Does that strike anybody else as slightly racist…?
Gentrification (which is what “up and coming” tracks) is fundamentally racial, particularly in very diverse cities like London and the major American cities. I don’t think the author is racist to document a metric like this that merely captures what people who are really behaving in a racist way (realtors) mean… after all, it’s their decision to call a neighborhood “hot,” “up and coming,” or “on the rise”–and to call another one dangerous, or even refuse to show it–that is the target being aimed at.
If density of different types of retail establishments in these maps is more or less functioning as a racial proxy, it’d be interesting to look at whether you get similar maps by just using racial data directly. Are likely-to-gentrify-soonest areas just areas that have low housing prices but high percentage of white population? Or is there some other factor, e.g. cheap areas with coffee shops indicate not only poorer white areas, but a certain kind of poorer white area? (Maybe: those with more poor white artists, rather than poor white laborers.)
If you look at demographic data, what typically happens is that there are “fringe” areas where two socioeconomic groups border each other. Depending on the economic conditions of the given city, what typically happens is that, on these permeable fringes, people marginally attached to either the richer or the poorer group tends to spread to the other “side” of the fringe. In a “declining” area, for example, houses will sell slower (or rents will diminish), and poorer people with some resources who are aspiring to “move up” can buy into the “nicer” side of the neighborhood. In an “up and coming” area, people with a marginal attachment to the richer group buys into the poorer side of the fringe. They tend to be less risk-averse and have fewer resources, but are still more closely aligned with the “richer” side.
Racial concentrations are the most visible way this manifests, and the most stereotypical. White kids who are more aligned with middle class whites than the minorities they are displacing, move into a poorer neighborhood. It becomes “cool,” and is perceived as less dangerous. It may even become less dangerous, not least because of racist policing policies. The other direction (minorities moving into white neighborhoods) is the stereotypical older white person saying “there goes the neighborhood,” and was actually a policy of real estate speculators in the mid-Twentieth Century, called blockbusting.
If you’re interested in this topic, Philadelphia is a very interesting case study. Over the last twenty years it has gone from being one of the most down-and-out of American cities to having a rapidly gentrifying core. Because of the timespan (roughly 1995 to the present), you can find many articles and discussions about which neighborhoods are considered dangerous or “safe” at a given time, and so on. There is a perceived safety map, and it’s big enough that there are many articles about gentrification in the city.
Yeah. Gentrification is both racist and classist, inherently; trying to pretend otherwise is … certainly beneficial to real-estate agents, but people writing about it should do better. Even in pieces that do try, I seldom see mention of redlining.
Yep. Pretty racist.
This article documents gentrification, which is grounded in race. To call it racist is to call the discussion racist, which I don’t think is productive. The author is using proxies about race (fried chicken vs coffee) to raise the discussion that black people are being systematically pushed farther out of the city - there is nothing racist about the discussion. On the other hand, saying “I won’t move here because black people” is about as racist as it gets.
But the author isn’t raising that discussion. He references fried chicken but never states the inference. The words “black” and “race” don’t appear once. And the entire framing is that this data is presented to inform decisions about where to move, with occasional mentions that you clearly want the “up and coming” neighborhoods.
I’m pretty sure “fried chicken implies black people” is a very American thing. In London it’s more likely a matter of “kfc is popular with poor people”