Philadelphia, along with other cities in the US, faces the problem of gentrification; real estate developers build high-end apartment buildings in mainly working-class and minority neighborhoods, raising the market value of the surrounding properties and driving away long-time residents and generations-old small businesses. In this situation, longtime friendship networks are disrupted, and the culture of the community goes away.
In gentrifying an area, developers manipulate the city government, via connections and bribes, to alter zoning laws and traffic lanes for their benefit, to further drive away residents, take their properties, and build more luxury apartments. The need for low-income housing for working people, whose wages are depressed so that they can’t afford many one-bedroom apartments, is set aside for the greed of developers and their political cronies.
This is why it’s important to be involved in the political process; our lives and livelihoods are at stake. We must place ourselves at the tables of discussion about issues related to our communities, and not wait for an invitation from political officials to do so. Gentrification is one of the many issues that concern our lives directly.