Newcomers: Gentrification And Its Discontents

Matthew L. Schuerman (MSJ94)

In “Newcomers: Gentrification and Its Discontents,” Schuerman recounts the past sixty years of gentrification, starting when it was still a counter-cultural phenomenon, and continuing to the present day, when it has taken on the dimension of a culture war. Through intimate accounts of the central figures of the movement, as well as detailed explorations of policy decisions, “Newcomers” reinvigorates the debate over gentrification’s pros and cons with objectivity, grace, and wit. He focuses on three cities—New York, Chicago, and San Francisco—but the stories he tells resonate throughout the country. Gentrification, Schuerman argues, is not primarily a cause of urban ills, but a symptom of something larger: the transition from a manufacturing economy to an information-based one. Real estate developers and marketers were quick to take advantage of the trend, while local and national leaders failed to treat it seriously. Kirkus Reviews said: “The author humanizes the community transformations so that readers who have never set foot in those locales—and even those who know them personally—fully comprehend the dynamics involved.”