Rob Goodspeed covered this use of the word “gentrification” and its use in the Post in his blog here. So I cannot even improve upon his work. However I can make some observations and provide a bibliography.
For the years 1970-1979, a few:
“Londoners vs. Developers” by Jerry Edgerton. Mar 25, 1973. p. C2
“Will ‘Saved’ Cities Mean Suburban Slums?; Mr. Peirce writes a syndicated column, on the problems of cities and states” by Neal R. Peirce. Jul 30, 1977. p. A15
“Gentrification of London; Working-Class Residents Vie With ‘Colonizers’ For Housing Working Class Vying For ‘Gentrified’ Homes” by Clay Harris, special to The Washington Post. Nov 5, 1977. E1
“Harlem Woos Tourists in Bid to Level Ghetto Barriers” by Lee Mitgang Nov 8, 1978 A30
“The Future Is Behind Us: Make Way for the Past; Architectural Outlook for the ’80s: Make Way for the Past” by Wolf Von Eckardt. Dec 30, 1978 C1
“Opportunity for a Livable City; The Urban and Suburban Choices Facing Washington’s New Mayor” by Wolf Van Eckardt Jan 13, ’79 B1
“The Motown Model; GM Spruces Up Its Neighborhood General Motors’ Motown Model” by Wolf Von Eckardt Jan 20, 1979 D1
“Going ’round in (Logan) Circles; How a Modest Dream Was Transformed Into a Bureaucratic Nightmare: Cityscape ‘Gentrification’ and Logan Circle” by Wolf Von Eckardt Feb 3, 1979 D1
“Preservation Is Not the Enemy of the Poor; Preserving Cities For Poor Residents” by Beverly A. Reece Feb 10, 1979 E29
“Measuring Change in the Cities” Feb 22, 1979 A16
“Mayor Voices Housing Concerns” by Blair Gately, special to The Washington Post Mar 15, 1979 DC5
A few articles in my own ProQuest gentrification query were written by Wolf Von Eckardt, who did the art & architecture beat. January 13, 1979 in “Opportunity for a Livable City” (B1, B4) he has hopes for the new mayor, Marion Barry. As a candidate it seems that Mr. Barry was not fond of the ‘rehabilitation movement’ taking place in the city by the middling classes. Von Eckardt wrote:
In the first place, displacement due to rehabilitation may not be as widespread as Mayor Barry was told. His task force said approximately 150,000 families were in danger of being thrown out of their houses. The Census Bureau just told us that the city lost population. Could it be that many of these endangered families have displaced themselves– to Prince George’s County?
I’m also noticing in the results for the mid to late 1970s an anixety about the growth of suburbs. Which leads me to think that some people are ‘renovating’ and moving into economically depressed areas and there are more getting the heck outta D(odge) C(ity), either to PG, MoCo, or NoVA.