Friday, 23 December 2011

My View

This is the view from the window in my room. My roommates, in the room connected to mine by a bathroom, have an even grander view. Yes, we live in a slum hotel, but also live in downtown Vancouver.  Some of my friends live in the Balmoral Hotel (another Slum Hotel) on the seventh floor, and they can see the Science World ball from their room. We live on prime real estate. It is ironic. The downtown eastside is prime real estate. This is where gentrification comes into play. Gentrification refers to the changes that result when wealthier people ("gentry") acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size decreases in the community. It is commonly believed that this results in the displacement of the poorer native residents of the neighborhood, who are unable to pay increased rents, house prices, and property taxes. Often old industrial buildings are converted to residences and shops. In addition, new businesses, catering to a more affluent base of consumers, move in, further increasing the appeal to more affluent migrants and decreasing the accessibility to the poor (
I am not opposed to development, I live in a Slum Hotel I know firsthand the conditions of these old decrypted buildings, they do need to be improved. What I do oppose is the displacement of hundreds and hundreds of people. I see this happening in the DTES, people no longer can afford the housing and end up on the streets and in shelters. Also, in the attempts to "clean up" the neighbourhood, people who are considered "dirty" are pushed out. I am not opposed to "cleaning up" neighbourhoods, I live in the DTES, and it is dirty. I am opposed to labelling people as "dirty" and pushing them out of their neighbourhoods. Where do we expect people to go? We push them out of one neighbourhood into another and then push them out again. We keep pushing people out, people will not disappear.

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