The Original Displacement: Part 2

The settlers who began moving to the region in the 1830s, like the fur traders before them, were not interested in developing sustainable lifeways. They sought raw materials to power an emerging capitalist economy. The land wasn’t viewed as something that they belonged to, rather it was seen as external, something that wasn’t a part… Read more »

The Original Displacement: Part 1

“Colonization: The practice of invading other lands and territories for the purpose of settlement and/or resource exploitation. Colonization exists in four stages: reconnaissance, invasion, occupation, and assimilation. It is comprised of two primary aspects – physical and mental. Colonization also includes the physical occupation of land and the domination of indigenous peoples through military conflicts,… Read more »

The Affordable Housing Smoke Screen

Recently, amidst the increasingly clichéd announcements of upscale housing, breweries, coffee shops, and yoga studios coming to the rapidly gentrifying Westside, something different was unveiled. Many of the larger news outlets in the city (WOOD TV, WZZM 13, Mlive, and MiBiz) all reported that Rockford Construction – who is playing a major role in the… Read more »

Participation, Engagement, and other Illusions

When speaking of development or gentrification in Grand Rapids, a constant refrain heard from city leaders, developers, and even many opponents is the need for more “community involvement” or “community engagement.” Development is presented as if it is a dialog or a process in which we are all on equal footing, rather than something done… Read more »

Coit Square: A Study in Class Transformation

Belknap Plans

Writing about every new development, restaurant, or boutique in Grand Rapids that is contributing to the gentrification of the city would be an onerous project. There are simply so many—from new yoga studios to multi-story residential developments—it would get redundant to highlight every example. It’s an exercise we’ll leave to the cheerleaders of development in… Read more »