"Thus is the political economic background of gentrification. We have to be careful not to tell this story as a simple narrative of people and territory, as if the mere presence of a white or middle-class person in a neighborhood instantly meant the expulsion of a long-term resident. We must avoid a Malthusian view of the city. There is, for the most part, no shortage of housing stock in places where gentrification is happening. On the contrary. And even if there were, all scarcity is fundamentally artificial — housing isn’t available because its production is subordinated to logic of profit, and builders make more profit from luxury condos than rentals to low-income tenants. There is a whole chain of causes and mediations which link the new arrivant to the expulsion of the long-term resident. In certain contexts, in cities with renter-friendly laws, as exist in Europe, one can have “first-wave” gentrifiers — artists, squatters and punks — move in to areas without causing any subsequent appreciation in rents or displacement at all."
Land and Liberty