This short zine collects two essays that seek to define gentrification and explore the displacement that come with it. While much of popular and even radical discourse focuses on simplistic definitions and formulas to determine what is and isn’t gentrification, this text tries to bring in insights from academic writing on the topic and present it in a way that is easy to understand. Moreover, it attempts to add a measure of nuance that is often missing in these discussions with the hope that a sharper analysis will result in stronger responses.
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Excerpt from Defining Gentrification & On Displacement: Two Essays
Despite fifty years of research, popular debates around gentrification tend to focus on an incredibly narrow definition where direct and documented physical displacement must have immediately occurred. We see this all the time in Grand Rapids, where developers, the city government, cheerleaders for gentrification, and others claim that the changes happening in the city are not gentrification because an overly specific conception of the idea is not happening. By focusing on such a narrow definition, it has hidden the gentrification that is happening on a much wider – and increasingly generalized – scale throughout the city.