Hidden, displaced, moved on, knocked down, painted over, dispossessed, outlawed, yet, still here.… Some of us anyway…. Not all of us have been uprooted from our homes and communities to more affordable, yet foreign pastures.
There’s something to be said about gentrification. How it unsettles and uproots communities as developers and investors work their spell into mainstream minds, feeding the ideas that their projects are not only contemporary and sustainable, but will create communities where society will thrive in experiences of adventure, hope and belonging.
It is as if they are implying that these things were not present before they arrived; like a community never existed before but was something that needed to be created from their visions of “potential” and “wealth” that stemmed from how they viewed the land and life itself. It is as if their cultural norms and hierarchies of individualism, wealth-making, and commodification of land were required before anything could be deemed “worthy” or as some may put it, “saved.”
In a way, this mindset implies that those who came before were too “uneducated” or “derelict” to “properly” capitalize on the wealth that surrounded them. In this, they fail to take into consideration that wealth has different meanings for different people; that land can be viewed not as property but as a relationship that provides meaning and shapes one’s sense of belonging, bounding one to human and non-human relationships that are based on reciprocity, respect and responsibility, rather than these persistent and harmful colonial relationships of consumption and extraction.
Municipal elections are near. Please choose wisely. The options may be slim and democracy even broken, but voting is (just) one tool that we can use to help create equitable communities where quality of life is the focus and the well-being of people and the planet is prioritized.