Playing Both Sides: Making Gentrification Work for You

            The South Mountain Village Community envelops South Phoenix, consuming the old buildings, culture, history, and regurgitating a newer modern city. The waste from this digestion is literally the people. They are the only thing South Mountain Village has no use for.

            SMVC hungrily approaches 18th St. and Broadway from the east. At this corner, the neighborhood Jumping Jacks service station exists. Outside you can find gas and propane, while inside there are fountain drinks and empty hot dog rollers. The clerk and owner were both there on my last trip. My group and I asked what they thought of the new CVS going up across the street. The answer wasn’t what I expected.

            They actually seemed glad for all the new stuff going up, even the CVS. They saw that the new developments would bring new customers. Even though CVS would have nearly the same products as them, they thought the overall growth wasn’t going to affect them negatively in the long run.

            I came in here thinking of them as the eyes behind the window. I thought they would suffer and watch this new growth eat away at their community. But they seemed happy to serve, happy to just watch. Maybe this attitude will change.

            In the end of the “Eyes of the Poor” article, the man’s girlfriend asked the waiter to move the poor away from the window. Will CVS hail the waiter, and ask for their view to be changed instead of simply moving to another table? Will Jumping Jacks prevail from the other side of the window? Will they be invited in?

            In any event, the entire intersection has been cleared. It is obvious that no matter the outcome, Jumping Jacks are at the mercy of the Community. Their fate is still in the air though. To be food for the machine, or to be eyes behind the window, that remains to be seen.


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