Gentrification changes the local fundamental structure of things to fit “everybody” instead of a few somebodies.
Initially it might seem bad to change things in favour of the common man. You won’t have local tastes and distinct street cultures. Instead, you’ll have tourist sites with stores and restaurants that we are more familiar with. Or, malls. And as the local economy develops further with more people flocking over to a certain area, they’re going to be able to afford expansion and growth. They’ll be able to buy newer, nicer, and more things, and if things keep going in their favour they’ll eventually become a national/international phenomenon to be enjoyed by everyone.
Is that so bad?
Many of the things we enjoy in our city (Toronto) are a result of gentrification. Loblaws, Uniqlo, Goodlife, some post-secondary education institutions, Tim Hortons, current Kensington market, the Eaton Centre just to name a few.
At the expense of supporting these larger corporations, we’ve unintentionally pushed out the independently owned local businesses that our neighbours owned. We’ve removed some traditional cultures from our city in exchange for something fancier and shinier.
Naturally, as cities develop this will happen over and over again, what the local economy looks like will change over time according to our consumption habits. We vote who stays with our dollar.