Daniel Hertz writing for City Lab:
[T]here’s no way out, if you happen to have above-average economic power or the kind of cultural capital that attracts people with above-average economic power. Whether or not you say “hi” to your neighbors, your presence in a relatively low-income or blue-collar community will, in fact, make it easier for other college graduates to move in; to open businesses that cater to you; to induce landlords to renovate or redevelop their properties to attract other new, wealthier residents who want access to those businesses. If your city restricts housing supply (it does) and doesn’t have smart rent control policies (it almost certainly doesn’t), you’ve ultimately helped create an economically segregated neighborhood…
[On the other hand,] Moving to a higher-income neighborhood – one where market and regulatory forces have already pushed out the low-income – means you’re helping to sustain the high cost of living there, and therefore helping to keep the area segregated… Among the classes, there is no division between “gentrifiers” and “non-gentrifiers.” If you live in a city, you don’t get to opt out.
Lots more in the full piece, including practical ideas to help correct the toxic policy mix (lack of rent controls + new housing construction restrictions) that is a primary driver of gentrification.