The Onion (a publication not intended for readers under 18 ) has had some funny articles on gentrification:

“Sometimes I Feel Like I’m The Only One Trying To Gentrify This Neighborhood” is an article written from the point of view of someone who has recently moved into an ethnic community and who wants to attract people of his own demographic to the neighborhood — by rendering it completely unrecognizable.


Report: Nation’s Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization is a great re-imagining of the classic narrative of upper-middle class populations entering a low-income area. It describes a situation where the incredibly rich (like 18th-century-dukes-and-duchesses-rich) move into already gentrified neighborhoods.

A favorite quote:

“A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house,” Kennedy said. “The space is now entirely unusable for affordable upper-income condominium housing. No one can live there except for the odd stable boy or footman who gets permission to sleep in the hayloft.”

These are really funny commentaries that touch on some of the main concerns of Esperanza, but, in my opinion, their focus is a bit off. I say this because it seems that the main targets in these articles on gentrification are “hip” stores that attract upper-middle class gentrifiers. The primary effect of gentrification — the displacement of low-income families — is not the primary subject of satire.

Of course, the effects of gentrification are severe for low-income families, so I can understand that it doesn’t necessarily make for comedy-gold. I just wanted to point out that the worst part of gentrification — in my opinion — isn’t just an influx of trendy coffee shops. It’s that families must uproot themselves from their homes and must search for units with ever-increasing rents that are further and further away, breaking ties with communities, schools, medical homes and more.

Buuuuuut … that being said, these articles do a GREAT job of lampooning how the privileged can blindly seek the satisfaction of their own desires without thinking about how this pursuit affects those less privileged than themselves. In the article about “aristocratization” the aristocrats respond to the complaints of the “merely wealthy”:

“These accusations are pure, slanderous rubbish … If anything, the layabouts and wastrels have been afforded a veritable glut of new and felicitous opportunities as bootblacks and scullery maids.”