Gentrification and the 99%

From skimming through all the articles, I got the idea to see if I could find any links between gentrification and the occupy movement, examining who was responsible in each case to see exactly what appeared.

In the article on gentrification in Little Portugal, Murdie and Teixeira talk first about the impact of gentrification and who is moving into what areas. The major movement is being done by those of British origin, rather than new immigrants, so much so that certain areas in Little Portugal have been overtaken, and now show that the Portuguese minority has become a minority even in traditionally Portuguese neighborhoods. Of note, though, is the fact that those of British origin had a higher average wage than both the recent immigrants and the ethnic Portuguese, but still fairly low, on average, $33788 U.S. dollars per person, and $54296 U.S. dollars per household. These numbers, higher than the average ethnic Portuguese wages of $21083 U.S. dollars per person and on par with the average Portuguese household’s $54735 per household. These averages though, seem odd, when the fact that nearly 50% of those with British origin had a degree and 50% had a “High Skill” occupation, compared with statistics of 5% and 12%, respectively, for those of Portuguese origin.

In the article on the occupy movement, we learn exactly what the 99% is and what they want, which is, in the simplest wording possible, a decrease in income disparity, and that they are young people, many of which have high skills and college degrees, but may not have a corresponding level of income. Because of this low level of income, those that live in traditional city regions, such as London, are more likely to live in poverty than those that live outside of these regions. They do, however, focus on city life when protesting, meaning that, while living there, things tend to change in the areas because of their reclamation of these public spaces, an converting them into places, suited to their own likes and dislikes.

This is where the link between the two articles appears, the idea that the people gentrifying Little Portugal are the same type of people living just outside of London to escape the high costs and risks of poverty. They are the 99%, and while gentrification has a wide variety of reasons, the fact that they are there simply because of the cost seems to be considered less important than some of the other reasons mentioned. The price of renting a home in these neighborhoods is rising because these people moved in, and while they still have more money to spend than the recent immigrants and ethnic Portuguese, they have less than those who they protest. Combining the two articles, it is easy to see that these people not only fit the typical description of an occupier, but that they fit the ideals of one as well, that is, encouraging further development of an area and increasing the social mix of these areas.

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