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Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents." It derives from gentry, meaning "aristocracy," and ultimately from the Old French word for "noble" or "high-born." Spike Lee denounced the economic and cultural consequences of more and more white people moving into predominantly African American neighborhoods, such as Harlem.
Opponents of the proposed Bedford Historic District agree that many of the buildings recommended for designation are exquisite. But, they wonder, are they all so handsome as to deserve being draped with an official mantle of protection?Kirsten John Foy, the president of the Brooklyn chapter of the National Action Network, that, as a result of foreclosures and other factors, “people are being forced out of their homes at still alarming rates. At a time when the community was beginning to reestablish itself,”“why would we encourage gentrification, predatory lenders, buyers and racketeers? Making homeownership more costly for existing residents will accelerate normal market and business cycles, drive up evictions, and create more gentrification, more displacement.”
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