There's no New York issue as divisive as gentrification, so it's not surprising that this week's New York Magazine article arguing in favor of gentrification has become an issue of contention.
The piece, titled "What's Wrong With Gentrification," acknowledges that displacement is understood "to be gentrification's primary evil consequence," but argues that the amount of displacement caused by gentrification isn't as high as many assume. In fact, at least one scholar claims there is no causal relationship between gentrification in Clinton Hill and Harlem and displacement, and that poor residents and those without college degrees are actually less likely to move away from gentrifying neighborhoods than other neighborhoods.
One reason why displacement isn't as widespread as it might seem is that gentrification often takes root in areas that have lost a large number of residents and exist as "penal colonies of poverty, drained of population, services, and hope," according to the article. As the process moves forward, some longtime residents do turn out getting displaced when buildings are sold and rents are raised, but others stay. The piece contends that without gentrification, blighted areas would stay blighted: "[A]fter the white-flight disasters that climaxed in the seventies, most people agreed that our cities’ only hope was reintegration, both racial and economic. In parts of gentrified Brooklyn in the last decade, this actually started to happen."