Thinking Out Loud

Gentrification: Hey, This Used To Be My Neighborhood…

By Theagarajan_CML

Sorry I was a bit MIA last week guys. We had an unfortunate family emergency that took us back to the east coast for several days and I found myself unable to focus on anything else but the issue at hand. Besides the obvious – that family emergencies are always unfortunate – it was SO weird being back in North Carolina. My father, born and raised in NC will visit from time to time but the rest of us haven’t been back in 10+ years, so it was quite a reunion. You forget the small things… like, what the air smells like and the sound of thousands upon thousands of night chirping insects that fill the air. Not to mention the 95 degree heat topped by 100% humidity that slams the sh** out of you once you step out of your air-conditioned car.

Being back in our old stomping grounds was eye opening to say the least. I mean, a small (yet beautiful) town which used to house some antique stores, few coffee shops and art galleries was now an upscale/vegan/hipster haven. After speaking with several locals and family members regarding the vast increase in housing prices and the general cost of living skyrocketing…it actually upset me. I mean, sure there is a Trader Joes now, trendy vegan bistros, hipster coffee shops and a different microbrewery around every corner (which a big part of me LOVED…shocking, I know) but what the frick man. I wouldn’t even be able to rent my old house anymore or even anything close with the current rental rates. I also noticed a significant number of transient groups and homeless individuals in and around the urban area which NEVER seemed an issue ten years ago.

Now that I am living in one of the older and inner-city areas of Fresno myself, I have mixed emotions about revitalizing downtown areas. I see great value in it, yet it worries me. What are your feelings on gentrification? How far is too far?

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