We’ve all seen it happen right underneath our noses. That neighborhood that was comprised of mostly minorities and that was once referred to as being “ghetto” by the “outsiders”, now has a Trader Joes, expensive real estate, yoga studios and coffee shops. The black and brown faces that have occupied the area for so long, now walk past the white faces on the sidewalk and barely look at each other. You may even notice the white faces ‘still’ clutching on to their purses or crossing to the other side of the street. Gotta love a gentrified neighborhood.

Gentrification refers to the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

And it’s happening to everywhere.

Take the H Street Corridor of Washington, D.C. for example, newly named the “Atlas District”. A few years ago, you couldn’t catch hipsters walking up and down the street as if they didn’t have a care in the world. But fast forward to today, and you’ll find bars, a new trolley system being built, restaurants, and pie shops. Currently, there’s also some pretty expensive real estate being built. Further up on Bladensburg Road, you’ll find new condos and even a Denny’s now. With all of this rebuilding, property taxes are being raised and it’s forcing out small business owners that have occupied the area for decades.

As of last year, D.C’s black population has dropped by 50% according to the Brookings Institute. This drop clearly shows that black people simply can’t afford to live there anymore, but where does that put them? Do you find a new affordable area to live in, are there even affordable areas to live in any more?

Are there benefits to gentrification?

Jason Allen, a developer and designer based out of Newark, NJ has seen the effects of gentrification in his area and thinks the benefits are only on the surface, “It is an improvement from the dilapidated landscape typically associated with urban blight. But at what cost? Municipalities stand to benefit because higher-income inhabitants spend more money locally and tax revenue is increased which may not necessarily be the case when you’re talking about renters in over priced lofts as opposed to people actually buying property.” He did state that one of the benefits of a gentrified neighborhood would be a greater police presence, but that also brings into play other issues such as racial profiling.

There are some cities, like Newark, NJ, that did make an effort to not only build up the area to accommodate new inhabitants, but Newark also made sure to provide an adequate amount of new affordable housing for its ‘tenured’ residents.

So your block has a new Starbucks with free wi-fi and a new drinking hole but at what cost?

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  • Ruthiebaby

    I’m glad u wrote this article. Because where are all the black ppl going?? why are they being kicked out of their homes because they want their neighborhood to be more so to say ” white friendly” Honestly i drove passed H street not too long ago.. and its an interesting site.. white ppl and black ppl sharing the same street and neighborhood. This part I love. Finally, we trully can have the dream martin luther king jr had for us. For those black ppl that feel that dc belongs to the black community.. well it doesnt. History tells us that the majority of white ppl left dc when riots broke out during the civil right movement.However, i dont believe that we will not be sharing the same community for long… As Prince George’s County Resident I truly believe that is where the majority of black ppl will be relocating.. which is fine .. its just not wat i was hoping for america. hoping better thats all.. maybe the next decade.

  • Living the Dream

    Gentrification has its good and bad points. Unfortunately the long term residents are the ones who get shafted in the end! City of Chicago had no plan to place the folks in the projects that ran down State Street in decent homes, when they decided to emplode them. They send these folks who had legacies of living in High-rises to places where proud hard-working black folks took care of their lawns, and tried to make a decent living for their families. These folks were not used to living in “homes” perse and it caused a multitude of problems. . .folks ended up selling out and moving to the suburbs or leaving the state to go back down south. On the other hand some were able to sell their 3 flats on the lower end of the city and profit. So sometimes you win and sometimes you dont.

    • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

      If the long term residents gave a damn, they would have invested in their communities. But no! Most hate where they live and want out!.
      Funny how white liberals who never lived in the ghetto defend it so much! The blacks who oppose gentrification only seek to preserve their VOTER BASE.

  • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

    A “bad four letter word” (yes it’s 14,but “propa spellin’ iz a noe noe in da hood’)

    Gentrification….The process where people see opportunity in areas ghetto folks simply hate,want to leave,have ZERO desire to fix.
    That’s why they’re ghetto. Its a mental sickness of perpetual lazyness,apathy, and hatred for the makers and doers who remind them of how useless their pathetic lives are.
    I lived in Newark my entire life. Its a large 24 square mile city.
    For over 30 years Ive seen Newark’s downtown crumble. Black neighborhoods on verge of rot-collapse. Drooping cornices, diagonal tilting balconies..and the BRA Black leadership -Mayor Ken Gibson, later Sharpe James do NOTHING.

    Meanwhile the white & hispanic areas prospered. The Portuguese Ironbound has enjoyed nonstop growth. The northern part of the city, majority Puerto Rican and Italian old timers ,has also seen new construction. The presence of these groups saved these areas from being summarily destroyed by the black rioters in 67′.
    For decades, Downtown was uninhabited,save for college students at Rutgers/NJIT.
    Now that the arena has brought new white residents to rebuild all the delapidated abandoned buildings downtown, TO REBUILD AND MOVE INTO A DOWNTOWN 2 SQ MILES IN AREA WITH ZERO RESIDENTS.
    We have a “gentrification problem”.

    NO! WE HAVE A RACIST BLACK AGAINST WHITE PROBLEM. The blacks have the power in this case. They control city hall.
    Now that pro business Cory Booker’s gone, we have an anti white & anti semite racist in RAS BARAKA.
    Look for all these billion dollar luxury proyects in newark to die thru PERMIT DENIALS.

    “Those construction workers and Hipsters wont look like me!”