Gentrification is more than just new apartments or the addition of a Starbucks in an underdeveloped neighborhood. It is the influx of richer, and sometimes whiter, people to an existing urban or underdeveloped area.This phenomenon is taking place in select regions, specifically urban areas across the nation. Gentrification not only changes the culture and character of a neighborhood but can play a role in increases in rents and property values. In Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, gentrification is happening rapidly and the effects are something to take note of.
I bet you’re wondering what a screen grab from Full House has in common with a random picture of construction? And if you guessed my first DIY project, then you hit the nail on the head!
I chose to alter a a screen-grab from the opening credits of the popular TV show Full House (pictured below) because it is iconic imagery of a neighborhood in San Francisco. I found the photo after searching ‘Full House opening’ on Google. The image is the work of J. Bruce Nielsen; the Cinematographer on Full House.
I then decided to add the construction of a condo building over one of the existing row houses. I cut out the condo/commercial construction from an image (pictured below) by journalist Mark Boyer of YoChicago!
I chose to essentially merge the two photos to showcase the commercial construction going on in a neighborhood. The construction alludes to the gentrification that is currently underway in many American neighborhoods, especially areas where people of a lower socio-economic status reside.
The finishing touch I put on the photo was to cut out the text ‘Unaffordable House’ in the Full House font over the newly altered photo. The text came from this video (screen-grab below) that was initially altered by Al Jazeera+. The text that I added to my manipulated photo is a play on Full House‘s opening sequence. It conveys the message that because of the construction of condos, like the one I edited into the first photo, the price of housing in a particular area rises making housing unaffordable for some.
The final image (picture below) is a commentary on how gentrification changes neighborhoods and how that change can be negative. The familiarity of the Full House opening is tweaked and somewhat strange; just like gentrification or the development or luxury condos in residential areas can throw off the balance of familiarity of a neighborhood.
Essentially the new photo tells a story of a familiar neighborhood that is changing aesthetically and economically because of gentrification.