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Leidy Obregon

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Gentrification has a huge impact on not only the people being forced out, but the community as a whole. We interviewed an Atlantic City Resident asking her many questions about the problems that have to be dealt with in the county, and ways that those resolutions can be put into motion. A topic that stood out while doing the interview was about the redevelopment and gentrification that takes place in many communities that are in urban settings having low income. Stephanie, the interviewee, said “When the government does that [gentrification] it kind of backfires. When the construction of the Revel Casino was taking place, they had paid people to move out of their homes so they had a place to build. The Revel closed after three years of it being open. So you’re paying people to move out of their homes, but it’s not a long term solution. There are so many empty buildings, so many empty lots, which is just wasting money that could be going towards renovating buildings. People in AC don’t usually have that flexibility of spending, and being able to move somewhere else without it taking its toll.” This type of redevelopment has had its impact on many different communities throughout modern time. There has been a shift of where people want to live now that cities are less industrialized and more commercialized. Before the 50s it was common for people with high income to want to live away from the city, while low income families could only afford to live in the cities because of cheap housing. Now that cities hold the biggest commercialized industries, more and more people want to be able to live in the city. This caused a spike in demand and a decrease in supply making the prices of the buildings that were once affordable for many working-class citizens to not be anymore. Since most people that have low income are of minority background, it has had big impact on the demographics of many cities. Low income African Americans is the biggest population living in Atlantic City right now, and although gentrification’s direct aim isn’t to kick out people of color and replace them with white people of high middle-class income, it is what usually ends up happening. “What once was a middle-class black area where residents owned their homes and businesses is today a highly gentrified space with high-end soul food restaurants and expensive condominiums” (Jackson and Jones, 2014). In AC there have been many redevelopment failures causing, as Stephanie said, a loss of money that could be used to renovate run down building and lots. Instead of trying to bring a new community into AC, which is what happens when gentrification takes place. The government should work together with the community that is already there to help build up AC again. Working with the community will help give a voice to the people that are going to be impacted the most, since many of them feel powerless when it comes down to the decisions being made in their own homes.