Harsh realities of gentrification affect local communities

By Luis Lopez, Advocate Staff

The recent tech industry boom has brought an influx of new money into the Bay Area and gentrification seems to be a word associated with this recent influx, usually with negative connotations.

However, gentrification is not a bad thing, it is a part of a civilization’s evolution.

Locals complain newcomers are getting rid of existing culture, which exasperates a sad truth ­— new people moving in have no obligation to preserve existing communities.

If locals truly treasure their culture and community, they will be united and protect it.

This is not to say the current cities facing gentrification have not had concerned community members who tried to protect them. However, their efforts have not been universally supported.

There is only one way of making one’s community their own and that is to own it.

Cities can only strive and survive by having money flow through the economy and some only exist because of new money being injected into them by high paying members of the tech community.

Poor neighborhoods end up being more bad than good for a city.

An argument can be made that poor neighborhoods were created systemically by the cities themselves through lack of education and resources. However, it is also true that educational and financial systems will be rejuvenated in poorer cities because of these new wealthier community members.

Tech workers with above average salaries have been paying top dollar for Bay Area property, which has driven local property prices to reach national highs.

The high prices are a result of large tech companies like Facebook and Twitter building their headquarters in the Bay Area.

All these workers are moving into the Bay Area and taking up all the housing, and according to Business Insider, employees for Facebook and Twitter make about $120,000 per year.

An employee for those companies makes twice as much as the average American salary of $61,000 a year.

Most of the property purchased is located in poor neighborhoods and is slowly being renovated to accommodate middle class housing.

Citizens don’t like being kicked out of their hometowns by wealthier newcomers, but locals must understand the way that business works.

Money talks and the city you know and love is only loyal to the dollar.

This is a part of evolution — natural selection isn’t pretty, but that’s how it works.

The solution to gentrification lies in the citizens uniting and buying their property before big money comes into town. It is almost impossible to hold corporations accountable for coming into cities and establishing new roots.

If community members truly care about the incursion, citizens must be proactive, not reactive.

Like the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, current Bay Area culture will be a thing of the past.

Preserving it, while important on a social level, will not mean nearly as much to the cities as the wealthy newcomers coming in paying top dollar to bring them into the 21st century.