Gentrification is the process of wealthier residents moving to a low income area, and the changes that occur due to the influx of wealth. These areas such as Tokyo and Los Angeles are known as ‘trendy’ cities due to their facilities and recognition around the world.
A lot of people may only see cities like New York or London as gentrified areas but in fact cities as unnoticed (on a worldwide scale) as Brisbane have been subject to ‘urbanisation’ as well.
The main impact gentrification has on cities is its power to significantly raise housing prices. According to Domain, Sydney’s median house price is at a whopping $1.15 million as of June 2017. For Melbourne, the media price is $826,000 as of April 2017 and Brisbane with a median price of $655,000 as of March 2017. These prices reflect the floods of wealthy residents coming into these cities and the changes made to fit the new landscape.
Often gentrification is seen in a negative context due to its exclusion of ‘poor’ residents. However, there are also several benefits that gentrification can do to a city. This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of gentrification in Australia and its effects on Australian citizens.
Advantages of Gentrification in Australia
1. It Boosts The Economy
As wealthy residents move into low-income cities, they bring their wealth with them. This money is used to enhance the living standards of the area and community. As a result, there becomes a significant increase of jobs given to residents. This is due to increased facilities such as new buildings, public transport and shops such as supermarkets and restaurants. For instance, many construction jobs become available each time a new building is created. These jobs decrease the unemployment rate and help the community develop into a higher standard of living.
1. Lower Crime Rates
As suburbs such as Teneriffe and Ascot continue to be some of Brisbane’s most prestigious neighbourhoods, it is evident that suburbs with higher levels of gentrification also have much lower crime rates. According to Crime Map Queensland, the highest crime rates in Queensland include suburbs such as Zillmere, Caboolture and Nambour. These suburbs are not considered ‘trendy’ areas to live and as a result, were places with more drug offences, property damage, assault and theft. This is because places with lower levels of gentrification do not have the commercial establishments to provide enough jobs which leads to an increase of crime. On the other hand, neighbourhoods such as Teneriffe, Ascot, Hamilton and Clayfield were some of the most crime free areas in Brisbane. These suburbs are considerably more gentrified areas and therefore reported fewer crimes than places further away from the city.
Disadvantages of Gentrification in Australia
1. Everything is Expensive
Due to the demand for properties in ‘trendy’ neighbourhoods, prices for housing have reached astronomical heights. As stated above, Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have significantly increased its housing prices with no evidence of slowing down. Houses are not the only things expensive in these urban areas. Other costly expenses include restaurants, shops and services such as taxis. These expenses make it difficult for commoners to afford and places such as Sydney end up becoming a playground for the rich and only the rich.
2. Downfall of Old Living Areas and Small Businesses
When gentrification increases, it is usually old living areas and small businesses that take the biggest hit. This is because these types of establishments go against what gentrification is achieving. Take for example a local grocery store. When mega supermarket chains such as Coles and Woolworths enter the picture with its brand recognition and competitive prices, it is likely the local grocery store will lose a large chunk of profit every week until it has no choice but to shut down. This is because global franchises have the facilities to make sure it is always turning a profit.
These are the most important advantages and disadvantages when it comes to gentrification. Whilst there are clear downfalls of gentrification, the advantages overall benefit society to a larger degree. Also to point out, gentrification can not be stopped so my advice would be just to embrace when it comes to your city.