Gentrification (The Long and dirty Word)
Introduction and Research Question
Gentrification is occurring in my community. I live in the Bronx but I went to high school in Harlem and sometime around my sophomore I began to notice new apartments built in the place of former project houses especially in East Harlem (Spanish Harlem). I saw some of the prices to these apartments and I knew the people in the neighborhood could not afford to live there. I live about a block away from ”the projects” and for the past few years many new businesses have been built. Before coming to Bowdoin I noticed there was a change in the management of my building and that many repairs were being made.
Everything seemed to be “glammed up”: the parking lot, the lobbies, even the mailboxes! When I went back home for Thanksgiving break, I found out that the rent (which had been steadily increasing) had been raised again, but this time by 50%. Reading articles like the Business Insider’s “New York’s East Harlem: Neighborhood Fighting To Keep Its Culture In The Face Of Gentrification” made me think of what I saw in Spanish Harlem and made me wonder whether that was happening to my neighborhood. It helped me realize that gentrification is not something that only happens to public houses or is done simply to lower crime rates as much as politicians try to push that. My experience is in line with the traditional definition of gentrification-when a group of people are displaced to cater to a more privileged people. Through the analysis of my Twitter data, and with the help of Google trends, Gephi, Social Explorer, Batch Geo and the World Wide Web, I found out that gentrification is not only physical, it is also virtual. By examining the context in which #gentrification is used, this paper seeks to show the change in the use of the word gentrification depending on the space it is used.
I expected to find many tweets from the East Coast because I thought gentrification mostly affected people in New York. I did not expect to find Tweets from outside the United States, not did I expect to find tweets in other languages. I expected the tweets to all discuss gentrification as something they were helpless against.
Visualization is a “visualization is a jump from raw data” (Yau 2013, 92) that tells a story.