Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gentrification: There Goes the Neighborhood

Gentrification: does it represent an improvement to an aging neighborhood. Or the loss of affordable housing. Or a way for people with tastes beyond their pocketbooks to afford a bit of upscale living. You pays your money and takes your choice. I'd say it's all of the above. Thus far, most gentrification in Prescott has taken place over among the downtown Victorians. But other areas of older housing are beginning to see the rehabbers.

Perhaps the first sign of gentrification is the arrival of an over-sized dumpster, where perfectly usable but dated fixtures -- kitchen and bathroom sinks, appliances, etc. -- will land to make room for granite counter tops, whirlpool baths and other modern amenities.

Oh, yes, the ready-mix truck may make an appearance...

or perhaps a pair of independent workmen with a smaller concrete mixer.

A youngish (i.e., middle-aged, childless) couple may often be seen painting, landscaping or both.

A sure sign of gentrification is the color selection, especially the use of more than two colors.

Unexpected or extra-bright colors are another sign that the neighborhood is changing.

And while gentrification certainly has its downsides, it sure beats that other urban housing trend, teardowns. I've only come across one Prescott property being sold as a teardown (pictured below), in this case suggested for apartments, since it boasted a fair amount of land. Looks to me that with rehabbing, it might have been a neat dwelling!

My bro, who lives in Perth, Western Australia, tells of beautiful old houses on large lots going for big bucks to be replaced with lot-wide McMansions sitting cheek-by-jowl; the losers are the old trees, he says. And there are reports of neighborhoods in some American cities being torn apart to make room for similar Residences (that's upscale real estate talk for so-called Executive Houses.) All I can say is a loud UGH!


catalyst said...

I recall reading about that happening in Phoenix, Scottsdale and (gasp) even Paradise Valley a few years ago.

Re the colors: it's beginning to look like a nice neighborhood in Mexico, where primary colors are not a reason to call the zoning police.

Granny J said...

There is,of course, the McCormick Street "art district". I'm all for bright colors except on the high sides of hills, where anything except for adobe color stands out like a sore thumb (and that includes otherwise pretty white Cape Cods.)

Mary G. said...

A purple house or a robin's egg blue house up on a hillside would be less obtrusive than a nice conservative, white Cape Cod.

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