The South Bronx may not yet be an increasingly pricey hipster haven like the Lower East Side, Williamsburg or Bushwick, but local residents are already wary of creeping gentrification.
Community organizers convened the borough’s first annual gentrification conference Saturday, warning residents that speculation and an out-of-control real estate market is a threat to the affordability of their homes, DNAinfo reported.
“A lot of people who live in this neighborhood are not aware of [gentrification] because there aren’t a lot of signs, Starbucks, restaurants, things like this,” Ed Morales, an author who helped organize the conference, told onlookers. “But it’s very perilous.”
The annual median income in the South Bronx is around $17,000, well below the federal poverty line, and a number of residents reside in public housing or rent-regulated apartments. For locals who already shell out as much as half their income on rent, panelists said, the Bronx becoming the next East Harlem would only threaten them further.
Ted Weinstein, director of Bronx planning for the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, sang a different tune however, pointing to the potential good that comes along with private development. Such activity could revitalize the South Bronx, he told the panel, bringing increasingly diverse retail, improved health and education.
“Sometimes concerns about gentrification can turn into an anti-development attitude,” he told DNAinfo. [DNAinfo] — Julie Strickland