Comment 53174

By isayrrr (registered) | Posted December 15, 2010 at 17:29:37

I've spent the last while listening to the discussion on gentrification. I went to the panel discussion that the author mentions, read the MayDay and HMag articles, and comments, etc, but I haven't really input my voice into this discussion yet.

What strikes me from what I have observed, heard, and read, is that I really haven't heard any voice from the folks living in the North end, on James St N, etc that are not in the arts scene.... One question I would ask is: Has anyone that has opened a business talked with folks in the North End to ask what they think? I think that EVERYONE would benefit from doing this.

I'm also concerned about the polarization of the gentrification 'debate', and the crippling generalizations that are created through this. Like I think Undustrial was saying, just because someone is concerned about gentrification, it doesn't mean that they are necessarily opposed to a wealthier population moving into the North End. The dismissive nature of the comments I have read on facebook (ex. joking: "You gentrifier you!" etc) and replies to articles are extremely discouraging and make me wonder how I should go about starting to talk with folks who own businesses on James St. N, as a person who is worried about what will happen down the road with the North End community, and would like to ask questions and share perspectives... Now it's about "pro-gentrification and anti-gentrification" but I really don't think it's as simple as that. If I told you (a member of the arts community, a business owner, someone who values independent businesses on James St. N, etc) that I had concerns around gentrification, would you decide I was automatically against you and not want to talk at all even though we had never spoken before? Would you immediately assume we were on total opposite sides?

When I read responses and comments from the arts community, I hear a lot of anger and defensiveness, and perhaps this is sparked especially by some of the language used to bring up concerns around gentrification (and, I do realize that there are a lot of varying understandings and definitions of this word), and also because I can imagine that a lot of work was put into a particular project perhaps, and it could therefore be really personal..... But I still think that diverse voices have a right to speak up. Having a store or gallery on James St N may be a personal project, but once it situates itself within the context of a community, it's a public matter too. It's pretty clear stance on how one feels about revitalization in the city, and it's a stance that also gains much more weight in this discussion. A business owner in a community has a loud voice and a valued weight of opinion. I was amazed at the outrage that resulted from the FatCat sticker campaign! Such small stickers to voice a different opinion...

Anyhoo... I've been really unsure of how to enter into a dialogue in which my own role and voice has been so clearly outlined for me before I even uttered a word. I hope this is received well.

Comment edited by isayrrr on 2010-12-15 16:35:35

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