Monday, May 16, 2011

Gentrification & Illegal Conversions

One of the themes in the book (which is is that illegal conversions are the start of gentrification. In one chapter, the author describes how she lived in an illegally converted loft, and lied to inspecting firemen. In another section, businesses complain how families living in illegal conversions are driving them out of the neighborhood because the renters complain about noise and truck exhaust.

This was an interesting contrast to recent local news articles about illegal conversions in the outer boroughs. Due to a lack of affordable housing, many homes in Queens and Brooklyn are being broken up into illegal SRO's or multiple-person apartments which lack suitable fire exits. Several of these houses have recently burned down, killing tenants and endangering firemen. as a result, there is great public outcry for crackdowns on illegal conversions:

Is the proliferation of outer borough illegal conversions a sign that the outer boroughs are gentrifying? Or are they a sign that housing has become so expensive that they are no legal alternatives for people who want to have a place to live off of the street? Please comment.


Anonymous said...

One other possibility is that owners are trying to increase their income by subdividing their properties and squeezing more rent out of tenants. They may find a greater willingness by tenants to live in illegal dwellings due to other economic factors.

Anonymous said...

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