The results of de-gentrification

MLewyn's picture

When a city recovers from the urban decline of the late 20th century, there is often a lot of media blather about the evils of gentrification.  According to gentriphobes, working-class (mostly black) people lived together in peace and harmony before the onslaught of (mostly white) hipsters and yuppies drove up rents.

A recent article in (of all places) the Atlantic lends a dose of reality to the gentrification argument.  It points out that Washington's U Street neighborhood (one of Washington's newly gentrifying areas) lost 1/3 of its (mostly black) population between 1980 and 2000, when U Street was a poorer and more troubled area than it now is.  In fact, black population loss slowed over the past decade.

Why?  Because black people (even not-so-well-off black people) don't like living in crime-ridden hellholes any more than anyone else does.  As a result, a poor, troubled neighborhood exports its neighborhoods far more rapidly than one which is desirable but more expensive.

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