Gentrification: Friend Or Foe?

gentrification

I will begin by saying that this is not a political post but rather a post on urban planning; Zambia’s urban planning if you will.

The post is a work in progress on the foreseeable perpetual shift on the local urban landscape.

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https://mrkapalucandesigntoo.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/spat-with-moodys-spat-with-foreign-investment/

The link above mentions the foregoing in part and also the recorded growth in the country’s construction sector (domestic, public, commercial) as well as how the said growth trend is expected to continue in view of government’s commitment towards infrastructure development as reflected in their past budgets and budget proposals, according to the National Council for Construction (NCC, hereafter).

This growth, however, has brought on a shift on the local urban scene in the form of increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses by mostly the middle-income margin of society. These are all but results of Gentrification which is an imminent inclination in urban areas.

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Since Gentrification is also somewhat the effect of the augmented-decline-in-land-around-the-metropolis cause, it is then, a common and controversial topic in urban planning.

With all controversial phenomena come pros and cons, and here are but a few:

Noteworthy Pros

Justin+Gabbard+Ebony+Crop

  • Squatter camps and other illegal settlements near or within the CBD are upgraded and communities are realized.
  • With the new wave of high-income families moving into old neighborhoods, the landlords restore or repair the old buildings. So as the housing improves, the neighborhood becomes visually pleasing and more livable.
  • The neighborhoods become more advanced and modern with safer streets and jobs are created while fresh vegetables and groceries are brought to the corner store.
  • And so on and so forth.

Noteworthy Cons

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  • In a community undergoing gentrification, the average income increases. Poorer pre-gentrification residents who are unable to afford rising prices on real estateconsequently find it necessary to relocate. This has very negative effects on those communities and cultures.
  • Owing to how gradual the process is, no proper planning measures are put in place from inception and therefore the new community comes to look and work haphazardly within.
  • And so on and so forth.

My version of the best example for this is the steady development along Alick Nkhata road that snakes through Lusaka’s Kalingalinga compound.

Worst-Overused-Buzzword-Gentrification

All of this brings up a fair question: Is gentrification really that bad? After all, what’s wrong with a little economic growth?

I’ll sign off by reminding you that this is not in any way a political post.

//giphy.com/embed/3o7qDSOvfaCO9b3MlO<p><a href=”http://giphy.com/gifs/obama-mic-drop-out-3o7qDSOvfaCO9b3MlO”>via GIPHY</a></p>

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