Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Report Discusses Neighborhood Change, Gentrification in Cities

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Report Discusses Neighborhood Change, Gentrification in Cities

Article excerpt

In a new joint publication by The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy and PolicyLink, authors Maureen Kennedy and Paul Leonard recommend "equitable development" as the means to create and maintain economic and social diversity in gentrifying communities.

There is much debate as to the value of a gentrified neighborhood, where higher income households displace lower income residents, often changing the character and flavor of the neighborhood.

For the most part the disagreement ensues because stakeholders view results of a gentrified neighborhood with different lenses.

The authors of Dealing With Neighborhood Change; A Primer of Gentrification and Policy Choices did not attempt to classify results as "good" or "bad." Rather, Kennedy and Leonard list the products of gentrified neighborhoods and discuss the consequences of each.

Kennedy and Leonard found that the following circumstances occur in gentrified neighborhoods:

* Renters, homeowners and local businesses are either involuntarily or voluntarily displaced;

* Real estate values and equity for homeowners increase as does rent for renters and business owners;

* Tax revenues increase;

* There is a greater income mix and a de-concentration of poverty;

* The street "flavor" changes, and new commercial activity is introduced;

* Community leadership, the power structure and institutions change;

* Conflicts arise between old and new residents; and

* The value of the neighborhood to those on the outside increases.

Kennedy and Leonard provide a list of steps that can strengthen a community and lesson the burden of gentrification on economically disadvantaged citizens. First, the authors suggest that city officials look at the demographics of their city to determine whether gentrification is an issue that needs to be addressed. …

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