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Old 03-23-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
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Gentrification

Consider this an offshoot of the Real Estate Thread.

Making the news lately. Things are getting interesting in the DTES with our local "activists" / "anarchists" are making trouble for local businesses that in their minds don't meet their model of development.

Save-On Meats:
Save On Meats hunting for sign-stealing ‘anarchists’ as group targets Vancouver’s ‘capitalists’ | Canada | News | National Post

Smaller item, sign stolen from them and responsibility claimed by the anarchists.

Pidgin Restaurant:
Editorial: Vancouver

That's actually a good editorial on the general situation. Basically, someone opened a higher class restaurant in an area that some believe should shovel out shit.

I don't have a link to an article, but a restaurant on Commercial has had windows smashed numerous times because its not, supposedly, fitting in with someone's vision of the Drive.

So, the question becomes...whats the answer? We have a small group that are now full on vigilante on the subject of determining what businesses they deem fit in the city.

You have people complaining about the low income portion of the Olympic village that the 30% they pay for housing doesn't include utilities. Now, I'm fully aware of the problems with Olympic Village, and how the social housing aspect was being slashed multiple times throughout the development phase from 400 ish down to 125...but come on. You can't win! Free. We'll just make it goddamned free.

How do people feel about the same group(guaranteed to involve the ones that smashed the windows to the Bay during the Olympic protest) running around being petty criminals in the hopes of being anarchists, protecting the city?

Thoughts.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:33 AM   #2
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\I don't have a link to an article, but a restaurant on Commercial has had windows smashed numerous times because its not, supposedly, fitting in with someone's vision of the Drive.
Famoso Pizzeria the latest target of anti-gentrification Ďanarchistsí | Canada | News | National Post

Good thread idea.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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That's the one I was thinking of.

Yeah, i figured it had been happening enough that its time for a discussion on the subject.

I've always been an advocate of gentrifying the DTES. I think you can build a system where developers can pay for low income housing. Makes a system where taxpayers aren't on the hook, builds a mixed community where all are involved and solves a blight on the city.

I also get the desire from the residents for being against change, as so many are, but also being pushed around and in this case being pushed around leading to being forgotten.

Ultimately though, the status quo isn't going to cut it. So in some cases, change can happen through a wrecking ball. I will say though, I hope not, because I'd love to see the buildings in the area rehabilitated, not torn down for a sea of the same old condo.

I really get this feeling that the answer that we get from a lot of the community groups in that area is, "you keep doing what you're doing(keep those checks rolling in) and we'll keep doing what we're doing(snorting them).

I don't like that system.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:05 AM   #4
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As a resident of the DTES (not far from Pidgin) the stark contrast between their high-end dining room and the squalor just outside is remarkable. From the city's perspective, they need that space occupied as part of the ongoing process of gentrification occurring in the area and to generate tax revenue. From that of the poor DTES resident's, its another indicator that the city is not taking the issues affecting the DTES seriously. They view it as a means of simply pushing the problems elsewhere and not so much of a solution eradicating the plight affecting so many.
I have a couple of friends who work as social workers in the area and this topic has been discussed ad nauseum. On the other side of the coin are my friends who operate restaurants in the area. While their opinions tend to differ, both sides agree something needs to be done to address the ongoing issues in the neighborhood.
This being my first time living in the DTES, the experience has definitely been an eye opener. I believe a huge misconception most people have(especially those who dont live down here and merely pass through on occasion) is that most, if not all of these DTES residents have choices to relocate to different/better areas and can hold down a regular job as part of being a functional member of society. Truth be told, many suffer from mental illnesses or a debilitating addiction problem thereby rendering them inadmissible and ineffective in either of those ventures.
On a side note, I believe Insite is a tremendous step in the right direction, however it is only a portion of the overall solution. The benefits the clinic brings to the area and the tax payer are of the utmost importance, yet some might argue harm reduction isn't the way to go about handling the problem of the drug users. I won't delve any deeper on this topic as a whole new thread could be started.
The only thing I wanna finish off with is the fact that society needs to become more aware of the issues affecting the DTES and not be so quick to paint the area with this broad brush stroke of judgment when in reality the problem is a lot more complex than saying "they're all lazy addicts who fell through the cracks and at some point controlled their own destiny but failed to materialize any good with it.." The issues surrounding aboriginals also comes into play here..
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:35 AM   #5
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So here's my question, specifically referencing Pidgin. Who the f cares?

Was it started with city/province/federal money? Did they change the zoning to specifically allow it? What type of restaurant or business would be preferred? Obviously cheaper fare, but what hits the threshold of being acceptable?

Welcome to a free country. If I want to start a business there, as opposed to on Granville, or Denman..thats my choice. Its the same one you made(not calling you out specifically here) but you moved there, I presume you aren't poor, or an addict...so why the restaurant and not the people?

It's going to happen. It's a great neighborhood...I really love it. I look at the buildings and my creative juices just start flowing on what they could be. I just need someone with money willing to buy one for me Funny enough, a few months ago, there was a building highlighted that had been renovated to be small space rental condos. I had spent about an hour standing out front just mapping out in my head what could be done with that specific building. My plan was slightly different. I had living rooms And its going to happen because its cheap. I say, let me(or some rich guy buy for me) a building, I'll pay 10 or 20% extra into a fund to pay for low income housing and I get to play with my building. You get what you want, and I get what I want. Let's make gentrification work, instead of bulldozing it and leaving the taxpayers to deal with the residents.

There was another one I was looking at, and took a few pictures of. Lesson learned as I was having rocks hurled at my car...don't take pictures of a building when people think you are taking pictures of them. By the way, an addict has really shitty aim.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:37 AM   #6
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
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Where are the pro-capitalists who have been rattling their keyboards in the Chinese sign thread? They should be all over this one.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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They're just a bunch of self entitled ass holes, ruining someone elses living just because it isn't a part of their beliefs (wait, that sounds a lot like the what most wars are based upon). Fucking retards.

If some guy wants to open up a high end restaurant in a shitty area, go for it, it i will probably bring in more upscale business and "raise" the quality. If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
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So, the question becomes...whats the answer? We have a small group that are now full on vigilante on the subject of determining what businesses they deem fit in the city.
I do feel for the businesses that have been the victim of vandalism, but let's look at the bigger picture: three businesses (Pidgin, Save on Meats, and that pizza restaurant) out of thousands have been targeted. I don't think anything needs to be done right now; if these groups are to be taken seriously, they would need to target the heavy hitters, such as the chain restaurants, or even the independents that have taken over Gastown.

What I find curious about the incident involving the pizza restaurant on Commercial Drive is that the people who claim to be defending the interests of the community against an invasion of yuppies are themselves not the true defenders of the community: the Italians are. I wonder how the Italians feel about all of these new-age businesses that have taken over their street?

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How do people feel about the same group(guaranteed to involve the ones that smashed the windows to the Bay during the Olympic protest) running around being petty criminals in the hopes of being anarchists, protecting the city?

Thoughts.
These groups shouldn't be so quick to bite the hand that feeds them: after all, more business means more tax revenue which means more money to fund anti-poverty groups. I wouldn't call them anarchists, though, as anarchy relates to the absence of government. Many organizations working in the DTES believe that more government support is the answer as opposed to less.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:35 AM   #10
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one of the issues i have with all the hipsters hanging around the dtes lately is they act like POS to the homeless/low income residents in the area

im all for sprucing up the area but not if its going to be stepping on the residents




doesn't make sense to target save-on-meats though they've been there forever and they actually help out the locals of the neighbourhood
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
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This is one hell of a good thread to start for discussion.

I for one think these "vigilantes" are freaking stupid and a bunch of retards. There are ways to prove your point other than stealing and vandalism. Not only does this not prove anything, it destroys whatever credibility you may have for future proper discussion channels.

I think the whole topic of DTES is so delicate, its like an ecosystem. When you introduce something into DTES, something is bound to be thrown off balance if no action is taken. There are always 2 sides to anything.

Gentrification is great, for redeveloping that neighborhood. It has always been a frown upon part of the city, heck, the country. But on the other hand, without proper planning, the displacement will only move DTES to another part of town.

I can't say I fully understand what happened to the people that are on the streets of DTES but from previous documentaries, some people are forced to live that style, and then, some choose to live that lifestyle. I am of opinion that some of these people choose NOT to take advantage of the programs out there that can help them return to society and hold a job.

I agree with GabAlmighty here that these anarchists shouldn't be ruining people's lives just because something doesn't fit their beliefs. For all I know, these "kids" might have nothing better to do than stir trouble. I truly hope they get caught.

If anyone of you have seen TEDx or have met Mark Brand in real life, you all would know he LOVES DTES and is trying to help in the community. I personally feel that this is a great blow to him.



I personally think its great that people want to start businesses in DTES, it definitely kick starts the neighborhood. But it would always be a better choice if these said businesses can incorporate the community into their work. Simply by hiring a few guys for cleaning your windows or your front door step or anything like that, they will start taking more pride in their neighborhood. And hopefully this causes some sort of chain reaction where everybody takes pride and make DTES a better place to be.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:46 AM   #12
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Where are the pro-capitalists who have been rattling their keyboards in the Chinese sign thread? They should be all over this one.
They never have their juvenile limited-edition Adidas sneakers touch a sidewalk in Vancouver.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:10 PM   #13
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Where are the pro-capitalists who have been rattling their keyboards in the Chinese sign thread? They should be all over this one.
They are currently looking up the definition of "gentrification".
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:26 PM   #14
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I think a lot of it is fear of change. I get it, I really do. One thing I've learned in my time in the housing business, is a lot of it is fear of change, and losing what you've got.

"That's my parking spot"

"Well, park here instead."

"But THAT is MY parking spot. It's where I park. I park....THERE"

Scale that up, scale it down.

"I don't want to move to that apartment you built for me. I live here..bedbug infested SRO or not. That's where I live"

I think, and this is just me...that these folks could use a fine dose of change. I don't want to forget about them, I don't want to paint over the problems.

But holding on to the DTES like a security blanket doesn't work for me. Let's really start solving some issues. That means we play with a little OPM(Other people's money) and clean up the area, use their money to put up some housing and we the taxpayers can handle the rehab and addiction issues in concert with private charity.

That's my vision. It's one that isn't shared in the community.

I get this impression that the community itself wants a made in community solution that just focuses on pumping in more money and letting them figure it out.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:27 PM   #15
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Lol. I saw that on reddit too.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:39 PM   #16
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What I find curious about the incident involving the pizza restaurant on Commercial Drive is that the people who claim to be defending the interests of the community against an invasion of yuppies are themselves not the true defenders of the community: the Italians are. I wonder how the Italians feel about all of these new-age businesses that have taken over their street?
Re: The Italians.

This is a tough one because the Italians who once occupied a majority of "The Drive" aren't really there anymore. A majority of them have moved out of the area, i.e. North Burnaby/Willingdon so if any of the original Italians are still on The Drive, they can be considered "old Italian." The presence of Italian culture is still there but is no longer as strong as it once was say back in the 70s and 80s. How the "new" Italians feel about this is a tough one. As for the overall demographic of The Drive, there's been a major shift over the past decade or two.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:03 PM   #17
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Should start a group that goes and eats/shops at these businesses.

Someone smashes a pizza joint window the next day 50 people show up and have dinner in support. The more things get stolen or damaged the more customers come in and the more money the owner makes. That'll really fire up these assholes knowing their actions have made the people they dislike even richer.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:19 PM   #18
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Ever since I saw the Dragon lady buy a piece of Save-on Meats I've been wanting to go. Plan a meat. I'll go. I like pizza...let's do Fomosa.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:43 PM   #19
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Ever since I saw the Dragon lady buy a piece of Save-on Meats I've been wanting to go. Plan a meat. I'll go. I like pizza...let's do Fomosa.
Tried Save on Meats in December. Awesome place. The burger combo was like 7 bux and it was solid. Great shakes too. The only problem is parking. Took me me awhile to find parking and I think I paid $5 for it.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:14 PM   #20
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I'm really glad this thread was created and honestly before this, I felt that I was alone in my opinion on this issue. I keep hearing the mainstream media make developers and business owners look like awful capitalists when really they're making money for themselves and providing us, the majority of people, nice places to eat, shop and exhibit.

I look forward to having new developments bring exciting, new shops and restaurants near me all the time. Heck, I look forward to it happening in other cities nearby too because it gives me more places to visit that are actually enjoyable and quality. That's not to say SaveOn meats isn't quality, but let's be honest...the decisions made by those businesses including (SaveOn meats) is a financial decision made by them for reasons known to them. No one is muscling them out unfairly...if anything, business might be slowing down because times are changing and people aren't valuing their restaurant as much anymore. Inevitably business will go down and they will have to make a decision whether or not to stay in business. If these mad supporters of SaveOn meats were always around supporting the business with MONEY, then perhaps they would still be opening up their doors for business for many years to come.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:50 PM   #21
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Poor city planning - Gregor has fucked up again, and again, and again.

I'm a total capitalist, but these people need help, housing, counselling, retraining, help to get off drugs, get them safe... Gregor is busy doing green initiatives, bike lanes etc. - dtes is a huge problem from the ppl who live there, to the rich ppl who don't want to see it, the world knows that Vancouver has a huge problem, why we're not addressing it is beyond me.

But the douches of this city look past the issue, and go to the restaurants, clubs, etc. I'd much rather dtes be a little more 'real' and less pricey, less pretentious given that there are homeless, people with problems, drugs everywhere in the area

Very two faced, very Vancouver
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:30 PM   #22
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DTES, especially around Pigeon Park and the surrounding area, was not always like it is now. When I was a kid, my family would go down to Woodwards for some shopping and then we'd grab ice cream at the corner store right in Pigeon Park, where we'd sit and spend time. It wasn't a particularly great area like Coal Harbour, but it certainly had far more appeal than it does now.

Perhaps instead of claiming that people are attempting to gentrify the area, they could look at it as reclaiming what it used to be.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:49 PM   #23
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infiniti - i very much respect what you do and your points made all the sense in the world

what i still don't get is why exactly it's an issue that a poor area gentrifies into an area filled with businesses, more visitors and more rich residents.

i look at new york as an example. i heard that a lot of harlem these days is not only safe, but full of hipsters, full of good food and is gentrifying like crazy. I heard the same about many parts of brooklyn. What were once areas you would not want your car to break down in, are now areas people look to as great places to eat and hang out.

does new york have less crime, less drug addiction, less poverty because of it? Have no idea but doubt it. I would guess they just relocated to other areas. Things are still the same for them, no?

i guess my question is what exactly is the issue or fear? is it that there will be no low income housing for people, due to these areas becoming richer? If so, i'm not sure i agree. based on how markets work and what seems to have happened in other areas, it seems like poor residents will relocate to a new area, which will become a new hub for their community. Maybe i'm wrong here - i dont know very much about this stuff, but this is just what i suspect.

either way, i think the solution should always be a compromise. It's important for all members of society to have a place. But that does include business owners. And unfortunately it also includes smelly hipsters :-p
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:16 PM   #24
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Poor city planning - Gregor has fucked up again, and again, and again.

I'm a total capitalist, but these people need help, housing, counselling, retraining, help to get off drugs, get them safe... Gregor is busy doing green initiatives, bike lanes etc. - dtes is a huge problem from the ppl who live there, to the rich ppl who don't want to see it, the world knows that Vancouver has a huge problem, why we're not addressing it is beyond me.

But the douches of this city look past the issue, and go to the restaurants, clubs, etc. I'd much rather dtes be a little more 'real' and less pricey, less pretentious given that there are homeless, people with problems, drugs everywhere in the area

Very two faced, very Vancouver
I'm not a Gregor supporter by any means, but I think you over-estimate the ability of a city government to cure what ails the DTES. I think the following reasons are why we have a perfect storm of poverty and drug abuse in the DTES:

1. The province shut down Riverview a couple of decades ago which left the mentality ill without a place to go.
2. The federal government eliminated subsidies for social housing in the early 1990s under the Chretien government.
3. First Nations people who have left their reserves with no education and no prospects for employment come to the DTES.
4. The ease of access to drugs in BC.
5. Mobility rights in Canada. The poor and destitute travel from across Canada to BC because the weather is more bearable during the winter months.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:20 PM   #25
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infiniti - i very much respect what you do and your points made all the sense in the world

what i still don't get is why exactly it's an issue that a poor area gentrifies into an area filled with businesses, more visitors and more rich residents.

i look at new york as an example. i heard that a lot of harlem these days is not only safe, but full of hipsters, full of good food and is gentrifying like crazy. I heard the same about many parts of brooklyn. What were once areas you would not want your car to break down in, are now areas people look to as great places to eat and hang out.

does new york have less crime, less drug addiction, less poverty because of it? Have no idea but doubt it. I would guess they just relocated to other areas. Things are still the same for them, no?

i guess my question is what exactly is the issue or fear? is it that there will be no low income housing for people, due to these areas becoming richer? If so, i'm not sure i agree. based on how markets work and what seems to have happened in other areas, it seems like poor residents will relocate to a new area, which will become a new hub for their community. Maybe i'm wrong here - i dont know very much about this stuff, but this is just what i suspect.

either way, i think the solution should always be a compromise. It's important for all members of society to have a place. But that does include business owners. And unfortunately it also includes smelly hipsters :-p
I think that IS very much the fear.

The problem is there. We know it. They know it. So if you push them, the problem, out, then it disappears from everyone's minds, and reforms as a new drug problem in: Surrey, New West and Burnaby. None of these places have SRO's that they can afford to live in, so homelessness increases.

That's where I say I don't want to push them out, as much as create, through a very capitalist system a mixed use neighborhood, paid for by the very people profiting from the development of the area.

In so doing, you have a system where you don't have drug users hanging out with drug users alone. You now have a system where people can see improved humans around in general contact and provide a motivation that there is something more out there.

Some will instinctively leave. No doubt. Other areas: Surrey, New West and Burnaby can step up on their side to deal with the increased migration. It's now no longer solely a Vancouver problem to deal with. Well, from first hand knowledge, NW already has a group we contend with, but you know...

I think its the only way. Anything else that keeps that neighborhood, intact as it is now only prolongs the problem. In fact, I think it creates the problem they fight against-forgetting the issue.
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