. These include technological revolution, radical shits in peoples mentalities, the emergence of new perspectives on the way communities should live and evolve (Walks & Maarnen, 2008).

However, regardless of these reasons, the world changes, and its image changes too. We now can observe the rise of giant cities and crucial alterations of their suburbs. These processes also result from new requirements to the quality of life, its mode, basic features, etc. In such a way, it could be considered a logical process that is peculiar to every stage of the development of human society. Additionally, there are multiple and diverse phenomena that shape the view of the modern world and stimulate the appearance of new tendencies with their advantages and disadvantages. Gentrification is one of these processes.

Definition. Pros and Cons. Gentrified Areas

There are different perspectives on the given term and the role it plays in the modern world. Thus, the most common definition of gentrification states that it is a process aimed at the improvement and renovation of significantly deteriorated urban neighborhoods and areas that occur under the impact of new tendencies and the income of more affluent and wealthy residents who inhabit these very regions (Walks & Maarnen, 2008).

At the first gaze, the given issue could be considered a positive one as it results in the gradual improvement of the image of particular areas, and they’re becoming more attractive to both tourists and local people (Barlow, 2014). Additionally, it might serve as the additional point of income for the local governments as wealthier citizens mean higher revenue from taxes. Furthermore, the high level of crime is traditionally associated with poor and deteriorated neighborhoods (King, 2016). Complex living conditions are accompanied by poverty and the gradually worsening environment resulting in the rise of crime (King, 2016).

For this reason, renovation and the influx of new inhabitants with stable sources of income and opportunities for further development might significantly improve the situation in the area. For instance, according to the relevant statistics, all gentrified regions show a significant reduction in crime levels (Barlow, 2014). These advantages are traditionally suggested by the adherers of the idea of gentrification and its necessity for modern communities. However, there is another perspective on the issue. Opponents of the given process provide a list of disadvantages that evidence the contradictory character of renovation. First, gentrification gives rise to numerous ethical concerns as it affects potentially vulnerable populations and makes them leave their homes to give way to a new group (Barlow, 2014).

The majority of gentrified districts are characterized by the emergence of a specific pattern of population movement. (King, 2016). Residents are forced to move from the area that experiences gentrification, trying to find less expensive housing, stores, and infrastructure (Barlow, 2014). Moreover, local businesses also become replaced by new ones because of the inability to meet the increased requirements for the quality of suggested products, pricing policy, etc. (Barlow, 2014). In such a way, gentrification might be associated with the displacement of households and their discrimination. Additionally, statistics show that the given process preconditions a significant shortage of affordable housing and appearance concerns related to the further evolution of a community (Walks & Maarnen, 2008).

In such a way, there are both advantages and disadvantages connected with gentrification. However, despite all these concerns, new areas undergo it. For instance, starting from the 1960s, Vancouver has experienced several waves of gentrification, which altered the image of the city significantly (Walks & Maarnen, 2008). Having started from Fairview and Kitsilano, it then moved to the Central Business District and Gastown.

All these areas demonstrated some positive dynamics as about 14% of them made the transition to above-average incomes (Walks & Maarnen, 2008). More examples of gentrified neighborhoods could be found in Montreal. It was concentrated around Old Montreal and the port area, Westmount and Outremont. Gentrification significantly affected these areas by introducing new prices for dwellings and reconsidering relations between residents (Walks & Maarnen, 2008).

Saint-Henri Gentrification

Speaking about gentrification and its impact on communities, we can also mention Saint-Henri as the area which now undergoes this procedure. However, this process gives rise to numerous ethical concerns. The fact is that for decades the area has been considered a bastion of the francophone working class with its own unique peculiarities and features (Hays, 2016). In such a way, any attempt to introduce alterations to St.-Henri becomes a complex issue as residents resist it. Despite numerous protests and appeals to slow down the speed of gentrification or even stop it, it remains inevitable and should obviously be embraced. There are several reasons for this assumption. First, gentrification is the part of the modern world that results from the appearance of new demand to the quality of life, products, and other services (King, 2016).

The constantly developing environment means that people generate new ideas trying to improve their current state and move further. Yet, the old setting is not able to satisfy these demands and provide individuals with all they want. Additionally, gentrification should be considered a form of urban renewal aimed at the significant enhancement of living conditions and the quality of peoples lives (Montpetit, 2016). At the same time, there are diverse patterns related to urbanization and the growth of giant cities. In accordance with these, all districts of the city should have a similar level of development for this very city to be able to move further and evolve (King, 2016).

In such a way, the gentrification of Saint-Henri becomes a problem, not for a single neighborhood but for the whole city as its residents resistance slows down the overall improvement and preconditions significant delays in urban renewal plans (Hays, 2016). There is also another aspect proving the inevitable character of this change. Changes are a central aspect of the evolution of any system as they precondition the appearance of new features and unique opportunities. At the same time, their absence means stagnation and inability to move further, which is extremely dangerous for communities. In such a way, gentrification becomes inevitable for this area as it should be altered to evolve.

GTA Gentrification

Finally, speaking of gentrification, we could also mention the Greater Toronto Area, which has some gentrified regions characterized by significant alteration in their demographics and population structure. For instance, Leslieville, the district of Toronto, has undergone global improvement and renewal with the reconsideration of demographical factors (“Neighbourhoods & communities,” n.d.). Incomes in the area climbed by an average of 53%, which means that today the average revenue comprises about $99,000 compared to $65,000 before the gentrification started (King, 2016). Moreover, the high speed of renovation resulted in the incredible growth of wealth among business owners living in Leslieville as the number of diverse establishments doubled (12 to 27) (King, 2016).

Previously, people preferred to move to other areas like Scarborough to acquire some opportunities for their personal and professional growth. However, today, the inverse tendency could be observed as people living in other not gentrified areas prefer to move here. In such a way, in accordance with the latest demographic data, the population of the district almost doubled (King, 2016). Additionally, this growth in the number of inhabitants is supported by the increase in salaries and annual revenues (King, 2016). The combination of these factors resulted in the absence of complaints from residents as they appreciate the fact that old things have gone away and now people can benefit from new opportunities for their development.

Conclusion

In such a way, gentrification becomes an important aspect of the modern world as it stimulates the appearance of diverse changes in the life of communities. However, it could also be considered a contradictory issue as it gives rise to numerous concerns. People residing in gentrified areas might lose their homes, businesses and will have to move to other neighborhoods characterized by lower prices and affordable dwellings.

That is why individuals might resist this sort of change because of their fear of drastic alterations in their modes of life. Nevertheless, regardless of this fact, gentrification should be considered as an integral part of the modern world, and its inevitability should be accepted by individuals who want to live in a new and more convenient society that offers them a broad range of diverse opportunities.

References

Barlow, M. (2014). Web.

Hays, M. (2016). The Guardian. Web.

King, R. (2016). . The Star. Web.

Montpetit, J. (2016). . CBC. Web.

Neighbourhoods & communities. (n.d.). Web.

Walks, A., & Maarnen, R. (2008). . CUCS. Web.

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