Gentrification happens when the old buildings and districts are demolished for a purpose to build new and better areas more suitable for a wealthier population such as the middle class and elite. During the Gentrification, the native dwellers of the reconstructed districts are displaced. The new areas are more expensive in terms of prices for houses and rent. Besides, this process has significant social effects that I would like to discuss further.
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First of all, gentrification is viewed as the result of the attraction of the creative groups of the population to the older and poorer districts. The arrival of artists, journalists, and many other types of visionaries gives a push to the development of the deteriorating parts of the city. Their activities attract businesses, elites, reduce crime rates, and facilitate culture and education. These tendencies sound like a positive effect, but one should not forget that such negative aspects of city life as poverty and crime cannot be fixed by the cultural development and reconstruction. Instead, they are simply moved to some other parts of the city and continue to affect many people.
Another cause of gentrification is the decision of the government. This is the case when it comes to gentrification in China. This process is put into practice as an intentional urbanization and due to a large population of the country, always involves millions of citizens. In China, gentrification is implemented through policies and reforms directed at the creation of higher density in the urban population which leads to the increase in rent and housing prices and to the displacement of the low-income groups of the population to the rural areas. However, such areas may also be exposed to redevelopment. For instance, many villages were demolished for the construction of new infrastructure and readjustment of land for profit. In most cases, the displaced populations are compensated for such actions of the government, but the compensations are unfairly small and the new houses – worse than the previous ones.
When gentrification is implemented for a purpose to get rid of the low-income population and create better opportunities for the upper and middle classes, this process results in the increase of income gaps between the rich and the poor and the growing dissatisfaction of the latter. The social tension increases with the government’s privatization of the rural lands. In China, where the population is huge, the process of gentrification that simply masks the disadvantaged groups of people moving them away from developing areas is not a clever way towards the improvement of social wellbeing. The groups of depowered people grow in their sizes and require a smarter solution to the residential and economic problems.
To sum up, the gentrification initiated by the Chinese government is a very superficial way of improving the country’s economy. It is based on the replacement of poorer districts with business-oriented buildings and infrastructures. These actions are effective in terms of attraction of investments and businesses, but they also create a higher rate of poverty and social dissatisfaction due to the unfair treatment of the low-income groups of the population. This measure can be characterized as unethical from the side of the government authorities in charge of redevelopment. Gentrification in China requires a smarter strategy that would improve the way of living of the rural dwellers instead of just ruining it.