Who are pioneers? They are the first people. They are the hardy builders who can do anything or who believe they can, which with time becomes the same thing. They run from a too-civilized, soulless place, or they run to a new and dreamed-of place where they will live freely. Freedom is what pushes or pulls all pioneers toward a new place. Freedom from and freedom to. They do not fear the feel of dirt beneath their feet or fingernails. They run to and embrace it, leaving behind the paved and fortressed cities. Pioneers want to live close to the land. They provide the labor to build the infrastructure for all who come after them.
Who comes after the pioneers? The artisans. They have a bit of the pioneer's spirit but need the comfort of the basic infrastructure that the pioneers have built. They need this infrastructure so that they can do something other than toil to grow their own food all the days of their lives, which the pioneers love to do and take pride in. The artisans come but despise what they first see as isolation and too much work to supply the daily basics, and they abhor the lack of amenities. They either return to whence they came or they set about building a community for themselves to supply what they long for--goods, services, schools, diversions, music, art, and beauty. Because of their discontent and effort, life in the new place becomes more pleasant and lively. A community develops to knit people together and the quality of life is enhanced for both the pioneers and the artisans.
The pleasantness and liveliness attract the doctors and lawyers as well as the captains of industry, who supply services, work, wages, and markets to the growing populace. But the artisans begin to feel the strain of competition with the captains of industry, who can do everything cheaper, faster, and to grander scale--but not better. Cheaper appeals to the majority of those who move in after the artisans. The pioneers continue on as they always have for the most part, relying on themselves and oblivious to the changes that encroach.
Such a lively, wonderful place with all its small shops, arts, crafts and quality of life attracts those who have made their fortunes but are now looking to live out their days in ease, in clean and pleasant surroundings uncorrupted by their past business exploits. These are the gentry. They buy up space for their beautiful houses. They buy up space to provide prestigious addresses for their online and global businesses. They just buy up space.
Because of their rampant appetite for property and space, those who have provided the labor and the quality of life for every blessed thing that the gentry needs are pushed out to the ramparts, but kept close enough to render their services after a long drive for smaller and smaller wages.
Then, finally, come the dissatisfied hoards who have heard what a little gem this wonderful new place is. They all want a piece of it, bringing their dissatisfactions with them. They do not know that they are too late. They do not know that the soul of this place is being sucked from it even as they unload the moving vans. The artisans must leave, some to become pioneers in a new place. The few, old pioneers continue on oblivious, their way of life never changing. They continue to work the livelong day to set food upon their own tables and don't expect anything else. But for the rest, life in this new place becomes difficult.
Nashville, you've just been gentrified.