OpEd by S. Wright for BrooklynBuzz.com

The issue of gentrification in Brooklyn (and other urban areas) is a complex one with multiple contributing factors. While progressives may have played a role in advocating for certain policies or initiatives that have contributed heavily to gentrification, they are not the sole reason that there is so much gentrification in Brooklyn.

Gentrification is a process of urban development where a previously working-class or low-income neighborhood is transformed into a more affluent and expensive one, often through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. Gentrification leads to an exodus of longtime residents who can no longer afford to live in areas where they were born and raised, because the cost of housing skyrockets and forces them out.  However, gentrification can be driven by a variety of factors, including economic changes, government policies, and shifts in social attitudes.

In the case of Brooklyn, several policies have contributed to gentrification in the borough. Here are a few examples:

Zoning Policies: Zoning laws and regulations that encourage the development of upscale residential and commercial buildings have played a role in gentrifying Brooklyn. For example, in some neighborhoods, zoning laws have been changed to allow for higher-density housing, which has resulted in the construction of luxury condos and apartments that are not affordable to many longtime residents.

Tax Incentives: Tax incentives and subsidies that have been used to attract developers to certain neighborhoods have also contributed to gentrification in Brooklyn. These incentives often result in the construction of new buildings and businesses that cater to wealthier residents, while displacing lower-income residents.

Displacement of Public Housing: The demolition of public housing projects has been a major contributor to gentrification in Brooklyn. As these projects are replaced by market-rate housing, lower-income residents are often forced to leave the area, as they cannot afford the new housing options.

Real Estate Speculation: The speculative nature of the real estate market in Brooklyn has also contributed to gentrification. As property values have increased, developers and investors have rushed to buy up properties in the borough, often pushing out long-term residents and small businesses.

Transportation Infrastructure: The expansion of transportation infrastructure, such as the development of new subway lines and the extension of existing ones, has also contributed to gentrification in Brooklyn. These transportation improvements often make it easier for wealthier residents to commute to and from work in Manhattan, while making the area more attractive to developers.

It is important to note that these policies have not acted in isolation, but rather have interacted with one another to create a complex web of forces that have contributed to gentrification in Brooklyn.

While progressives may have supported many policies that have contributed to gentrification is important to recognize that gentrification is a complex issue that cannot be blamed on any one group or factor. It is important to approach gentrification with a nuanced understanding of its causes and consequences and to work towards policies that support inclusive and equitable development in urban areas.

East New York, Brooklyn, is one of the areas that is considered to be next up when it comes to massive gentrification. This is something that community members should be aware of in order as they prepare to fight against displacement caused by gentrification. When someone says they are a “progressive” you should understand what comes with progressivism.

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