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    A Summary of “The Right to Stay Put, Revisited: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City,” by Kathe Newman and Elvin K. Wyly

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    Kathe Newman and Elvin K. Wyly wrote “The Right to Stay Put, Revisited: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City” to raise awareness to the growing displacement of apartment dwellers in New York. For those who don’t know, “Gentrification is directly related to how cities experience economic transformation and policy interventions.” Gentrification first became apparent in the 1960s at which time it was not of much importance.

    Lately, however, “the new evidence on displacement is being used to dismiss concerns about a wide range of market-oriented urban policies of privatization” causing gentrification to be seen as unimportant. Newman and Wyly conducted a series of studies in New York City that showed who is displaced where and when. These studies show, “displacement from New York City neighborhoods ranging between 25 023 and 46 606 households for each of the time-periods covered by the separate surveys. This translates to an annual estimate between 8341 in the 1991-93 period and a high of 11 651 per year between 1999 and 2002.” That is a whopping 6.2-9.9 per cent of the renting population studied every year.

    Newman and Wyly go on to say that “displacement appears to fluctuate substantially over time in the context of rhythms of housing market competition.” When the housing market is booming the displacement of tenants is greater because of the flow of people into homes. Then, when enough people have homes the displacement slows down. The private strategy to avoid gentrification is simply to buy a house.

    “Home-ownership is often viewed as a protection against gentrification but, as housing values increase, rising property taxes often make home-ownership impossible, especially for the elderly and other residents on fixed incomes.” The elderly, specifically older women, have a hard enough time finding a cheaper place to rent they would not be able to find a house to save their necks. Their low-income puts them in a tight spot. They are not able to buy a home and they can hardly find a low rent apartment so they end up outside the city living with family.

    Finally, neighborhoods that are being improved at last are displacing the residents because the price to stay there has gone up drastically. There are the few neighborhoods, however, that do make it affordable to the people first living there. This is all due to the intervention of the public. “Community organizations play an important role in ensuring the availability of affordable housing through their organizing and housing production efforts.” These organizations are what make it possible for the pre-existing community to remain where they are and to function well.

    Newman and Wyly conclude by stating, “Underestimating displacement involves high costs for theoretical understanding of neighborhood change and even higher tolls for poor and working-class residents and the tattered policies in place to give them some protection.” Therefore, do not take for granted where you are right now and who surrounds you because you could be the next on the list to be displaced from your home. And especially for the elderly and other residents on fixed incomes

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    A Summary of “The Right to Stay Put, Revisited: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City,” by Kathe Newman and Elvin K. Wyly. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/a-summary-of-the-right-to-stay-put-revisited-gentrification-and-resistance-to-displacement-in-new-york-city-by-kathe-newman-and-elvin-k-wyly/

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