In Sophie Barker blog entries, the issue of super-gentrification by the rich is discussed. In the blog, the author noted that the phenomenon doesn’t substantially increase the prices of properties in the urban regions. The blog seems to indicate that the phenomenon is just a hype that is not based on fact. In this response to the blog, my intention is to provide a counter-argument based on the insights presented in a recent article. The author in this article is Barker (2017) and they noted that super-gentrification by the rich causes property prices to increase significantly and eventually destroy the social aspects of the neighbourhood.
In the article used to support the counter-argument, the author addresses the social status connected to where an individual life. The article discusses the super-gentrification of urban areas and the theme of ‘buy to leave’ presents an interesting idea and phenomenon worthy of review (Barker, 2017). In the article, the author noted that the wealthy buy the prime properties because of the qualities, but they rarely spend time there. It is notable that the super wealthy individuals have little time to spend in the neighbourhood since they are busy completing their projects. However, they are also in search of the best qualities that come with prime properties. They look for estates with high security, free-access, and blocked access to those who do not belong. These individuals have private cars, personal bodyguards, fortress homes, and other unique features that are not present in other homes. These are the reasons that they purchase properties in these areas. When they live in such areas, their preferences and lifestyles rub onto the other inhabitants who may have little to spend. In the concept of ‘buy to leave’, it is interesting because the super wealthy ruin the neighbourhoods that they once dreamt to live in. Like in the case studies of the West Kensington and Chelsea, it is likely for the super-rich to unintentionally destroy the cities they inhabit because of the consequences for prices and rent (Barker, 2017).
In the article, it is noted that their presence drives up rent and property prices even when these individuals are rarely in their homes. However, these consequences aren’t intended because they do not intentionally attempt to drive prices up. It is also not their intention not to spend more time on their properties. Therefore, even though it is easy to blame the super-gentrification on them, it is clear that the consequences are unintended. At the end of the day, the neighbourhoods they join are likely to deteriorate socially as prices and rent go up (Gravari-Barbas and Guinand, 2017, p. 286). As the prices of the properties go up, businesses cannot survive in these areas and the result is that they move to other areas (Krase, 2016; Ray, 1998, p112). When this occurs, it means that the neighbourhoods have little people to use the expensive resources availed and it makes the social status of the neighbourhood to deteriorate (Brown-Saracino, 2013, p. 246). Based on the ideas introduced by this argument, it is notable that the counter-argument is logical since the article has provided evidence through case studies to show how super-gentrification leads to social degradation of neighbourhoods.
Barker, S. (2017). Super-gentrification by the Super-rich. [Online] Available at: http://2017-2018.nclurbandesign.org/2017/12/super-gentrification-super-rich/ [Accessed 26 December 2017].
Brown-Saracino, J. (2013). The Gentrification Debates: A Reader. Routledge.
Gravari-Barbas, M. and Guinand, S. (2017). Tourism and Gentrification in Contemporary Metropolises: International Perspectives. Taylor and Francis.
Krase, J. (2016). Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class. Routledge.