Solidarity Halifax member Evan Coole weighs in on the gentrification debate in The Coast. Evan is a tenants’ rights, anti-poverty and anti-capitalist activist. He’d love to talk to you about getting involved in the fight for better housing in Halifax.
Gentrification is not a natural, unchangeable aspect of city life [“Debate Club,” July 22], nor is it a matter of certain north end residents having a taste for fine food. Gentrification, or more accurately, displacement, results from the desire of landlords, developers and their financiers to turn the biggest profit possible, clashing with working people’s aspirations for healthy, joyful, accessible and affordable places to live.
While the north end is a hot topic, all neighbourhoods are shaped by this conflict. White collar, blue collar and unemployed workers need to join together into organizations that will set different and better priorities for our communities: expanded and improved publicly-owned housing, restrictions on growth for profit’s sake, cracking down on rent hikes and sub-standard housing and more community-owned space.
We must assert our right to shape the direction development takes in Halifax, or else our city will continue to be a developer’s playground. To do this, we must build community power to counter the interests of the wealthy and their friends in government.
In the end though, we need to challenge the system that makes it possible for the wealthy to run roughshod over the rest of us. Let’s start imagining what a better city and world could look like and start organizing to make it happen.
Note: Articles published by Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.