Although I think it's doubtful that the Seminole Heights Starbucks will be closing anytime soon, the mere speculation of such a tragic (*ahem*) event befalling our shining beacon of bubbledom truly illustrates how fully the times have changed here in the Heights from just a couple of short years ago. As For Sale signs fade and rust in hundreds of front yards and the frothy tide of foreclosures overwhelms the neighborhoods, it seems painfully clear that we have fully made the transition into the new post-gentrification age.
The examination of the abrupt and complete reversal of the boom is something that will no doubt keep economists and scholars busy for years. But much of the speculation of what comes after the brutal end of gentrification and the kind of economic cycle that will replace it seems like more wishful thinking from those carrying the burden of economic collapse who have maintained, in the face of all the evidence, that one can always make a profit off someone else.
On the flip side, South Florida housing activist Max Rameau released an essay this week throughly analyzing these questions, identifying the characteristics of our new "Capital Divestment" reality, and offering strategies of how to deal with the new dangers and opportunities that come with it. Whether you agree with his assessments or not, the essay is a must read for those affected by the housing crash and looking for different perspectives on the wider economic problems that created it:
The modern era of gentrification, starting approximately in mid 2002 and ending abruptly towards the end of 2007, is possibly the most extreme- and brutal- since the term was coined in England in the late 1800s. In June 2005, The Economist magazine, widely regarded as the world's most respected financial periodical, argued, with documentation, that never in history have home prices rose so high, for so long and across so many countries, bestowing upon the “housing boom” a more appropriate moniker: "the biggest bubble in history." A significant and integral component of that bubble was speculative gentrification.
Read the entire position paper HERE.
Watch a Youtube video I made about the affordable housing crisis in Miami featuring Max Rameau: Umoja Village.