Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NY Times On Oakland Gentrification

The Times published an article a few days ago ostensibly about all the protests in Oakland. Here it is.

The article correctly points out that the protests are mostly the last gasp of an old mode of thinking about Oakland. In fact, the protests are largely a reaction to Oakland's continuing gentrification. The process has begun in earnest, and it will not stop.

Here's another article by a blogger who disagrees. He makes some reasonable points, but the thrust of his argument is wrongheaded.

That's not to say that Oakland will lose its seedier neighborhoods. I expect East Oakland to remain a disaster zone more or less forever.

But that's not the point. No one cares about East Oakland, just as no one really cares about the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Areas like those are meant to be avoided.

The reason people care about gentrification in the first place is it increases property values in the reasonable parts of a city, providing above-normal returns to those who purchase in those areas.

This, I believe, is what is beginning to happen throughout several neighborhoods in Oakland. Sure, the schools will remain terrible as they do in nearly all Democrat-controlled big cities. But people will pay up to live in those neighborhoods because of the cool factor and the proximity to employment.