The last post’s comments have gotten way off topic so I’m going to try to move them here.
There is a comment I want to answer in a bit of a longer length.

Are all of these new businesses for the existing residents or to attract new, higher income residents? And if they are primarily to attract new residents, and push out the lower income families and residents who have been living there for decades – well, I think that’s a problem.
My question is what will happen to the ordinary hardworking lower income people as the professionals move in? Ironically, the young urban professionals who move into these areas looking for diversity, often end up driving out the “diversity” by raising the cost of living beyond the means of long term residents.
My question is how to prevent this from happening and to create a truly diverse community, comprised of every income level, educational background, race, religion, etc.?

Regarding new businesses, there was a demand (residents) that attracted the business, not the other way around. This is no Field Of Dreams. Business failure is a very real possibility, and with small businesses we could be talking about someone’s life savings, a mound of debts (business loans) on the hope that the perceived demand is not a load of hype. There was/is a great demand for the businesses in a way that residents go out of their way wooing and supporting (see Queen of Sheba, Vegetate). And in the case of Windows (feel free to correct me Scott) the business was already there, but over time expanded and changed. There were residents, people who’d been here from 20 years to 20 days whose demands for a dry cleaner, a place to go and sit and eat, a place to get a decent wine, etc were not met. So yes, the businesses are here for a portion of existing residents, as well as visitors, and sometimes those visitors decide to become residents.

esse, a commenter, answered the other part regarding long time residents quite well:

On my street, the long time residents are dying.I have lived on my street for 15 years. I have yet to see a single household “forced out”. 5 vacant houses have been renovated and have people living in them now, three houses were owned by seniors that died. Their kids sold the house,because they have their own house in the suburbs. One family did cash in and moved to the suburbs for more room and better schools. I think that many neighborhoods in DC are renovating, rather than than gentrifying.

7 thoughts on “Change?”

  1. “My question is how to prevent this from happening and to create a truly diverse community, comprised of every income level, educational background, race, religion, etc.?”

    I may be incorrect, but I feel that this statement defines Truxton Circle as it stands today. I don’t think a truly utopian neighborhood that includes a perfect representation of all groups equally and levelly is possible. But I think TC is a good real world example.

    What do y’all think?

  2. The TC is what it is. Race, sometimes is obvious (not all the time) but the other stuff falls in the none of your business group but they get added to the income/religion/education/ orientation diversity boxes when individuals make those aspects of their life known. It is a bad habit, but I do it because 1/2 the time I’m right, which means half the time I am wrong or very, very wrong when I go around assuming/guessing at the educational background, income, etc of my neighbors. There are several perfectly middle class seeming neighbors who never went to or dropped out of college. As far as income goes, I got employed neighbors, retired neighbors, and neighbors of working age that don’t seem to have a place to go to for 8 hours 5 days a week. What any of their incomes are, is none of my business. So over long term observations I have to make a guess based on conduct, where they live, the rest of their household, etc on what income category to throw them in. And even then, I could be wrong.

  3. Scott from Bloomingdale once again.

    Back to Amanda’s question: “My question is how to prevent this – new businesses coming in and pushing out the lower income families and residents who have been living here for decades — from happening?”

    How to prevent new businesses from coming in that specifically attract newer residents….?

    Commercial property owners operate in a free market. Commercial property owners are interested in obtaining the highest rent possible from prospective tenants. A prospective tenant, who is willing to pay the asking rent to the commercial property owner, can open up a retail business that caters to the new, higher-income residents, to the long-time, potentially lower-income residents or a mix of residents.

    I return to Amanda’s question —“how to prevent this?”

    What is it you want to prevent?

    A commercial property owner from charging a rent that might discourage a prospective business owner tenant whose target market might be long-time residents?

    A prospective retail business owner from catering to the newer, higher-income tenants?

    Higher property taxes that commercial property owners tend to pass down to their tenants?

    Or is it something else?

  4. Remember all the Spicer houses? How in 2005 or so, about 30 Section Eight houses suddenly went on the market, up and down 3rd,Q, P St and Bates. There were a lot of families who did have to move out when the slumlord who owned the houses they lived in put them on the market. Most of those houses have since been renovated and sold.

    I’m not meaning to stir any pots, but I think in this community narrative, it’s important to acknowledge that lower-income renters have indeed been pushed out. (There are also three foreclosures on my block alone.) But name a nieghborhood anywhere on earth where that hasn’t happened. Renters always get the short end of the stick. –molly

  5. Molly you make a good point. I’ve nearly but forgotten about the high concentration of bad section 8 houses over on that end of the TC. They gave section 8 a bad name, making Section 8 synonymous all sorts of bad dealings.
    Yes, renters get the short end of the stick. But tis the nature of renting, which is why I’m not a huge fan of it as a long term living situation.

  6. I know someone named Molly in Bloomingdale who lives adjacent to a house with a long (multi-decade) history of crack dealing and prostitution. Most folks don’t recoginze it as a problem house, however, because lots of little children come and go, and the matriarch sits out front and says “hi” to everyone. But it is still a (long-term) problem house.

    Will they get pushed out? Will it be a “bad” thing?

  7. There was an interesting article on gentrification and cross-cultural dialogue in yesterday’s NYT

    I think it speaks to a communication breakdown between newcomers and longer-term residents, and I’m curious (as a very newcomer) how folks think Portland’s experience relates to gentrifying neighborhoods in DC.

Comments are closed.