Breaking the Code
If you are a person of color, chances are you have been code-switching most of your life. Code-switching is defined by having to adjust your style of speech, appearance, behavior, and expression to optimize comfort of others and to gain fair treatment, quality service, and employment opportunities. As a black woman in the corporate world, code-switching is the only way to get ahead in the professional space. This means not wearing braids in my hair for fear of not up holding the dress code, or choosing your language carefully to avoid the "Angry Black Woman" moniker. Careful, be sure not to cross your arms across your chest, even if you are cold in the over airconditioned office. Code-switching in the workplace exists in everyday life. Understanding the meanings of statements like, "I don't see color" or "Cleaning up the streets" helps you be a better ally to people of color.
Understanding the Code = Separating Gentrification and Displacement
New development and growing industry is good for communities. It can promote health, build wealth for all, and strengthen the community when it is thoughtful process designed to minimize displacement. Contractors, developers, and some elected officials are driven by the additional funds that could bring them wealth at the expense of the community by instituting evictions, rent hikes, additional taxation. This practice ultimately results in an the displacement and destruction of the existing community. Often times phrases like, "Keep our city safe" (Additional police instead of resources and understanding) or actions like removing basketball hoops and play equipment seem to be the go to answer on solving crime. Oye. Understanding the code, means asking questions. How will you keep our city safe?
The Solution... dun, dun, dun.
Protecting Tenants. Tenants are the most vulnerable group to gentrification because of drastic rent increases and the refusal to accept governmental assistance such as section 8. Although rent subsidies and other public funds do help the tenant often owners refuse to accept them due to the stigma that they represent. Rent skewing is a solution protecting tenants. Rent skewing is a system in which higher-income residents subsidize the rent of low-income residents. In the cases of house rentals, or duplexes a potential solution is to offer the tenant the first right to purchase the home and allowing them time to secure mortgages.
Controlling Ownership and Development. Land ownership has always been a way to define and control the environment that surrounds you. Often during gentrification targeted areas are often privatized leading to an interest-driven ownership as opposed to strengthening the community. Anti abandonment policies can help reduce displacement and disruption. Working with local alderman a community to establish these policies or enact laws that prohibit the amount of private expansion.
Supporting Community Empowerment
To sustain the life of the community means empowering residents by listening to their needs. Not the needs "you think" is need, but to survey the community and understand any shortfalls. Empowerment is the strategy that that mitigate displacement and increase participation of the community. Gentrification then becomes a collaboration in which the community is involved in the process of redevelopment. Supporting the community also means promotion of local business by offering local tax breaks or creating a coalition to maximize success. Small local business equates to local jobs that sup
port the community.
As we experience economic growth the expression and actions of gentrification should be considered to ease transition, growth of the market and restoration of disinvested communities. Local governments who are conscious of their actions in the growth of their cities and townships will experienced increased voter turnout, in addition to, happy and healthy residents.
Ghaffari, L., Klein, J.-L., & Angulo Baudin, W. (2017). Toward a socially acceptable gentrification: A review of strategies and practices against displacement. Geography Compass, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12355
Havens-Morris, G., & Block, W. E. (2022). Moving Forward,Gentri, Fication. Probate & Property, 36(1), 24–31.
Kim, H., Woosnam, K. M., & Kim, H. (2022). Urban gentrification, social vulnerability, and environmental (in) justice: Perspectives from gentrifying metropolitan cities in Korea. Cities, 122, 103514. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2021.103514