When You're Gentrifying Your Home City

When You're Gentrifying Your Home City

If you can’t afford the rents in the place you grew up, but you want to keep living in your hometown–and that town happens to be New York City–and you’re young and white and you move to an affordable neighborhood, are you a part of its gentrification, or a victim of your home neighborhood’s gentrification? Or, since our neighborhood might be considered a comparatively affordable one, what is it called if you grew up here and still live here?

A woman who grew up in Park Slope and Greenwich Village has a piece in The Atlantic Cities discussing how people label her a gentrifier because she now lives in Harlem:

When you’re a New York native, though, paying market rate in your own childhood neighborhood is a new level of insult… If I moved to an upper-class neighborhood, I would slow down gentrification in lower-income communities. But I’d also be actively participating in my own displacement. For my middle-class friends of color, this dynamic is all the more painful. Young urban natives with safety nets and resources but pathetic paychecks and zero savings may be enablers of cultural gentrification, but they’re also casualties of American cities’ growing income gap and shrinking middle class.

With rents in Brooklyn reportedly up 10% in the past year, it’s getting more expensive for everyone to live here, whether you grew up here or not.

For those who grew up in our neighborhood, do you feel like you have to make sacrifices to live close to your friends and family? And for those who live here, but grew up in a now-pricier part of the city, would you have stayed closer to home if you hadn’t been priced out?