USA Today.com (Studies: Gentrification a boost for everyone)

1 10 2008

A hot-button issue

Gentrification has spawned emotional disputes in cities around the nation:

• In northwest Fort Lauderdale, where streets are named for the district’s prominent old African-American families, three of four new home buyers are white, according to a survey by the Sun-Sentinel. City Commissioner Carlton Moore told the newspaper his largely black constituency fears displacement, even though he says it won’t happen.

• In the predominantly Latino working class barrio of East Austin, the new Pedernales Lofts condominiums have raised adjacent land values more than 50% since 2003. Last fall, someone hung signs from power lines outside the lofts saying, “Stop gentrifying the East Side” and “Will U give jobs to longtime residents of this neighborhood?”

• In Charlotte, a City Council committee voted in December to remove language from a city planning department report that downplayed gentrification’s threat to neighborhoods. Development could uproot some people, councilman John Tabor told the Charlotte Observer “If there are people in these neighborhoods who have to move because they can’t afford their taxes, that’s who I want to help,” he said.

• In Boston’s North End, the destruction of the noisy Central Artery elevated highway promises to attract younger, more affluent new residents and dilute the traditional Italian immigrant culture.

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