Few words have been used as much in articles about 21st Century New York City as “gentrification.” The term is a touchstone of local politics, a major factor in debates about everything from rezonings and rent regulations to street art and neighborhood retail.
While most (if not all) people acknowledge gentrification is happening in New York City, and most (if not all) folks acknowledge that the phenomenon has a negative side, there are big differences and open questions around the particulars: whether particular policies are driving gentrification or other policies might curtail it, whether gentrification and displacement are inextricably linked, whether “the G word” is, overall, a constructive or destructive force in the five boroughs.
On January 15, Brooklyn Historical Society hosted a discussion that tapped into some of those open questions. It featured Matthew Schuerman, author of Newcomers: Gentrification and Its Discontents; Kay Hymowitz, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring a City Back; and James Rodriguez, professor of history at Guttman and contributor to the book Racial Inequality in New York City Since 1965. Your correspondent moderated.
Hear the talk below.