How do you solve an issue that appears to have no point of resolution in sight? You start talking and you keep talking until all the parties find a path that works for those involved. It was with that in mind that the Lexington Forum’s program committee decided to tackle the topic of Gentrification verses Accommodation. They asked the simple question “How does Lexington get it right?”
So, what is “gentrification?” It’s a loaded word. It’s a word always associated with cities on the rebound, and Lexington is no different. Generally, “gentrification” is a term for this: The arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders.The effects of Gentrification are complex and contradictory, and its real impact varies. The intent of this morning’s program is to provide an opportunity to hear from folks who are living -day to day- with issues created by Gentrification. The perspectives of our four panelists will be about what is happening right now in these neighborhoods.
Discussion moderator, Tom Martin, opened the conversation with these words during the Forum’s October Meeting. The Forum hosted four panelists to discuss various perspectives on the topic of Gentrification verses Accommodation. The four panelists were Tanya Torp, Christian Torp, Rock Daniels, and Van Meter Petit. Each panelist spoke briefly on the topic from their point of view and then, the floor opened for audience participation.
While it felt all too brief the discussion brought some great points and questions to light. Such as: How do we provide affordable housing and still enable developers to make the profit necessary to remain in business? Is it actually wrong to displace people or does it lead to healthier communities in the long run? What are the unintended consequences of well meaning people? These questions and more are still left unanswered and we as a community ought to have a desire, if not a responsibility, to continue this conversation.
During the discussion several resources to assist residents of the areas being impacted were brought to light. They include the following:
– local non profit that strives to educate and prepare potential homeowners and then assist them with the transition to ownership.
The Community Land Trust will host a national conference at the Hilton on October 19-22. To see the agenda and conference details please use the link below.
As always we are grateful to the moderator, panelists, and attendees that contributed to another great community conversation that mattered.