Trickle Down Gentrification

As we continue to see a housing shortage in California, renters and low-to-middle income families continue to be unfairly burdened with skyrocketing housing costs and trickle-down gentrification.

In an article titled, “Poor People are Running Out of Places to Live” published by Slate.com on October 25th, 2017, author Henry Grabar writes:

“What happened to all those apartments for people with very low incomes? Some of them are still occupied by very-low income households—nearly 40 percent of households with incomes between $15,000 and $30,000 pay more than half their income in rent, leaving them with little to spend or save. For households earning less than $15,000, that portion rises to more than 70 percent.

“But something else happened to those apartments: They became the homes of people with low incomes, who couldn’t afford low-income apartments that had been taken by people with middle incomes. And so on. It’s a kind of cascading national process of gentrification. Low-income apartments are desperately needed, but if you don’t build market-rate apartments for middle-income residents, it’s still those at the bottom who get hurt.”

When we talk about development and housing for our community, we must include affordable housing for a sustainable future for all Nevada County residents.

The Economy

The consumer economy is changing.  As millennials grow professionally, we are seeing their spending habits differ greatly from Boomers and Gen Xers.  Some economists are betting that millennials will assume the spending habits of the Baby Boomers once they have the means.  Economic trends disagree.

Online consumer spending is increasing and people are turning to the internet more and more for their shopping needs. Services that deliver food to your doorstep are changing the way families share meals. What does that mean for Nevada County? Our small businesses must adapt in order to attract customers.

If we are going to stay economically competitive in Nevada County, we must move from a consumption economy to an experience economy.  It is not enough to have a restaurant with decent food or a shop with interesting items. Consumers are looking for an experience.

The good news is that Nevada County is already perfectly poised to move into the next era of consumer spending.

Organizations like Grass Valley’s Downtown Association, the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Center for the Arts, and so many more, are providing Nevada County’s residents and visitors with more than just retail and dining.  With events like the Wild and Scenic Film Festival and Music in the Mountains’ annual Brewfest, Nevada County is already on the map.

The hard work of the Nevada County Arts Council partnering with the cities of Nevada City and Grass Valley to have Western Nevada County granted State Cultural District designations is a great example of how governments and community organizations can partner in order to raise our community’s visibility as both a great destination and a great place to live.