Economic Development News & Insight


Gentrification in Brooklyn: From the 70s to now

/ January 24, 2014 /

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Gentrification has become something of a hot topic in today’s global community. The effects of it have been felt everywhere, but in a riveting documentary titled My Brooklyn, director Kelly Anderson discusses these effects through the lens of a member of Brooklyn’s diverse community through the 1970s and into the 2000s.

The documentary focuses on the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn, described by residents as a place for conversation with people you’ve known all your life. Throughout the documentary, Kelly uses the Fulton Mall to show the changes that come with the development and gentrification of cities. Beginning with a historical look at Brooklyn after the Great Depression, continuing with the effects of the move to the suburbs in the 1970s and the eventual “redlining” of communities deemed unsuitable for development by the City of New York, and into 2002 with New York’s plan to develop Brooklyn and make it a haven for professionals, Kelly outlines the negative effects gentrification has on small businesses and communities in the development area.

We’ve posted about the effects of gentrification before: Cat Johnson wrote about bringing back affordable housingRobyn Spencer brought a Canadian perspective to the discussion with an article about the development of the Waldorf in Vancouver, and Lauren Millier blogged about The Last Bohemia, Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a look at the effects of gentrification in a once thriving industrial neighborhood. The loss of the downtown core often goes hand in hand with gentrification, and while development is usually portrayed as a positive thing for the community, Kelly’s documentary reveals the negative effects. The development of Brooklyn rearranged whole communities, forced entire families to relocate, and pushed out established businesses within those communities through high taxes and loss of business.

My Brooklyn asks the questions of exactly what gentrification forced Brooklyn to become, who belonged in this “new” Brooklyn, and most importantly, who has the authority to force out entire communities for the sake of development.

You can watch the documentary here.

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