Tuesday, July 03, 2012

More media marketing of gentrification

Developers and real estate pros tend to use the Tennessean to market the communities they build in as the "next big thing" in Nashville to maximize their revenue potential. The Tennessean went along last January in a piece on Salemtown's latest "pioneer" class. Developers pitched our neighborhood as the "next hot spot," as a number had done before.

Six short months later, it's Cleveland Park that the Tennessean is reporting as the next "it" neighborhood boosted by the branding efforts of real estate pros. But at least the July 1 piece on our East Nashville neighbor is not a one-sided shill piece prompted by pro-development representatives as it was in Salemtown. Reporter Nancy DeVille at least got the more moderating views of Cleveland Park association leaders, who are concerned about the impact of unchecked, unreflective gentrification on long-time residents:

While many believe gentrification has revitalized several Nashville neighborhoods, Cleveland Park community leaders want to avoid it. Ben Jordan, co-chair of the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Association, says it forces some residents out who can’t pay the higher rents or property taxes.

“We have been very sensitive about things that would create an environment for gentrification, one being historic overlays that could create a hardship on the people that have been here a long time,” he said.

Salemtown: no longer the next big thing Nashville? This may be sacrilege to developers, but I personally don't care whether it is the next big thing. Just like they don't always care about the exclusive effects of unsmart growth in neighborhoods. Besides, every time the Tennessean declares an urban neighborhood the next hot spot, I grow more jaded about the marketing ploys that reduce us to lemmings and lab rats.

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