“We owe the vibrancy of this city to the diverse communities and people that have made it so” addressed condo developer Jann O’Brian, to a focus group made up of representatives from various marginalized neighbourhoods. “With your help, we will be able to homogenize your community quicker, send in the hipsters sooner, and start pricing out you – the original inhabitants – faster than you could say ‘commemorative bench!’”
The focus group, aimed at identifying the next “up and coming” neighbourhood, met at the former drag bar that was once the mecca of a monumental civil rights protest but is now a Starbucks. According to O’Brian, there is a high demand for luxury condos with breathtaking views, located in the downtown core, but with enough square footage to stow golf clubs and pregnant mistresses.
“I’m just so grateful the city has prioritized condos over culture.“ said Kim Tang, member of the group, whose immigrant parents ran a local grocery store for 52 years before being replaced by a Soulcycle. “My parents were a staple in the community. To have their legacy whittled down to this nifty plaque, is a true honour. Of course, they left out the part about the systemic racism that forced my parents to this neighbourhood in the first place but, in a way, isn’t redlining kind of like a big, special hug from the government?”
In a statement released by O’Brian, when developers gentrify an area, their mission is to reflect the vision and values of the original neighbourhood, just without the actual people that built it. “Take this family restaurant, for example. Yes, we replaced it with a commercial brunch chain but look how we still use the facade of the old building as part of a charming aesthetic to sell to more affluent people! It’s like cultural catfishing!”
Aisha Numa, long-time resident of a heritage building, is hoping the Sephora that is replacing her home will honour her with a mural while Mario Sanchez, who’s underground music venue has already been demolished for a microbrewery, is pivoting for a poké-stop.
“We all have to do our part for progress,” shrugged local councillor Chris Dander, from his second waterfront property that was definitely not a payoff. “Besides, marginalized communities are resilient and will bounce back. They’ll move on and build better neighbourhoods for us, the city, to sell to developers in a couple years!”