One of the most common scenarios of gentrification is when private individuals or municipalities begin investing in the infrastructure of the given area that had been historically disinvested. Therefore, gentrification can cause a serious influx of new business owners and common people of Caucasian descent who tend to possess more resources than the legacy residents (Johnson et al., 2021). This forceful displacement of existing individuals creates a conundrum where the primary residents cannot afford to stay in their original neighborhood because of new people, making them feel less welcome. In the case of the Harlem community, gentrification leads to a direct socioeconomic displacement of businesses and residents with a lower income level than their white counterparts (Sutton, 2020). While policymaking efforts are being established to find the most effective methods of coping with the negative effects of gentrification, equitable access to resources is still in development. According to Checker (2020), there are three particular strategies that can be of help when coping with gentrification: (a) to mitigate the negative consequences of the phenomenon, (b) to build the power of legacy residents, and (c) to preserve the culture.
Based on the existing evidence, the author of this paper proposes to utilize the strategy of conflict transformation to mediate gentrification and help Harlem residents engage in fewer skirmishes in the future. There are numerous elements that comprise gentrification, but never-ending conflicts seem to contribute to the majority of issues experienced by underrepresented communities (Versey, 2018). This is why the author intends to overcome structural and cultural pitfalls by deploying conflict transformation and outlining a series of essential methods for coping with the issue. There has to be a better balance established between the legacy residents and their new counterparts. Hence, the idea is to follow the subsequent four strategies for the community needs assessment to monitor outcomes and introduce required changes to appeal to the wants of all residents:
- Articulate the outcomes that the author of the program intends to achieve with the help of conflict transformation. The variety of goals and expectations held by the Harlem community has to contribute to a common agenda, where the removal of gentrification would become a central objective together with the achievement of ethic and ethnic equality (Zapatka & Beck, 2021). From affordable housing to political power, all the needs of local residents should be considered in rich detail prior to the deployment of a new initiative. Thus, a common vision is crucial for resolving the issue properly and ensuring that gentrification only causes a positive impact on the Harlem community.
- Process all the delineations and insights of the ethical and ethnical conflicts caused by gentrification across Harlem. In particular, this would be an essential step to take in order to address some of the immediate problems and then escalate property value and contribute to intense local development (Zapatka & Beck, 2021). This step would drive policy changes required to benefit legacy residents and businesses instead of favoring newcomers, as the latter would be unethical. The map of conflicts in Harlem will be drafted to anticipate certain interpersonal issues and prevent them from happening.
- Share the history of the neighborhood and let the residents face evidence regarding systemic racism. This particular step is important if the community expects to overcome the previous issues of discrimination and focus on building trust among individuals. After mapping all the conflicts during the previous stage, the community would have the opportunity to commit to establishing a safer community, both ethically and ethnically. This way, gentrification would serve as a beneficial purpose and not a separator.
- Create equity through building relationships and shifting power while coordinating incentives via authority. This is a rather promising practice because it would limit intentionally negative responses to attempts to end or mediate gentrification. The principles of conflict transformation would aid the process by highlighting the root causes of ethical and ethnical conflicts and fostering justice for everyone (Timberlake & Johns-Wolfe, 2017). Harlem community members would gain more insight into each other’s values and see how they could engage in building positive relationships, establishing collaborative governance, enabling restorative listening, and advocating for anti-displacement policies.
Promotion of Inclusion and Diversity
With gentrification on the line, the promotion of inclusion and diversity is an essential process that has to be connected to cultural diversity and the accessibility of resources and services to all members of the Harlem community. In order to achieve this objective, community leaders will have to address the issue of gentrification through conflict transformation on three different levels:
- Personal. Decision-making during the conflict has to be addressed in detail, with individual thinking being the primary focus. According to Stein (2019), on this level, individuals could learn how to assess the conflict and then approach it in the most rational manner.
- Relationship. Knowing that communication is often the most popular source of conflict for people regardless of their socioeconomic definitions, it can be safe to say that interpersonal relationships serve as a source for all the possible conflicts, including gentrification (Krings & Schusler, 2020). Hence, conflict transformation intends to aid both the legacy and new residents in understanding how to bring positive change to the community.
- Structural. In the context of gentrification, this level is important because numerous organizations and institutions maintain conflicts instead of resolving them due to outdated agendas and schemes. Consistent with Timberlake and Johns-Wolfe (2017), relevant policy changes can be achieved only in the case where all community members have equal access to decision-making and information exchange.
In Table 1, the core elements of a logical model are presented in rich detail to project the outcomes of implementing a community needs assessment through the interface of conflict transformation.
Table 1. A logical model for implementing conflict transformation.
|Problem||Gentrification and its influence on interpersonal relationships within a multi-ethnic community of Harlem|
|Who is most affected?||Citizens of all genders, ethnicities, and racial creeds are affected by gentrification because they do not have the resources and knowledge to respond to the changing socioeconomic landscape.|
|Required resources||Staff members, volunteers, sponsors, community champions, financial support|
|Key program outputs|| |
|Program outcomes||Outcome #1: Achieve restorative listening. All community members will be motivated to share lived experiences to exchange information and acknowledge each other’s struggles. It will help the Harlem community gain additional insight into why gentrification began and how its negative features could be disabled. |
Outcome #2: Building positive relationships among Harlem citizens. Conflict transformation is expected to generate more opportunities for civilians to engage in collective action and achieve equity.
Outcome #3: Capitalizing on collaborative governance. The principles of conflict transformation have to be disseminated across Harlem in order to establish a new model of governance and foster justice.
Outcome #4: Contributing to policymaking procedures. Community members will participate in the development and deployment of anti-displacement policies in order to create new ways of mediating the negative impact of gentrification.
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Krings, A., & Schusler, T. M. (2020). Equity in sustainable development: Community responses to environmental gentrification. International Journal of Social Welfare, 29(4), 321-334. Web.
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Timberlake, J. M., & Johns-Wolfe, E. (2017). Neighborhood ethno-racial composition and gentrification in Chicago and New York, 1980 to 2010. Urban Affairs Review, 53(2), 236-272. Web.
Versey, H. S. (2018). A tale of two Harlems: Gentrification, social capital, and implications for aging in place. Social Science & Medicine, 214, 1-11. Web.
Zapatka, K., & Beck, B. (2021). Does demand lead supply? Gentrifiers and developers in the sequence of gentrification, New York City 2009–2016. Urban Studies, 58(11), 2348-2368. Web.