The flip side of gentrification

Avery+Owens

Gentrification is the transformation of a non-affluent community. This is a change that sounds good in theory, but there is a flip side.

Jasmine Meredith, Staff Writer

In simpler words, gentrification is the displacement of the less fortunate due to the desires of the wealthy, and it’s happening in my neighborhood. 

Living in the same house all my life with my mom and older brother, we have seen many neighbors come and go, all primarily African American or Hispanic. We live in a decent area right next to the interstate not too far from the main attractions Tampa has to offer. Many small blackowned businesses and stores all over, many grouping houses (big homes providing housing for many individual people) are ready to welcome people with unfortunate backgrounds. Lots and lots of kids eager to go to the park isn’t nearly half the list of things that used to be in the neighborhood and surrounding areas that are now near to extinction. 

A couple years back it started in West Tampa projects (government owned low-income housing) were a significant part of the community, housing many low-income families were torn down for the expansion of the interstate and those families were forced out. Some went peacefully mesmerized by the little bit of money they were offered, others who weren’t so enthusiastic and tried to stand ground but in the end were forced out, with no plan of where to go or what to do, now in that very same area the old projects once stood are newly built luxurious overpriced apartments. 

We keep up with our house and its appearance it looks like you’re bringing the suburbs to the hood, but now it’s not just us. As gentrification progresses closer and closer to me, I now notice many houses I never acknowledged before with their fancy trimmings, greenest of the green grass, white picket fences, security cameras and expensive $100,000 cars parked in the driveway, and I know better than anyone else it’s not the same old “Mrs. Johnson” occupying that house anymore.  

Without moving, I don’t think I ever expected to have a white neighbor the area can be labeled from perspective as “dangerous” and full of “hoodlums” simply because it is primary black but now in what seemed like the blink of an eye half of my neighborhood has been wiped out and replaced with white neighbors or the houses have been bought and are being redone for people who can afford to drop a pretty penny. People are being forced out of their homes and longtime neighborhoods just so the more fortunate can enjoy the location and it is not right.