A quick followup to yesterday's post. Benton Harbor's economy does seem to be improving as of late. The improvements, however, appear largely to be the result of gentrification. Gentrification itself is arguably problematic in that it causes hardship for and ultimately displaces much of the impoverished, long-term residents. My impression of the gentrification that is taking place in Benton Harbor is even more problematic in that it is predominantly the influx of businesses and not residents. In other words, people who live in Saint Joseph are opening businesses in Benton Harbor that cater mostly to people who live in Saint Joseph, but few people from Saint Joseph are buying homes in Benton Harbor. Instead, the so-called Arts District has been carved out of the otherwise dilapidated downtown as a "safe" place for white Saint-Josephines to eat, drink, shop, and golf. It will be interesting to see if residential gentrification ends up happening.
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