Gentrifiers Anonymous

Gentrifiers Anonymous

Gentrifiers Anonymous primary purpose is to help gentrifiers stay conscious, humble and fair and help other gentrifiers understand their doings. See more at gentrifiers-anonymous.org or follow us at Facebook

You – A gentrifier?

  • Are you a well-educated, creative, privileged middle or high-income
    earner, student or self-employed by choice?
  • Are you living, working or spending your time in a predominantly immigrant or low-income neighbourhood?
  • Is this neighbourhood changing?
  • Are hip coffee shops, vintage stores or yoga studios replacing the corner shop, the hardware store or the old shoemaker?
  • Are buildings being renovated and longtime residents moving away without anyone really knowing where to?

In case your answers to most of these questions are yes, then accept it: your neighbourhood is gentrifying and you are a gentrifier.

But if you feel guilty about this, there are ways you can become a better urbanite.

We applaud the new cosy corner café while simultaneously feeling sad about it replacing the old corner shop. We buy our soy milk at the new organic shop while knowing we should support the local grocery store.
We enjoy the charm of our diverse and sometimes chaotic neighbourhood with its multicultural ambience, its lively community, its mix of traditions. At the same time we know that our very presence, being privileged and well-educated, is slowly making the area more homogeneous.
Let’s regroup, admit these feelings of guilt and be honest to each other: As long as we live in cities, we will never completely overcome being gentrifiers.
Acknowledging that, we shall aim to be good diversifiers in addition.

Manifesto:

1. Openness:
Gentrifiers Anonymous (GA) is an open forum for discussion, where we aim to raise the understanding between you, your actions and gentrification.

GA offers a space where everyone is welcome to share their relationship with gentrification and their city.

2. The Problem
GA understands gentrification as a shift in urban neighbourhood. The influx of middle-class residents and the cafés, boutiques and new amenities, which they bring with them, creates a homogeneous, unaffordable and hostile environment for those, who lived in and shaped the neighbourhood in the first place.

GA acknowledges that cities evolve, and while gentrified neighbourhoods benefit from e.g. lower crime rates, the city turning into an elitist bastion or a generic suburb stripped of diversity is an even greater danger.

3. Us & Us
GA rejects any binary approaches that lead to an ‘us & them’ dynamic.

There are no villains or victims in GA.

In the terms of gentrification you can be both the offender and the victim at the same time.

4. Self-reflection
Reflecting on our own positions, motivations and agencies is crucial.

GA believes in an open dialogue, which is taking our individual experiences seriously – not as a self-referential guilt-trip but advocating a self-reflexive and constructive critique.

5. Small change / big Change
GA does not ignore the broader dynamics of social, economic and material structures, but focus on how we support or resist these structures in our day-to-day lives. Our individual actions and choices DO matter.

GA considers the individual position as an initial and important starting point for the bigger change.

6. Making Space
GA believes that we all must work toward fairer forms of multiplicity, as everyone has the right to be part of a heterogeneous city.

In “Gentrifiers Anonymous” meetings zURBS get you started with some basic first steps: We will enter the city, observe the status quo as well as our own behaviour, test and discuss some exercises and interventions, and will round it up with collective ideas of how to share our cities in more productive ways.

We are aware of the paradox that while we are shaming gentrification,

gentrification is thriving because of our choices and our lifestyles.

Let’s regroup, admit these feelings of guilt and be honest to each other: As long as we live in cities, we will never completely overcome being gentrifiers.