Seeds: The post World War II era not only saw a boom in baby-making, but also a boom in the housing market, thanks to the passing of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, or the GI Bill. Among other things, the GI Bill made it extremely easy for WWII veterans to buy houses, resulting in a surge of suburbanization that pulled affluent families out of the cities and into the suburbs. As a result of the GI bill, and the practice of redlining (a process in which the federal government refuses to back the loans of black people, making it nearly impossible for them to move into these suburban neighborhoods), suburbs across the country all looked pretty much the same, white and wealthy. Meanwhile, urban areas tended to be far more diverse and far less affluent. However, in recent years, Americans are moving towards urbanization and away from suburbanization, especially among the youth. In other words, the great grandchildren of these WWII veterans have joined the cult of hipsterdom and have converged upon America’s cities.
Core: The flocking of these predominantly young white millennials with affluent backgrounds has caused the widespread growth of gentrification in urban areas across the country. Gentrification is the renovation of certain neighborhoods or areas, making them more appealing members of upper and middle classes, changing the culture of the area and often displacing its former residents. The invasion of these wealthy populations have caused the price of living in these areas to drastically increase, essentially making them far too expensive to live for people who have lived there for generations.
Skin: Some people argue that gentrification allows for the revitalization of cities, making them safer and attracting new businesses that are helpful to the local economy, and thus is an overall positive. However, others assert that gentrification displaces non-wealthy people from the only places they have ever known, giving them no place to go, and forcing them to start over.
Leaves: The effects of gentrification can be seen in the migration of many African-Americans to more affordable Southern states, essentially reversing the trend of blacks moving to northern cities after the Great Migration of the early 1900s.
Food For Thought: Do you gentrification has an overall positive or negative effect? Will the trend of urbanization continue or will people once again begin to flock to suburban areas?