The persistence of poverty, and gentrification

With the usual caveat to do with anything from the USA; that we cannot transfer ideas and lessons for there direct into the UK, this Pod-cast from The Knight Foundation by Joe Cartright has a number of interesting headline points:

Amongst the interesting points made are:

On the whole, poverty persists over time in the poorest neighbourhoods;

Those poor areas which have rebounded have gained population, and those which haven’t improved have lost population (but we don’t know about the actual people in these places due to lack of study and evidence);

It is bad to be poor but it is worse to be poor in places where lots of your neighbours are also poor;

All poor neighbourhoods tend to lack political clout;

Don’t concentrate poverty;

Over the last 30 to 40 years the number of neighbourhoods with concentrated poverty has tripled – although some places have gentrified, on the whole concentrated poverty has grown and is the problem;

There has been a slow and steady deterioration in poor neighbourhoods over time which has been too slow to notice;

The few poor places which have improved tend to be close to urban cores, and the poor areas are spreading out into suburbia;

Stopping the gentrification of poor neighbourhoods doesn’t stop these places from getting worse or even staying the same – they tend to get worse and poorer;

If ‘we’ are concerned about the poor, gentrification is the least of our concerns. There needs to be a halt in the intensification of poverty, and opportunities need to be expanded;

The places where there is most talk about the problems of gentrification are in the ‘1% Cities’ (such as New York and San Francisco) because these are where people are being forced out by incomers;

Building great places helps everyone.

Some interesting points and observations, and as I say we need to be careful in making these lessons to take straight to the UK.

In my view it is the big economic and political issues which make gentrification an issue and a problem.In addition, in the UK we must create more and better second-order cities as well as creating much better ‘ordinary’ places.

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