Ridgewood, Queens, the neighborhood I moved into almost two years ago, is primed to become the next Williamsburg or Bushwick—or so it is claimed by the media. While consciously witnessing a change in residents of the neighborhood, I became increasingly interested in gentrification and how the concept relates to spatial politics.
Essentially, gentrification is part of a healthy city climate, and often means improved infrastructure, better schools, and more commerce within the community. It also means that many individuals and families of lower incomes can no longer afford their housing, sometimes having lived in a particular location for extensive periods of time, and are, quite literally, ‘pushed out.’
I was interested in developing an intervention that would criticize the sweeping and forceful nature of gentrification, but also embrace its inevitability. Tension between ‘native’ residents and newcomers exists, and perhaps a consideration of either side would benefit this phenomenon. Placing this project within space in order to provoke critical thought and even discussion is one of my primary goals.
Using streamers, based on ultra-common decorations for birthdays or ‘welcome home!’ celebrations, I wanted to invite some light-heartedness into the conversation about gentrification, while maintaining a critical understanding of, and reference to the scenario described above.