Monday, August 11, 2014

WBEZ: In Chicago, neighborhoods that are too black don't gentrify

With the prospect of a Whole Foods Market coming to Englewood in 2016 the "dreaded G word" continues to come up. But an academic study reported by WBEZ makes the argument that if a neighborhood is solidly Black, then it's very unlikely to gentrify. However:
The researchers started with earlier data showing neighborhoods that appeared to be undergoing gentrification. But when they looked at those same areas more recently, they found that in areas where the population was 40 percent black, that gentrification seemed to grind to a halt.

Indeed, Sampson said that many of the neighborhoods that have become synonymous with gentrification — like the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn — actually underscore their study's findings. That neighborhood has a reputation of being a hive of hipsters who moved in and displaced all the black people who lived there before. But before it gentrified, the neighborhood actually boasted a sizable Polish-American working class and a large Latino population, while its black population had always been very small. (It was about 7 percent in 1990.) Sampson said the Bed-Stuys and Harlems of the world — heavily black urban neighborhoods that have seen lots of whites move in — are outliers, not the rule.
Something that ought to be addressed study or no-study:
As Ta-Nehisi Coates' blockbuster story on reparations exhaustively outlined, Chicago has a particularly sordid history when it comes to race and housing. The city's policies and their consequences have contributed to deep levels of residential segregation there, and Sampson said that history continues to shape the way Chicagoans think of different neighborhoods.

"[There's a] perception that predominantly black neighborhoods are higher-crime, more disorderly," he said. "And that's feeding into which neighborhoods — among poor neighborhoods — are being gentrified."
The next question is whether or not Black communities are losing out on reinvestment and renewal? Read the whole thing and let us know what YOU think.

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