I’m reading through one of the classics of modern urban planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs. In the chapter entitled “The self-destruction of diversity”, she talks about how diverse city districts tend to destroy themselves. Because of their diversity they become desirable places to live, property values shoot up, and as a result the people and businesses with the money to move into such an area take it over – and this group is generally much less diverse than the original group (a lot more banks, a lot fewer independent retailers, for example).
Then she shares an anecdote,
These banks were making the same mistake as a family I know who bought an acre in the country on which to build a house. For many years, while they lacked the money to build, they visited the site regularly and picnicked on a knoll, the site’s most attractive feature. They liked so much to visualize themselves as always there, that when they finally built they put the house on that knoll. But then the knoll was gone. Somehow they had not realized they would destroy it and lose it by supplanting it with themselves.