Neighborhood Identity and Big Business

by Ann Hayward 06/07/2020

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Several years ago in an upscale comedy club located in a relatively downscale Los Angeles neighborhood, the owner gave an impassioned speech about how gentrification was affecting the Hispanic culture that once thrived there. The overlying, tear-filled message was that nothing could be done to preserve the integrity of her home and that LA was losing its heritage. When businesses push up the cost of living, it inevitably drives out both renters and owners without the income to support it. We'll look at what can be done to stem the tides. 

Is Gentrification Inevitable?

This answer is not exactly straightforward, but it's certainly not easy to stop. When money talks, the natural response for everyone is to take more when it's offered. We've seen this nearly everywhere with a name-brand business, and the efforts to end it haven't exactly blown anyone away. 

However, there's also no reason to accept gentrification as fact either. One of the smartest ways to fight it is for everyone to band together and raise their collective voices. Most notably, we saw this in NYC when the Amazon announcement was made. The objections raised were enough to make a nearly $1 trillion company think again. 

Cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are struggling with a homelessness crisis that stems, in part, from failing to recognize how average salaries compare to average housing costs. If officials continue to assert that housing is affordable when it's anything but, the goal is to force them to confront the problem before entire neighborhoods are transformed. 

Doing the Work 

Cities impacted by big business can quickly become transient areas. People come to see their fortune, but ultimately plan to settle in a more unassuming area. This mindset is fertile territory for gentrification because it leaves big gaps in those willing to fight for long-term change. 

If people in the neighborhood are paying an exorbitant amount in rent, it's not going to end if it's not brought to anyone's attention. There needs to be some unity, regardless of motivating reasons, if there's going to be any changes. 

For example, many people have pointed to dilapidated bank-owned property as a potential source of gentrification. These abandoned homes become dens for criminal activity, causing law-abiding residents to leave and leaving room for developers to bulldoze whole blocks. Forcing cities to penalize banks who leave these properties can go a long way to preserving the neighborhood. 

Gentrification is a big topic that won't be solved by just a few dissenters. Unfortunately, it may not even stop with many dissenters. Still, there's enough evidence to show that collective action can make a difference.  

About the Author

Ann Hayward

Born in Philadelphia and raised in the suburbs, Ann Hayward got her Pennsylvania real estate license at age 18 even before going to college. This second-generation real estate professional followed in the footsteps of her father and two uncles, inheriting their passion for the business. Licensed in DC, Maryland and Virginia, Ann is accomplished in her career, with numerous designations including SFR, SRES, PSA, WHC, and multiunit Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) from the National Development Council. She specializes in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, all jurisdictions where Ann has lived and knows very well. In addition to her professional expertise, she owns and manages personal investment property, understands and has been involved in the renovation/remodeling process, and has great resources which she shares with clients. When you hire Ann to represent you, she will make your buying or selling experience an enjoyable, rewarding one. Her compassion, sensitivity to her clients’ needs, eye for detail, and ability to see the big picture when guiding you through a purchase or sale are unique assets that will ensure your success. A diverse and relevant background also gives Ann a distinct edge. For 30 years, she worked in fast-paced, high-pressure television and theatrical production, attaining the highest achievement – DGA membership as a Director, and as an award-winning staff and freelance writer. Her keen audio visual skills and design sense benefit sellers in marketing their properties, and are invaluable in helping buyers see the potential of space. A true renaissance woman, Ann was also an income tax professional and office manager for H&R Block, so she thoroughly understands the tax and financial implications of acquiring and selling real estate. Her superior organizational skills are further evidenced as owner of a downsizing/professional organizing business, Managed For You, which allows her to connect with everyone from millennials to boomers and seniors, whether for small space planning or assisting with major decluttering and transitioning. Ann holds an AB in American History from Simmons College, Boston, plus attended Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Administration where she was a candidate for Doctorate. She additionally studied Film Direction at the American Film Institute in LA, and was a Stanford University post-graduate Professional Journalism Fellow. Personally, Ann is an avid if not very good golfer, and the co-founder of a nonprofit 501c3 organization offering educational guidance, tutoring and counseling for youngsters from elementary school through college admission. She sits on the board of trustees of a nonprofit educational film production corporation as well. (202) 494-6252 [email protected]