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Northside for the People

photo of a local artist's screen print graphic

NorthMplsCulture.com seeks to minimize the impact of gentrification in our area. Under the guise of revitalization, we face serious threats to the character of our community.

Gentrification generally occurs in three distinct stages:

First, artists, non-profits, and charismatic people begin to move in to an area and set the stage as trend-setters in a given neighborhood. In this first stage, very few long-time residents are displaced, and vacant properties become occupied & rehabilitated. There is little change in the nature or character of the neighborhood since word has not spread about the area trending towards gentrification.

The second stage of gentrification brings about the first traces of displacement and resentment from long-time residents as the word spreads about the affordable housing stock and features of the neighborhood. As housing costs/values rise due to a demographic shift, more shops and boutiques appear that cater to those with more resources. Long-time residents become priced out of their local shops and even their housing as property taxes rise. Some are even displaced as a result of eminent domain as older structures are replaced by more expensive ones that will benefit the newer residents. The conflict between old and new residents intensifies as the character of the neighborhood changes.

Finally, the third stage of gentrification brings about rehabilitation on a large-scale. The changing nature of the neighborhood becomes more apparent, prices skyrocket, and even more displacement occurs. Newer residents tend not to tolerate social service facilities, low income residents, and other people & institutions that are seen as undesirable. Original residents are then displaced along with their workplaces, institutions, churches and culture. Long-time residents begin to feel alien in their own neighborhoods as industries are replaced by offices, expensive boutiques, and clubs.

Gentrification Brings:

  • Displacement
  • Neighborhood becomes more expensive
  • Smaller “Mom and Pop” shops close
  • Chain retail shops replace small business
  • New wealthy residents harass long-time residents through city ordinances
  • Polarization, classism, racism, and “Us vs. Them” mentality is perpetuated by the gentry

The list of problems resulting from gentrification goes on despite the advantages that also result from gentrification, such as: increased security, aesthetics, and some net job increases, even though those positions are rarely filled by long-time residents. Revitalization is always welcome in north Minneapolis but bulldozing and clear-cutting our neighborhood in order to serve the elite is not.

Many move to north Minneapolis because it is affordable and feel a sense of community. When I got to know many of the long-time residents, I felt like this neighborhood was “real” compared to the Disneyland districts like Uptown, the Mill District, and some other areas where suburban residents have recreated sterile environments in the middle of the city.

We need to work towards solutions that foster a mixed-income, diverse, and direct-democratic process that allows everyone to be involved. North Minneapolis Culture has been a voice for this cause for over 3 years and we will now begin to design solutions beyond informing the community alone.

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