Is it too late to talk about H Street and Gentrification?

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Since a lot of folks have been sending me emails about these “A Gentrified DC” taggings up and down H Street, NE now’s as good time as any to talk about them.  I remember similar themed taggings on 14th Street in Logan Circle/U Street when that ship had already sailed far from the port.  It feels like H Street is in a very similar situation today. Do you think there can still be a productive conversation about gentrification and H Street, NE?  How about the revitalization of H Street, NE?  I suppose it depends how you define each word, if anyone wants to take a crack at that…

Speaking of which, if you do consider H Street gentrified – does that make Ben’s Chili Bowl a gentrifier too?

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Do you think these taggings are a call to action for H Street specifically?  Have you seen them in other neighborhoods? Looking up the hashtag #iwillnotbemoveddc it appears to have been started by some folks from the nomad yard collectiv, originally located near Union Market, who can now be found in Mulebone at 14th and V St, NW.

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Where does the discussion go from here for H Street?

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625 H Street, NE

205 Comment

  • Honestly, not sure what needs to be discussed here. It is what it is. H St is being gentrified.

    Wikipedia defines it as such which imo applies to Hst

    Gentrification is typically the result of increased interest in a certain environment. Early “gentrifiers” may belong to low income artists or boheme communities, which increase the attractiveness and flair of a certain quarter. Further steps are increased investments in a community and the related infrastructure by real estate development businesses, local government, or community activists and resulting economic development, increased attraction of business and lower crime rates. In addition to these potential benefits, gentrification can lead to population migration.

    • I believe the true definition of a “gentrifier” is anyone who moved into the neighborhood after I did.

    • I would say that there are some other demographics shifts in gentrification that don’t always have the usual white people coming in and displacing minorities such as a lot of gay neighborhoods in San Francisco are gentrifying by techies coming in and in Philly some white working class neighborhoods are starting to gentrify as well.

      • Yeah. I don’t associate gentrification with “White People” moving in personally. Apparently a lot of people do. It’s more economic based and as Wikipedia states a increased interest in a certain area blah, blah. I think some people may feel that way because of the way the development is catered and executed.

        • Well, white people do control an amount of wealth in the US that is well above their share of the population. So yeah, gentrification = white people in 95 out of 100 cases. But sure, I guess we can split hairs over those 5 outlier cases of wealthy non-white minorities.

          • Indeed and fair enough. I guess I don’t hold the same kind of vitriol as others as indicated in some of the posts below. It’s not the indvidual but rather a system that drives the “gentrification”

          • “95 out of 100 cases” Where did you get this number? Or did you just make it up?

        • In D.C., race tends to be a proxy for socioeconomic status.

          • By DC, i think you meant the US.

          • Yep, it’s definitely the case in the U.S. (or most of it). But particularly so in D.C. — most working-class white people fled to the suburbs after housing integration began, so most white people in D.C. now are almost by definition not working-class.

        • I’d classify myself as a “black gentrifier” who loves all of the services available to him in Logan now. I grew up in a wealthy MD suburb and moved back to the area after college to DC with many of the other non-black college educated young adults with significant disposable income.
          .
          It really makes me uncomfortable when gentrification is a veiled term for white people pushing black people out of DC–that is what is happening, but I would challenge if that is because of race or that this is where many of the poor black population were left and ignored for generations in the region–as the post eludes “does that make Ben’s Chili Bowl a gentrifier too?” Can black people not be part of gentrification? Or maybe that is the question PoP is raising…
          .
          This area has the largest population of wealthy and upper-middle class black people in the country, they/we can afford DC property/rental prices–Rockville and as far out as Columbia, Mitchellville and Annapolis aren’t cheap–many of my peers have chosen to stay out of the city for a variety of reasons: an ongoing issues of crime, a weak education system and a lack of infrastructure and services that still is ever present in the District that is not missing in the surrounding counties….I could go on. If you grew up in Maryland, it is a tough place to leave.

          • OMG. Are we friends in real life? 🙂 You’ve managed to sum up my views (my life) perfectly. “Black gentrifiers” do exist.

          • @SWChick…possibly!
            .
            This all just reminds me of Bernie Sanders making the comment, “White people don’t know what it’s like to be poor. Um….most of the poor people in this country are white and most black people are not poor (it’s like23% of the black population).
            .
            It’s surprisingly sad how so many people don’t know those two fun facts.

          • Yet black “gentrifiers” are virtually invisible to the native black Washingtonian; we see new faces that are primarily young and white and many gay and who wouldn’t set foot in Deanwood or Anacostia years ago. Except when the majority of Anacostia was working-class white. Therein lies the perceptual rub which paints gentrification in D.C. as whites taking over: Historic blacks see the directed insurgency of guns and drugs as preludes to gentrification, even as most of us KNOW that it was a specific plan, recently even “discovered by whites,” of Nixon through Reagan to debilitate America’s black communities. Our cousins aren’t Smith and Wesson and Glock but you better bet they are neighborhood familiars. As are Jose Crack and Juilio Heroin. Many can’t see the shots constantly being fired at many as a prelude to our escaping the city and you moving in because you are not “down range” when the assaults occur.

          • Black Gentrifiers Unite! I think it’s nice to not get any of the vitriol that non-white gentrifiers get. I can’t tell you how many times people have voiced their gentrification complaints because they think we are in solidarity. You know how people talk when they think no Gentrifiers are present. I’m just happy to able to live in a cool diverse viberant DC neighborhood with all it’s amenities, good and bad

          • I’m guessing if you are Black and read PoP your are a Black Gentrifier or Buppie

            Gentri Black wrote “can’t tell you how many times people have voiced their gentrification complaints because they think we are in solidarity. You know how people talk when they think no Gentrifiers are present”

            So if someone is spewing nonsense you just let it ride as if it is OK? When this happens I *politely* call people on their bulls^*t. Somebody tried to tell me about all the people that got pushed out when they built new buildings around Columbia Heights Metro. I called BS because I knew all that land was vacant lots until like 1998.

        • Everything in DC is about race, everything. Gentrification, buying a hotdog, going to the DMV. Race is the undercurrent for all aspects of life in DC.

  • dude you are 4 years too late…sorry. Gentrification train goes choo chooooo

  • Post is late on the train but this is the first time chains are starting to pop up like Sbux which feels weird and bla. We always knew it was gonna happen but now it just seems more real. I read a Petsmart was moving in? I wish we had more local retail but it seems like it’s going to go straight to chains because the local places have trouble staying open.

    On the other hand I can now walk by the 8th st block as a lady and not be harassed, which has made life easier, so it has its pluses and minuses…

  • Also curious about perspectives on this. When I moved here there were several multigenerational families in the neighborhood who had owned the houses in their families for years, who are mostly gone now, which sucks. Most of the narrative would say they got pushed out, but most of them that I talked to sold their houses for a large sum and bought large properties in MD and were excited to get out to the suburbs. im aware gentrification hurts renters a lot, just pointing out what I’ve seen in my own few block span, not sure how widespread that is. A lot of them sold to developers so I miss the old neighbors

    • Yes, excluding renters most sold their homes willingly for large sums of money. I’m not shedding a tear for them.

      • I wish sitting on desirable real estate were my biggest problem — ‘specially if I’d done nothing, or less than nothing, to make the neighborhood any better. Hope everyone enjoys the windfall.

  • Although a lot has been developed, H Street is still a dump.

  • H street has cleaned up and as a result much of “old dc” and it’s trashy, gritty ways is on the way out as well. The H street of the 80’s and 90’s is no more, and this is only for the best. I feel safe walking around at all times of the day, there’s great places to eat and drink and crime is down. If this is gentrification, I’ll take it all day long.

    • I think the problem is that it took wealthy people moving to the area for H Street to get a bunch of the services they do. Also of import, will the gentrifiers send their kids to the DC public schools? A lot of the schools in that area are shoddy and need lots of money. But as has been the case in many areas, the kids tend to go to a private school and not public.

      • “I think the problem is that it took wealthy people moving to the area for H Street to get a bunch of the services they do.” Agreed. And this is true for many other neighborhoods that have seen an influx of well-to-do people.
        .
        It would be nice if the city provided decent services to all, rather than doing so only once certain demographics move in.
        .
        In Japan, a “bad” neighborhood isn’t a dangerous neighborhood — just an inconvenient one, i.e., one without public transportation nearby.

      • are you talking about city services? just curious, what city services either appeared or improved around h street in the past 5 or 10 years? if you’re talking about services like getting good grocery stores, etc., that’s different. i don’t think many business would be keen on opening up in an area where even the mom and pop stores have to put up bullet proof glass. that’s a situation where gentrification is indeed good.

        • Not sure which city services Bryan has in mind, but as far as I can tell, MPD is less responsive in less-wealthy areas. DCRA seems to be more lax in enforcement. DPW is often less responsive (on the sanitation side — probably not on the parking-enforcement side). Not only are schools poor quality in terms of academics, the buildings get less funding for renovations because there aren’t as many squeaky-wheel parents pressing the mayor for it.

  • H Street is definitely getting gentrified but as with all gentrification I am not sure what anyone is supposed to do to change it. If people want to move there, they’ll move. If the neighborhood is popular enough that landlords can start charging higher rent, the new people who can afford it and want to move will move, and the current residents will get priced out. So it goes.

    That said Ben Chili Bowl is 100% a gentrifier! Sure decades ago it was a real local, unpretentious neighborhood place on U Street, but the new direction Ben’s sons are taking it in is absolutely on par with any of the other popular DC chains that are expanding to all the gentrifying neighborhoods. If the U Street location didn’t have the history it does, you would think Ben’s was no different from &pizza or Taylor gourmet. I mean, a chili half smoke at the airport?!

    • “I am not sure what anyone is supposed to do to change it. If people want to move there, they’ll move.”

      This is no attack on you, but that is the attitude that prevents anything from being done about gentrification. There are some good examples from cities all over the country that demonstrate that an area can be improved in a manner inclusive to all those who live there. An abundance of affordable housing, rent control, caps on property tax for residents of a certain number of years, and community organizations that approve all new construction (like in Chinatown NYC) are all great examples. These are ways to allow growth and improvement in a way that is inclusive of people from all socioeconomic classes. After all, no one wants to halt improvement of the city, they just want to temper skyrocketing cost of living.

      • That plan requires a city that has its sh*t together, so I’m also not sure what anyone is supposed to do about it here

      • Totally agree! Having lived in many other American cities I am proud of what DC Government regularly accomplishes and believe that if it put its energies into ensuring that the most vulnerable residents were not harmed by development, we would see a meaningful impact there. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s FY 17 budget indicates vulnerable populations are not her priority.

  • The premise of this post seems to be that gentrification is a bad thing. I only see improvements.

    • I don’t think it’s the premise of the post, but it certainly is the premise of the tags. I did find this to be very funny:
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      ” Looking up the hashtag #iwillnotbemoveddc it appears to have been started by some folks from the nomad yard collectiv, originally located near Union Market, who can now be found in Mulebone at 14th and V St, NW.”
      .
      “I refuse to move . . . again!”

      • “It’s only a flesh wound.”

        If you’re only weapon is stenciling in the dead of night, it might be time to admit defeat and go back to grad school like your parents wanted.

      • Hahahaha. That was my assumption: many of the people responsible for this tagging *are* the gentrifiers. It just pains them to admit it.

    • Well there’s a dark side to gentrification, that’s for sure. I mean PG county is a mess and it’s mostly due to the influx of low income families being pushed out by gentrification. What I struggle with is if the goal is to improve a neighborhood or a city, how is that accomplished with out further disenfranchising low income people. I mean I literally can’t even think of a way in which it would be accomplished. This city has come leaps and bounds in the last 20 years, I just think we need to keep it in perspective and not ignore the fact that it has definitely come at a price.

      • Some of PG County has its issues, mostly the bordering NE and SE areas but overally that is a gross over generalization. Crime is no more prevalent in Prince George’s than it is in DC right now. The schools and economic development are what’s hurting PG County.

        • “Crime is no more prevalent in Prince George’s than it is in DC right now.”
          .
          That’s like saying you’re the best Alpine skier in Panama.

          • Point being that you can’t just outright call PG County a mess when compared to the rest of the region. They are par for the course in this area less education and development in my opinion.

            People like to rag on PG County and I feel it’s unfair and disengenious and no I do not live in PG County but I know good people that do.

          • Stacksp, you make a very good point. People hear PG and think of the very near-in to DC parts, and fail to realize that the county actually extends to Greenbelt, Bowie, and south. There are some really nice parts of PG County. However, their police force is known to be very shady, their local government is ineffective, and don’t get me started about the schools.
            However, this is not due to the influx of low income people as A Nony Mouse suggests; PG County has been like this in my living memory. I lived in PG County as a child, then moved to northern Charles County, which residents will tell you is “PG County south” now. But what it really is, is that the original folks don’t like the new folks (especially the brown ones) coming in. They get scared. They blame all the problems on all the new people, and if you are not white and not rich (because unless you are a rich person of color, you will be considered poor even if you make more than your white neighbors), well you are exactly the problem. Don’t buy into that crap. It’s simply not true.

          • Anonamom, are the schools bad even in the wealthier parts of PG County?
            .
            (I know the ones in inside-the-Beltway PG County aren’t well regarded.)

          • I think that depends on your definition of “bad.” For the parents who would not dream of sending their snowflakes EOTP, yes, they are horrible. But to some one EOR, they might be an upgrade. I stand somewhere in the middle, at a “rising” DCPS school, with two kids who will eventually land at Roosevelt with their current feeder pattern, and one kid who will eventually land at either Coolidge (in bounds) or Cardozo (feeder). I think honestly, my kids are firmly better off in DCPS versus PG County Public Schools even with these less than stellar options. I think that particularly once you get to the HS level, most would consider PG County Schools to be “bad” with the exception of schools in the most northern parts of the county.

          • Referring to kids as “snowflakes,” with all the negative connotations that term implies, just because their parents have different standards for schools than you do? Nice.

        • I don’t think you understand the history or the development of Prince Georges County (generally, residents in that county do not like being called “PG” county). Specifically, I don’t think you are correct that gentrification pushed low income people to that county. Indeed, it is among the highest income, predominantly African-American counties in the country. The movement to that county was historically middle to upper-income African-Americans who wanted to get away from the then-dysfunctional, crime-ridden DC. Whatever problems Prince Georges County may have, they have not largely been driven by gentrification pushing poor people there.

          • houseintherear

            +1 thanks for saying this! I grew up around here and in my neck of the woods we thought of Prince George’s County as being mostly rich people of color, with a crappy police force and even crappier schools unfortunately. If anything it has gotten more of a wealthy population over the last 20 years.

          • “Whatever problems Prince Georges County may have, they have not **in the past** largely been driven by gentrification pushing poor people there.”
            .
            That’s undeniably true from a historical perspective, but for the last 10 years, the dynamic has changed.

          • 2 of my neighbors who had owned houses in DC (well, their families) sold their houses for a buttload and moved to a larger home in PG county and were excited about it, so wish people would stop saying everyone was unwillingly “pushed out” to PG county/.

          • el – some (not all) owners, are effectively “pushed out” because everyone can’t afford to pay rising taxes that are based on home values. I understand that there is a formula to allow for a gradual rate increase for long timers, but taxes are still increased annually based on tax value. And as DC welcomes a higher amount of working professionals with larger salaries in neighborhoods these people historically avoided at all costs, than taxes and OTHER expenses increase as well. Having a larger home in PG county or elsewhere is great for those who leave willingly, but not because the costs of living in the gentrified, and therefore more expensive, DC gave them no other alternative.

          • “some (not all) owners, are effectively “pushed out” because everyone can’t afford to pay rising taxes that are based on home values.”
            .
            I suppose that is true (although a $500,000 property with the maximum allowable tax increase would see a hit of $35 per month). But, rising property tax assessments *generally* are associated with increasing property values. So while I suppose someone who can’t afford rising property tax assessments could be considered “pushed out,” they are “cashing out” at the same time. My sympathy is much more with the renters.

          • Someone who has owned their home since the 90s or before is paying a FRACTION of what the house is actually worth in taxes. Even if DC increases their tax assessment by the allowable percentage per year (it’s capped at 10% and I think for seniors even lower), it seems highly unlikely that homeowners are being pushed out because of rising property values. Actual property value and taxable value are no where near the same thing. If you can name one example of a home owner forced to move because of rising taxes that you personally know of, I’d be very surprised.

          • HaileUnlikely

            That’s helpful in the short term, but over the long term you can still get killed on your taxes. Say you bought a house that you could comfortably afford on a fixed income or with small annual raises typical for an adult who is well past the point in their career where they get a fat promotion every couple years. Say you want to stay in that house for the rest of your life. Say your taxable assessment increases at 10% a year every year for 25 years. Your taxes 25 years from now will be more than 10 times what they are today. Is your income going to increase? Hopefully. By a multiple of 10? I’d call that haile unlikely.

          • dcd and anon, I get that. Which is why I said that it’s more than taxes that go up that can effectively “push” people out. But gentrification also means that it can be more expensive to live in the city. Even if some people would have preferred to stay. I don’t know any examples in DC. But I know a number of families in my home neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY who were forced to sell or lost their homes because they could not afford the rising taxes.

          • haileunlikely, if your taxes increased by 10% a year, your house would also have a correlated increase in value. if you bought a $200,000 house 25 years ago that increased in value 10%/yr, that house would be worth over $2,000,000 now. sucks as regards to taxes, otherwise, being worth a few million dollars is not a bad problem to have.

          • HaileUnlikely

            25 years ago, property values around here were very low and interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage were in the 15% range. Somebody who bought a $200K home in DC 25 years ago is likely already quite wealthy (independent of the value of the house) and will be able to pay their taxes just fine. The ones I feel kinda bad for are the ones who bought modest homes for under $50K in 1990 and are now paying taxes on a $500K home (which for many here is not a lot of money, but for many who bought homes here 25 years ago it is). These are, for the most part, not high-income people. If they can’t pay their taxes, they have to sell, and if they sell, then a.) that home will no longer be in their family to benefit the financial stability of their kids and grandkids, and b.) when they take their $500K cash and combine it with their low or no income, they will likely have to leave the area altogether because they won’t be able to afford anything else in this area.

          • Haile, taxes on a $500,000 assessed property in DC are about $3600/year after the homestead deduction. If the resident is a senior they can get exemption from 50% of their property taxes. If the resident is single and makes under $38k/year (which your post implies) they can get another tax deduction. It’s $44k for a household of 2. Ultimately, that household might have to pay $1000 a year or less in property taxes. DC has a ton of systems in place (that many consider overly generous and detrimental to city services) to prevent aging long-term residents from having to leave. So, while I empathize with your sympathy, this isn’t a thing that’s actually happening to many people.

      • “What I struggle with is if the goal is to improve a neighborhood or a city, how is that accomplished with out further disenfranchising low income people. ”
        ^^ THIS!! Perhaps I am just a sheltered girl from Hillbilly Hell, Texas, but I’ve always been troubled by the paradox of gentrification. How does a neighborhood increase its livability and maintain cost of living?
        .
        Can it? From a simple mathematical perspective, no. When you think of slope (you know, y = mx+b where m = slope = rise/run) in its most basic form of a linear graph (think the shape ‘L’) where the vertical axis is livability (including education, culture, recreation, decrease / low rate in crime, etc.) and the horizontal axis is the cost of living, there is a direct linear correlation (the slope). To increase livability, there has to be an increase in cost of living; it is mathematically impossible in this model to increase livability (or cost of living) and not increase the other value because.

        • Often times the “low income people” are creating the problems that gentrification fixes. It’s not without a cost, but it’s a net gain for the city.

          • Is gentrification “fixing” the problem or just moving the problem to another jurisdiction?

          • One of the problems people have with the gentrification is that exact sentiment. That’s not improving the area for the residents it’s just straight up changing it for the new ones. Pushing low income people out does fix the problem of them being low income. If the city invests so much in development why don’t they do the same with helping people who aren’t as well off? Also I think it’s a stretch to say that lower income people make a neighborhood bad. The correlation you are referring to is between crime and housing projects which gentrification does not “fix” since they are still there regardless of what developments come. I believe that development is inevitable in every city but some level of frustration should expected and is justified when neighborhoods start changing and people are forced out.

          • Definitively not “fixing”.

          • Kingman Park, what about the correlation between low-income neighborhoods and litter?

          • “Is gentrification “fixing” the problem or just moving the problem to another jurisdiction?”
            .
            Does it fix the problem of poverty and it’s associated issues? Of course not. Does it “fix” the problem for the neighborhood? Perhaps. Like so many things, it’s all about your perspective.

      • What I don’t understand is why the lower income families pushed out of DC seem to go to PG county. There are lots of affordable neighborhoods in VA with lots of housing and amenities nearby.

        • More value for the money. Can you get a detached SF with a yard in VA for under 400k that’s 15/20 min to the DC line? You can in PG County.

        • jim_ed

          There aren’t any neighborhoods even remotely close in affordability in VA until you get all the way out to Prince William County. Much further away from the city.

        • There have always been stronger ties between MD and DC than DC and VA, especially among lower income people. A lot of lower income people (myself included) have family in PG County, Charles County, and elsewhere. For whatever reason, we just tend to have ties to that side of the river. Could be historical reasons (prior to desegregation, MD was friendlier to blacks than VA). Could be geographical (the natural “spread” from DC over the border into MD vs getting stopped by the river into VA). Could be that NOVA just sucks 😉

      • This is the great paradox of gentrification. I 100% agree with benefits of gentrification (improved safety, increased opportunity, theoretically more neighborhood options for living and visiting), but as a middle income individual, I bristle at the idea of paying exorbitant rents and can’t imagine how I would live if I was low income.

        I feel like the general answer to this problem is the need for more investments into mixed-income and affordable housing developments, but the big problem is the lack of those investments from both the city government and private developers. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about this side of the issue/solution.

      • PG County had major issues 25 years ago when DC had fewer than 500,000 residents and wasn’t being gentrified in any neighborhood.

    • I would also say that a loss of culture is another negative side of gentrification. I’ve heard people say that the culture will just change but I’m still trying to figure out what this new culture entails assuming those people are correct.

  • I think it’s far too late to have that conversation. I own a home on the same block as the new Whole Foods so obviously my opinion is going to be different than a long-time renter who feels they are being pushed out (though I personally do not know of anyone in this situation in my neighborhood). I’m very excited about all the positive changes happening in the neighborhood. Though I have to admit, my heart sank when I found out a Petco Unleashed will be opening within a block of my favorite little shop, Metro Mutts. All I can really do is continue to give them my business and hope that other neighbors do the same. I’d hate to see smaller businesses close due to large chains coming in.

    • You only get Whole Foods in an area that can support a Petco Unleashed. So take your pick. Mostly likely Metro Mutts will not be able to compete with Unleashed prices and buying power.

    • Unfortunately, Metro Mutts is already planning on closing its H Street location. A huge bummer….

      • Where did you hear this? They recently sent out a customer survey asking about what we’d like to see in the store now that the Unleashed is coming. They also just announced they’re starting a delivery service…

      • One of the owners here! Absolutely not true!

  • Ally

    I wish there was a way to give extreme tax breaks or incentives to people who have lived or owned a business in a neighborhood for 20+ years. Then they could afford to stay, but the communities could afford to get a little more in the way of new restaurants, more housing, and walkable points of interest. It seems like the beneficial progress (reduction in crime, more family-friendly places, etc) always gets attacked, when really it seems like the issue is simply one of unfair practices regarding real estate tax.

    • Unfair practices regarding real estate tax? Unfortunate, maybe – but unfair? I dunno, that seems to be a stretch.

      • Ally

        Valid point. It’s just that rent control has always been a part of most major cities. Not sure how a break on real estate taxes would be that much different, nor that much of a hit to the budget. Also, more importantly, seems like the right thing to do.

    • Real estate tax isn’t the villain here, for several reasons. People who own their home are in great shape–DC’s property tax rate is one of the lowest in the country, and significantly lower than competing local markets in Virginia and Maryland. The homestead exemption offers major relief and is available for all primary residences. Senior citizens can get even further relief. And finally, there’s the Lower-Income Long-Term Homeowners credit, which can be used by people who’ve owned a place in DC for 7 years or more and fall under certain income thresholds. The limit for 1 person was $38k last year; for a family of 4, $54k. “People who own homes on H Street/Logan/U Street/wherever are getting forced out of the city” isn’t really a thing that’s happening with any frequency.
      .
      Renters are impacted more, including businesses that rent space. DC’s limited rent control and tenant-friendly laws offer some relief, but not a ton. Adding massive supply, as is happening around NoMA and H Street, is one way to keep up with demand and stabilize rent prices, and it’s helping. But renting is always going to be much less stable than owning.

    • Giving tax breaks like you describe wreaked havoc on California’s state budget and deficit.

    • We do give extreme tax breaks to folks who sit back and wait. There’s the cap on increases. There’s the senior citizen break. There’s the homestead deduction. All cheerfully used by absentee landlords who live in Maryland. Meanwhile, the value of their passive investments goes up and up, thanks to those evil “gentrifiers.”

  • Very few homeowners are being “pushed out” because of taxes. If they are they are making a buttload and I mean buttload of cash. The rest (vast majority) are choosing to cash out because they see the opportunity to sell their homes for 8X what they paid for while deferring maintenance for years.

    If you want to stay then stay but don’t paint lower crime and white people as the enemy.

    • Exactly, gentrification isn’t pushing people out of their homes, they’re choosing to leave. It’s not like they’re mortgage is changing if they have one any more and the change in taxes would not be that big of an impact.

      • This is only the case for people who own their homes. Rent is going up.

      • That’s only true for the homeowners. The vast majority of low-income folks pushed out of neighborhoods couldn’t afford the rising rents.

        • When you rent do you honestly expect to be in the same place for 30 years? Perhaps but reasonable expectation is that you will have to move at some point if rents increase too much.

          • I personally don’t, but it’s clear that many do.

          • when I rented I lived in 3 different neighborhoods in 3 years. There was always something not ideal about a location, whether price, proximity to stuff, neighbors, etc…

          • There’s a very big difference between the single person renting an apartment, and perhaps sharing it with a roommate, as opposed to renting as a family, worried about schools, commute, daycare options, safety for your kids, paying for braces, food, etc., and trying to minimize upheaval for your kids.

          • justinbc

            @dcd, very true, but part of the “social contract” of renting vs owning is what can be seen as flexibility (if you view it positively) or instability (if viewed negatively). Either way, it’s the price you pay for not having to pay tens or hundreds of thousands dollars down up front. There has to be some trade-off, otherwise people would never buy.

          • If you’re a senior citizen, you might well be expecting to be in the same place for 30 years (if you live that long).
            .
            Most PoPville readers seem to be in the life plan of “rent and move around in one’s 20s; buy in one’s 30s.” For people who’ve been renting their entire lives, the calculus is different — they might expect rent increases from year to year, but didn’t anticipate that rents in a given neighborhood would skyrocket.

          • justinbc

            @textdoc, depending on your landlord DC has measures in place to ensure your rents don’t “skyrocket”, but go up incrementally with inflation. If you’re someone who that’s a concern for (unemployed or elderly, for example) then it behooves you to research what conditions apply to a place you might be moving into, no different than someone interested in buying a place should research zoning regulations, et al. There are obviously some circumstances where you just have to accept the only place you can get into, sure, but it always amazes me the stories you hear about people who find out readily public information too late after the fact and then want to blame it on someone else for being unjust.

          • Justin — That’s true, but there are cases where people are in buildings in which rent-controlled apartments are being converted to market-rate apartments, and where the management does its best to force out the people in the rent-controlled apartments so it can convert them to market rate. There was an interesting (and rather damning) article in the City Paper a few years ago about how UIP was doing this at its building just north of the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro.

          • @Justin – absolutely. I was just clarifying that, while single people can blithely say, “I moved every year, there’s always something changing,” it’s a very different proposition for a family. The expectation that you may have to move is the same, but the impact of the move is much greater.

          • justinbc

            @textdoc, no doubt, plenty of shady landlords out there. Unfortunately the same person who has to live in a building like that is also highly likely to be screwed when it comes to the work place labor laws as well.
            @dcd, age definitely skews that perception, no disagreement here, and I have a feeling some of that’s reflected in the average PoPville reader / responder, although I’ve met several from both ends of the spectrum.

    • Very true statement

  • I was crossing my street in Logan Circle when a truck with VA plates did not stop at the intersection stop sign and nearly ran my dog and me over. The driver’s windows were down and I yelled, “Excuse me, you have a stop sign and you need to stop. You nearly killed me and my dog.” She yelled back, “You slick white motherfucker coming into DC and thinking you now own the place. Your gentrifying ass should have been killed a long time ago.” I replied, “You are making this about race? Really?” She replied, “You made it about race when you moved in here.” It was so odd.

    • Wow. That is ridiculous. Some people are just terrible. I’ve been yelled at by angry MD/VA commuters who failed to stop at a crosswalk while I was crossing, but never anything like that. That person is seriously unhinged.

    • It’s not secret that “gentrifiers” is code for white people.

    • If gentrification is driving people with this kind of antisocial, tunnel-visioned, misanthropic world view out into the netherworld, then I’m all for gentrification

    • Someone said “fucking DEVIL” to me as I was walking down my street with my dog. Pretty sure she wasn’t talking about my dog.

    • Yeah, I once got followed down South Capitol St. off the Navy Yard metro with a drunk guy yelling over and over to me “I don’t want your white legs” and a bunch of other nasty things about being white. -___-

    • Maybe she was the same person who consistently threw whole loaves of white bread (they have jokes, guys) in my landscaping and in front of my door (in Logan.) Other gifts included trash bags propped up against my gate, empty food containers, and on several occasions a bottle of urine. I really appreciated the feeling of long-standing community I got from the racist idiots who used my skin color as an excuse to make me feel unsafe.

  • Yes, too late for that discussion. Next question.

  • This ship has sailed. It left long ago, but the Whole Foods and massive apartment/condo complexes are what pushed it over the edge. I still enjoy the neighborhood and H is great most of the time, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time before it loses the atmosphere completely. To be clear, for me it has nothing to do with when someone moves here, I want the area to be open to anyone that enjoys it and wants to be part of the community.. Rather, it’s the people who come here now that property values are high enough for them to see the area as “safe” and immediately want to reshape it in their own image. I’m still holding out some hope it can avoid the ugly, stale fate of the 14th St/Shaw/U St/Logan complex, but not a lot of hope.

    • I think all the beloved H street fixtures between 9th and the starburst will be just fine. Those are predominantly local businesses that have seen a ton of success and few closures over the last decade.

  • Something that I think is often lost in the pro/con discussion of gentrification is the pro (in my opinion) of simply more people wanting to live in the city. Not more of a certain type (although that is happening) but a greater number of people. This is because neighborhoods are more desirable and also because higher density housing is built to accommodate more of that desire. More people living closer to their jobs, closer to transit, and in walkable communities, is a good thing, I think. The highway dependent model of suburban living is less good (again, in my opinion). The more we encourage this model, the better. My east-of-the-park-red line commute each morning is basically a front row seat to in-fill developments near metro stations, and I find that very heartening. Seeing giant strip mall parking lots next to metro stations breaks my heart a little.

    • Good summary of my feelings on changes of the last 15 years or so. I hope social services in DC are strong enough to help out displaced residents that may need it, but I’ve never heard of or read of an alternative to gentrification that doesn’t pretty much involve letting unsafe/underserved neighborhoods stay that way in perpetuity.

  • Crack, Heroin, Unemployment, no economic development, terrible school, lack of grocery stores, rampant street crime, astronomical murder rate, low voter participation allowing corrupt and inept leaders to run the city into the ground…then came the “Gentrifiers”(Mayor Williams/Fenty) pumping money into the city…tell me again what was so good about the past? Read S Street Rising.

    • I think only associating the old D.C. with crime and drugs and assuming every low income person who used to live in DC was a criminal and didn’t contribute anything positive to the city is why a lot of people distaste the mentally of a lot of transplants. DC had and still does somewhat have a vibrant African American Culture, Go-Go, had a strong Punk Rock culture, and nonpretentious lifestyle etc… that a lot of people associate with the old DC that people refuse to acknowledge today. No one only associates the old NYC with just crime they acknowledge the vibrant culture and diversity that a lot of neighborhoods had, same with New Orleans and Oakland etc. (atleast from the people who I have met)

      • That’s actually an over-exaggeration of what I said- my family is from Swampoodle/NE- DC has and will always have a strong African American Culture, which is awesome- but we forget that there were other folks here, too; that some can say got run-off by what I listed above. Take a look at the Middle/Upper Middle Class communities in PGC/Arlington/Alexandria- most have roots in DC. DC is rediversifying…if that makes sense.

    • As the demographics of the city change, City Hall will need to start shifting its pandering to the emerging voter bloc. DC has a relatively small footprint compared with other major cities and as that footprint continues to skew upper/upper-middle class, the needs of the city will change.

      • Oh you mean the politics in DC will finally stop ripping off poor people? Between The United House of Prayer for All People, and other Churches, DC gov loves keeping poor people poor.

  • Let’s just imagine it was 5-10 years ago when this was actually true and people were moving into these locations which were severely depressed, and riddled with crime. Then yes, it is time to talk about how lucky people were to live in these areas that found their houses property value sky rocket.

    But you may ask, what about renters, or as I like to know them, people who dont care about their property nor maintain it. You are right, these people, who have no claim to the property which their landlord owns, were probably forced to move away. Life isn’t fair. And from the looks of it, those renters were not taking care of their property as they should have and these areas have rapidly changed, even over the past 7 years I lived in DC.

    Let’s move even further back to the great escape of the 50s, where those making money decided to move out to the suburbs. No one complained then about the availability of housing allowing those with less money a quick means of entering the city. It’s the ebb and flow of society. You either deal with it or benefit from it.

    • Wow, you have a rather negative view of renters even though I assume you were one at some point in your life, too. First, I care about the unit I rent, so much so that my landlords have rewarded me by not raising my rent in 8 years. Second, the owners of a property are responsible for overall maintenance the buildings and grounds, not the tenants. Do you really think tenants are responsible for replacing broken porches and roofs? Plenty of places, like NYC, have more protective rent control laws that would have greatly benefited many people in DC who live in small apartment buildings. It’s also common in many places for people to rent their entire lives, like my grandparents in Chicago.

      • LOL. Landlord rewards you. Oh okay. Please give me the same drugs you are taking because business is business. If a landlord is actually smart about what they are doing they will keep prices competitive with the local environment.

        As far as renters not taking care of buildings… this is just basic truth. Renters have no vested interest in property. Most will not do basic maintenance unless its in the contract — and even then its rare. I am too lazy to search google for the difference between property owners and renters — but for some reason i bet i could hit the im feeling lucky button and find a representative study on this topic. Now building maintenance is under the landlord to fix, and if they dont — you can always break contract and move since they themselves failed their end of the contract. People are so quick to place blame, when honestly sometimes the best solution is to just leave.

        If you want to rent, expect to not have as many rights as owning. And as such, you cant be butthurt when your rent goes up because your landlord wants to make some cash. Source: I rented most of my life.

        • “If a landlord is actually smart about what they are doing they will keep prices competitive with the local environment.” For a big building this might be the case, but for a landlord renting out a single condo unit or basement (ESPECIALLY a basement, if the landlord lives upstairs), it’s worth sacrificing some additional profit to hold on to a good tenant. It also eliminates the worry of having a vacancy period between tenants, and the hassle of having to show the unit to potential renters.

          • Exactly, textdoc. I rent from an owner in a new condo building in U street who has explicitly stated that they want to keep me as a tenant so they don’t raise my rent. Nust, I have a vested interest in keeping the place I live in good fashion for my own benefit and the owner does his due diligence once a year to make sure everything looks fine. I don’t have as many rights as the owner but neither do I have the same responsibilities. The plumbing breaks, call the owner, there’s a leak from the upstairs resident, call the owner, etc. Most of the buildings you criticize have been long neglected by the owners when the owners suddenly increase the rent without addressing any of the deferred maintenance. And moving costs can be insurmountable for people who are living paycheck to paycheck.

    • nust – You should also read some history books about “the great escape of the 50s”, which incidentally coincided with the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Era, with more Blacks challenging restrictive easements that historically forbade them from living in many of the neighborhoods throughout D.C. But if you were to read a book, you would learn that, whether it was rent or to purchase a home, most of the Blacks who moved into D.C. during that time paid sometimes 500% the value of the property they were renting or buying because the people in power, who acted as their agents in the transactions, charged them more because they took advantaged of this group’s desire to obtain the American Dream and or flee the lynch-filled South was worth the struggle that went with these exorbitant living expenses. Similarly, the same thing happened, to a certain extent, to many European immigrants, who were also taken advantage of in similar situations. So yeah, that bargain of paying ‘less money’ did not happen.

      • thanks for explaining the first wave to me, now explain why property was affordable in the 90s — I bet you I can trace it back to the 50s….

  • H street gentrification, because of its proximity to the Hill is still gentrification worth talking about. Without affordable housing near the Hill, the social sorting we see at the internship level (where wealthy parents subsidize work and networking) will only extend further up in the staffing of Congress. Sure, enterprising go getters can look for cheap rent in the boonies, but over time long commutes have a real cost in a profession where you’re expected to work long hours in the office before heading out to hash deals over late meals, build a network over drinks, and meet with constituents for early coffee the next morning to sort something out. H Street gentrification will be studied by historians wondering why the Hill never understood the rest of the country. It’s still worth discussing now.

    • I didn’t get the impression that H Street was full of congressional staffers prior to its gentrification.
      .
      What would “the boonies” be — Van Ness??

      • Um, no. Try Silver Spring, Takoma, or pretty much anywhere they can snag a cheap room. The affordable group houses that were a staple of DC interns for a few generations have largely evaporated as they were carved up into condos.

        • Most of the Hill staffers I knew 15+ years ago were already living in group houses in VA. No Hill staffers lived on H street back then. It was not considered a viable neighborhood for young “outsiders.”

          • Staffers never lived on H st. Maybe they might want to now because its “gentrifed” but you that wasnt the case several years ago.

          • Brookland was reasonably popular for the adventurous democrat in the early 2000s And even 15 years ago they were living on U st. But Capitol Hill and glover park/Georgetown were the mainstays of staffer living from the late 80s until 2008-2010.

            It’s anecdotal, but I think hill staffers, by and large, were better connected and came from more affluent families the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s than now. There are a lot of hill staffers now with a lower middle class/poor background now. It used to be your family had to be pretty well connected to get internships and staff assistant jobs. On the whole, Capitol Hill has become far more egalitarian.

    • I think the point is “enterprising go getters” If you want it, go get it.

  • You can’t have it both ways. It’s the law of supply and demand.

  • I had caucasian family living almost a century ago in DC neighborhoods, so my perspective tends to be a little longer.

    I think a lot of people locked in a view of “the real DC” based on pretty recent history, like 1960s on. But the city has always been influx going back to when the hilltop was an elites’ summer getaway.

    The core issue is that there’s a lot of people who don’t believe in markets, or have always been on the losing side of markets (sometimes due to very nefarious actions against them) so don’t support them, which is understandable. I have no delusions that I can afford to live where I grew up, but I don’t have that history.

    If these tags are just from suburban artists who moved here after college, well… that’s different.

  • To address the actual tagging art, street art itself has become gentrified in the District and NYC. These tags have the appearance of someone trying to cash in on the trend.

  • This must be from the generation who wants nice things but doesn’t want to work for them. Real estate is supply and demand. If you want safe, clean streets, good schools and myriad retail and restaurant options you’ve got to pay for them. Asking for one without the other is against the markets and will cost someone else to pay for your benefit. Gentrification isn’t white people pushing black people out. White people and gentrification are not this city’s problem.

    • “If you want safe, clean streets, good schools and myriad retail and restaurant options you’ve got to pay for them.” I would agree as far as “myriad retail and restaurant options” are concerned… but “safe, clean streets and good schools” ought to be for EVERYONE, not just for the monied.
      .
      It’s shameful how D.C. agencies often neglect the less wealthy wards… but meanwhile the roads in upper NW are pothole-free.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        I don’t disagree with your sentiment but I promise you and can personally attest to the fact that the roads in Upper NW are most definitely not Pothole-free. Side note: Potholepalooza is still in full gear – call, tweet, email when you see one!

        • OK, maybe “pothole-free” is an exaggeration… but wouldn’t you agree that streets in the wealthier parts of NW are generally in better condition than those in the less-wealthy parts of NW?

        • I was gonna say just this. My commute home often takes me through Wesley Heights and Spring Valley, and the toads are terrible. The single worst stretch I’ve seen in all my time in DC was on Rockwood Parkway, where the houses are $5 million plus – and many of them more than $10 million. It was so bad I stopped going that way.

      • My comment about good schools and safe streets was more pertaining to how some have proposed a moratorium on property tax rates in certain parts of the city. Taxes pay for services that we all use throughout the city (police and teachers) and abating taxes in some areas would mean other areas would have to pay more or budgets would need to be cut.

        I beg you to drive on 18th street in the west end between K and L and tell me that the streets are pothole free–it’s like a third world country in most of this city.

    • justinbc

      Look, I’m no lover of millennials, but at some point you have to drop this “doesn’t want to work” mindset about them. They are the most overworked (in terms of hours) and underpaid of any generation in recent history. The percentage of millennials who have or are working unpaid internships is staggering. And this is such an incredibly competitive city that without biting the bullet on things like that it’s very hard to have a fighting chance.

      • I agree that all work, including internships should be paid at a living wage. But the problem of unpaid internships has existed in DC for a long time. It’s worse now, but “in my day,” I knew countless people who waitressed at night or had other jobs in order to work unpaid or underpaid internships during the day, and I knew still more who were “parent-funded,” which was much more the norm. Internships in DC have always been easier for the rich. Millennials aren’t suffering some new state of affairs, but I’m glad they’re talking about it.

        • justinbc

          I didn’t say it was a new concept, but as a percentage they’re getting stuck with them significantly more than any other generation prior. And that’s not just a DC thing, it’s everywhere. The concept of a rich mom/dad paying for them to life a lifestyle is nice, we all know someone who fits into that category, but it’s definitely not the majority.

        • An unpaid internship that pays a living wage is a job. An entry-level job, perhaps, but still a job.

          • By definition, an unpaid internship does not pay a living wage, It pays nothing.

          • That’s my point. Internships are jobs, and employers have been able to evade the wage-hour laws for years by claiming they are not. If you’re doing work that otherwise someone would be paid to do, you have a job, and should be paid for your work. I just don’t cry specifically for millennials who just woke up and think the unjust system is happening only to them. Because they’re annoying. But we’re all in this together.

    • Seriously? “The generation who wants nice things but doesn’t want to work for them”? What a cheap, nasty, uninformed comment. Millennials could just as easily respond that your comment sounds like something from the generation that benefitted from a massive real estate windfall, convinced themselves it was due to “hard work,” pulled up the ladder behind them, and continues to steal money from future generations. Give them a break and drop the condescension, as if previous generations were any better. They’re doing the best they can with the circumstances they’ve been stuck with.

      • +1000 to
        “sounds like something from the generation that benefitted from a massive real estate windfall, convinced themselves it was due to “hard work,””

        And would add “and were able to entirely pay for college “by working part-time,” which is just not how it worked for anyone who attended college even semi-recently. Student loan debt is a real, crushing problem for many millenials that their parents’ generation didn’t experience in the same way.

      • LOL can we purge the pensioners who ruined the economy for us younger folk and revoke the money WE are footing for their retirement and social security payments back into improving services for the young that can benefit from them?

  • justinbc

    Cities change, for better or worse. Areas that were desirable lose that over time, and other new areas flourish. The only way to ensure you aren’t “forced” to move is to buy property where you want to live, and even then it’s not a guarantee. I haven’t read through the other comments yet, but I’m sure someone will (if they haven’t already) bring up the housing policy discrimination of decades ago and how that’s trickled down through various generations. Anyone would be silly to deny that’s a contributing factor, but at some point some personal responsibility has to come into play too. There’s no shortage of success stories in this city, so many in fact that they really shouldn’t even be called that and just called reality for those who put in effort. I do have to laugh at the fact that the people who started a hashtag called “I will not be moved” have in fact moved, from one area in the process of gentrifying to an area which is undoubtedly the capital of gentrification in the city.

  • Suburban white kids make such cool anti-gentrification graffiti. Oh, and #yesyouwillbemovedDC. Sorry. I haven’t seen any different but I’m open to ideas, like how graffiti is going to impact gentrification.

  • h st is fools gold in a lot of ways. most of the restaurants/bars arent doing too well, summer time will help but cant sustain just with summer sales. the amount of apts they are building is insane, there are already tons of vacancies in some of the newer buildings, but they continue to build more…who’s moving there?? the price of homes is ugly, close to a mil, for what? its greed. sadly, as long as 8th and H continues to be the bus transfer point with all the SE residents, the neighborhood wont change much. I like h st, cuz i dont feel threatened and there are a few nice spots that are in walking distance, but for someone who is scared, good luck getting grandma and her 3 grandsons out of the house theyve owned for decades and plan to raise future generations in..good luck

    • justinbc

      “most of the restaurants arent doing too well”
      What on Earth are you basing this on? Just your gut feeling? There are so many places on H Street that have been in place for 5-10 years already, you think now that more affluent people are moving in they’re somehow losing money? The only places I can imagine doing poorly are the awful carry-out bullet-proof stores that have capitalized off of shitty food for years who are now losing market demand for their product as better businesses move in. As for “forcing” grandma out, that’s not how it works. Grandma typically dies, and her kids who’ve lived for free off her for decades now see a cash buyout for $500K or more and jump on it. That is how gentrification happens.

      • sallys middle name or whatever it is, has been turned over about 3 times, danny todds has closed, driftwood was something else before, the mexican spot on 7th was something else before, bens chili bowl, hst country club, khans grill, smith commons are damn near empty any time u go by. the only spots u could really say are thriving are &pizza, taylors, giant (lol). there are tons of vacancies in the apt buildings on 3rd, senate square, above the giant, behind the giant, across from the giant, so building more on 6th st makes sense? not to mention u have a streetcar that adds no value, there are buses every 5 mins up and down h st, who will PAY for the streetcar from 3rd to 5th, or 8th to 12th???

        • justinbc

          The ownership behind Sally’s is completely different than the cheap concepts that previous owners (Taylor) were trying to put on people, and now they’re thriving. Danny Todd’s is another shitty carryout place, just without the bullet-proof glass, so no surprise there. Driftwood’s former tenant was TruOrleans, which miraculously stayed in business for 2.5 years despite its owner being one of the most heavily accused tax evaders in the city. Khan’s I will give you, I’ve never seen more than a dozen people in that huge space, and they just leave up their “H Street Festival” banner throughout the whole year, it’s embarrassing. The majority of failures I see on H Street are due to poor management or poor concepts, not a result of market failure. Crappy businesses rarely last anywhere in the city with high overhead for long. Listing H Street CC and Smith Commons though, businesses which have been around for a long time (comparatively) doesn’t help to prove your point. They’re clearly doing well enough to stay in business, and will only continue to do so as more people come along with the new buildings. You would be amazed what a Whole Foods anchor will do for vacancy numbers. The streetcar is a joke though, although that’s an entirely different issue. If they were to ever actually go through with the entire plan to extend it to Georgetown it would have immense value, however their repeated failures with just that small stretch make it unlikely they’ll ever pursue the full cross town length.

      • ‘Grandma typically dies, and her kids who’ve lived for free off her for decades now see a cash buyout for $500K or more and jump on it. That is how gentrification happens.’

        This is how it *typically* happens? That’s pretty absolute, “What on Earth are you basing this on? Just your gut feeling?”

        You painted “Grandma’s” kids as freeloaders. Hypothetical grandma’s kids could not have gone to college and moved on to other areas due to careers with the family opting to sell the family home to fund education for future generations, retirement or to help fund home purchases in other cities?

        Most of the senior homeowners I have encountered have lived alone. (I bet the numbers would back my assumption that many long term DC senior homeowner live alone.) If they are like my former neighbor they may get picked up for weekly church service but have little other social activity. Long term they either move to assisted living, nursing home, move in with family or pass away with the house being sold. Those houses with the freeloaders do exist and everyone notices that house because of the extra cars, hanging out and rowdy sometimes criminal (no sugarcoating) behavior. This freeloader house stands out and most neighbors are counting down until they move on, but I think people are less likely to notice the many quiet seniors living alone.

        I suppose my wife and I were technically gentrifiers but I feel like we are first wave gentrifiers. We were fresh out of school looking for a place to live not necessarily an investment. We moved to NE, met our neighbors organically, worked on our place, kept up the yard up etc. We picked up groceries for the my senior neighbor who lived alone next door until her son moved in to be caregiver. We of course wanted to make a solid investment but we were not focused on our property appreciating double-digit percentage points year-over-year. The next wave gentrifiers roll in and it **feels** like they don’t get to know their neighbors and immediately want to remove and replace things (if not the people.) My goal was to move in and help improve things and be a good neighbor. Their goal is to move into a cool diverse neighborhood where the original residents (of color) are a cool backdrop for their hip urban lifestyle.

        Residential integration never really happened redlining white flight etc. prevented it. Gentrification, for better or worse, has brought with it residential integration, integration is not easy. Gentrifiers tend to be younger and maybe a little aloof the longtime residents are older, a little more rigid, you add in race and class it is not that surprising that there is sometimes tension. I tend to be an optimist and I believe after the tension dies down people can just be people and get along…

        • Anonymous — You and your wife were able to buy a place when you were “fresh out of school”??

          • Yep – before Woodridge was ‘hot’ we bought a house after we left apartment in Columbia Heights. At that time there were incentives to buy in areas that were not hot. There has been gentrification in many cities I think the pace in DC has set it apart.

    • I do agree with part of your fools gold statement. H St has had numerous places already close quickly. I think part of the excitement was the insane amount of money the city threw into the area with streetscaping and the beloved streetcar but the reality is that it is disconnected transit and otherwise (I know some will argue). The proximity to Anacostia will only continue to position it as an easy crime target to escape quickly across the river. The only positive IMO is its proximity to Capitol Hill outside of that it is isolated and overpriced.

      • justinbc

        It’s about to be sandwiched in between massive growth at Union Market / Gallaudet, and continued expansion near Barrack’s Row, along with half a dozen condo / apartment buildings under construction on H Street itself. I would love to know which businesses people have in mind when they refer to all these places “closing quickly”, because the only ones that come to mind were total crap to begin with. A couple vape shops and a sports bar that’s seemingly never open anyway aren’t indicative of an epidemic.

  • In general I think gentrification has had a positive effect on D.C., but some of the rejoicing in this thread is distasteful.
    .
    It’s one thing to acknowledge that supply and demand influence prices, or that life isn’t fair… but the sentiment of “This is how things happen… HAHA!” or “This is how things happen, so f*** you” is unbecoming.

    • I agree. And the people who act like it’s so simple with “if you don’t want to be pushed out, just buy property!” Ugh, that is out of reach for a lot of people. I feel very fortunate we were able to buy our house. I also like that my street is a mix of residents.

    • Amen to this. The lack of empathy from a lot of people who have benefitted from better life circumstances and opportunities is depressing.

    • Amen! There still needs to be a place in DC for lower and middle income people. period. And having been born into a lower income (that later became middle income) family, the ridiculous stereotypes some of you associate to people who just happen to have been born poorer are just insane. Having less loot does not necessarily equate to being a thug, criminal, despot, or frequent litterer. In fact it may means that you may have to work even harder to learn about opportunities that would benefit you and your family, whether it be social, educational or economical). In my opinion, it would be to the benefit of many to retain some income diversity in these neighborhoods so that those who have historically been a lil more well off can better understand how other people struggle to obtain and maintain many of the things that some of you take for granted.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Agreed completely.

    • Agreed! People seem to forget that not everyone is able to save and buy for various reasons that most of us have probably never experienced. And people who work at Whole Foods or Taylor need a place to live, too. How can they save money if now they need to pay twice as much for transport to their jobs in DC?

  • Can we have a rule that no one who has lived in a place less than, say, 12 years, is allowed to complain about “gentrification”? And I include myself in that. If you moved to H street in 2011 you’re not a non-gentrifier. Oh yeah, if you left DC years ago for the burbs you’re not allowed to throw shade on “newcomers” either. God, people.

  • Gentrification is a good thing, on the whole.

    Its dumb and myopic to look at gentrification as the cause of the problems of the urban poor and displaced. Gentrification is a symptom of an improving local economy and the displacement is a symptom of the fact that in America, a rising tide might lift all boats, but it lifts the bigger boats further. Dont blame me for moving into a neighborhood many can no longer afford. Blame the shitty school systems that created achievement gaps, or the justice system that incarcerates for crimes that arent a danger to society, or even blame drugs and alcohol and all the substances that people get addicted to and then cant get ahead. Blame society for allowing one set of people to be left behind and a cycle of poverty that has existed for centuries and for nearly all is impossible to break out of, unless you are lucky.

    There are a ton of problems in this city and country and upwardly mobile people buying houses in close-in neighborhoods isnt one of them. Its too bad we dont have a city leadership well-equipped to take advantage of huge boon to the tax base, large numbers of newly engaged parents, and the other potential that exists in this new population.

    • I blame the white people that developed a system of free labor to build a country and industries which only benefited them, that actively and successfully sought to thwart the system of reconstruction that would have allowed freed slaves to enter american society as equals, that enacted Jim Crow laws as a form of domestic terrorism to maintain the socioeconomic inferiority of african americans, that once the civil rights era occurred, conspired with private enterprise and local governments to create a system of redlining preventing african americans from intermingling with a higher tax base and by extension better quality schools and public services, and lastly the continued segregation of lower income people from quality public services that has created generations of poverty that is heartbreakingly difficult to escape all the while criticizing people for living in the conditions that were created through years of subversive policy and social practices. I am a descendant of both sides of that equation, so by self-assessment i find myself uniquely qualified to speak about it.

  • Using the dictionary definition, gentrification is “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents”

    It has nothing to do with being white, unless those whites are middle-class and affluent moving into poor neighborhoods. But some blacks are gentrifiers in DC too, particularly in Congress Heights and Anacostia.

    So yes, H Street is gentrified and yes, Ben’s is a manifestation of that.

    • As I was saying above… in D.C., race tends to be a proxy for socioeconomic status.
      .
      So _technically_ gentrification has nothing to do with race, but the reality is that in general, it ends up being that way.

  • General Grant Circle

    All of you out! DC belongs to the birdssss

  • Gentrification creates problems too. The high cost of denser urban neighborhoods has pushed lower-income renters to the fringes of suburbia. As a result, they face much longer commute times where they need a car for transport OR make multiple bus/train transfers. These commutes can be least one-two hours in length–not to mention the added anxiety level of gridlocked roads and road-rage tempers. Meanwhile, the six-figure professional travels a couple of Metro stops from his office and walks 50 steps to the front door of his residence after exiting the Metro station.

    Since when does convenient access to public transportation become a privilege for the 10 percent economic class? The working poor should not have to rely on clunkers to get from Point A to B. If the car needs mechanical repair then someone might lose their job. Serious stuff.

    And there is an environmental factor here. Think about all of those vehicles moving slowly on 270, 95 and 66 everyday between DC and the suburbs. That’s a sh#t ton of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. The Earth is getting hotter by the year and more regions of the world are suffering severe drought or flooding episodes. People driving 40 or 50 miles to get to the office each morning will make life hell for developing world nations.

    Anyway, access to public transit is a major quality of life issue for many people. The working poor deserve as much as access to walkable neighborhoods as the six-figured professional.

    Last random thought: gentrification is not a result of pure “market economics”. Gentrification is collusion between real estate development interests and local governments–plain and simple. Gentrification was not an accident of history. Powerful interests had to manufacture an urban-migration trend through an extensive public relations campaign. It worked because young, educated white people bought the message.

    • justinbc

      It’s frankly ridiculous to blame something like global warming on gentrification. If you have any given house / condo / apt in an urban neighborhood then you’re assuming SOMEONE will be living in it. Who that person is, what they make in income, etc, is completely irrelevant to carbon footprint. If the poor guy was living there and walking to work then the rich guy would be in the suburbs and driving (you act as if this doesn’t happen already in McLean, Leesburg, Vienna, etc other McMansion neighborhoods). It’s just displacement of one car on the road with another. If you want to assign blame to something assign it to the absurd height restrictions this city has that prevent a denser urban core. You’re right that poor people shouldn’t be inherently forced to have a longer commute, but it’s not currently profitable for developers to build low income housing vs fancy condos. due to the height and FAR restrictions.

      • I don’t think the poster above intended to blame global warming in gentrification. That just seemed like some random tangent. (Giving them the benefit of doubt.)

    • “Powerful interests had to manufacture an urban-migration trend through an extensive public relations campaign. ”
      .
      While I agree with most of your points, this is nonsense. Urbanization (and the subsequent related gentrification) is a result of macro economic shifts, ones that have been going on for quite some time now. The shift away from family farming and manufacturing jobs to those based on the “service economy” pushed folks to dense urban centers in search of those “service economy” jobs. As more and more people moved closer to these dense urban centers (aka cities), they created more and more traffic problems that forced many to rethink their priorities (big house with yard and a miserable commute vs. consolidated space and near proximity to most necessities/amenities). This wasn’t some grand master plan by the likes of Brookings, Heritage, et al.

    • You make 0 valid points and your ideas are based on conjecture and conspiracy. In an evidenced based world, you bring nothing to the table.

      I would be shocked if you are any older than 23. If you are, your education and professional development have failed you.

    • “Gentrification is collusion between real estate development interests and local governments–plain and simple.” There’s certainly collusion between members of the D.C. government and real estate development interests… but not quite in the way you describe. The collusion is more a matter of the D.C. government giving cushy deals to campaign donors, and the donor-developers getting to influence city policy.
      .
      Also, given how poorly many D.C. government agencies execute their responsibilities, I’m not sure that the D.C. government could do an effective job of secretly promoting gentrification even if it wanted to.

    • There are numerous walkable and inexpensive neighborhoods near Metro stations. Look at Deanwood for example – there are twelve houses currently on the market for less than $200,000 in close walking distance to the Deanwood metro station, such as 4921 Just St NE. So your entire thesis is demonstrably false. Now of course there’s the problem that Deanwood is extremely dangerous, and standing on the Deanwood metro platform has proven to be a fatal mistake for at least two people in the past couple of weeks. So tell me, whose fault is that? Also, Deanwood’s schools are terrible – Burrville Elementary gets a 2 out of 10 rating on greatschools, despite DC spending more per pupil on education than any state except Alaska. Again, what’s driving this issue? Certainly isn’t the wealthy people moving in to the rest of the city and providing the tax base to afford extremely generous social services and an expensive education budget.

      • EXACTLY! This isn’t about access or convenience. It’s about people wanting to live in a nice neighborhood without having to pay for the niceties. The thing about nice things is they tend to be more expensive. DC leaders pander to poor blacks with the narrative that rich white people are the problem. The problem in DC is people spend so much time looking for someone else to be the cause of their own problems (gentrifiers, police, etc) instead of looking at their own actions. Vote for better community leaders, go to school and study hard, don’t do drugs or be a criminal–these are far better ways to improve your life than blaming someone else who, frankly, doesn’t deserve the blame. Yes, the system is harder for POC, no doubt, but you won’t get any sympathy for losing the game if you don’t play by the rules. Racism isn’t the cause of every problem.

        • 5412 Brenner Road in Capital Heights is currently on the market for $75,000 and is four blocks from the Metro. 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, single family, yard. People complaining that there is no affordable housing near Metro stations are completely and totally wrong. What’s wrong with this location exactly? Why is it undesirable?

        • While you’re right that it’s about people wanting to live in a central location and not pay the what the market dictates, you are however wrong about pandering to poor blacks. Poor blacks, especially those who owned homes, have been displaced en masse through excessive property tax increases over the years. And yes, that is enough reason to not only blame gentrifiers, but the DC Government.

          So in practice, DC leaders pander much more to yuppies by pretending there’s an “affordable housing” problem and “housing shortage.” They use these as justification to upzone in central locations, make building code exceptions for developers and flippers, and basically give away city-owned property on prime real estate to developers who promise just a smidgen of “affordable housing.” And don’t forget the first-time home buyer program which helps middle class singles obtain homes they normally wouldn’t be able to afford without coming up with a huge downpayment.

      • I too agree there is a need for empathy for the displaced, but I think the constant cry of “wolf/gentrification” is wearing on people due to the more “obvious to the eye” positive aspects of safer more affluent amenities that follow gentrifiers. The exodus of renters, while I feel bad for their situation, I don’t believe there should be a reasonable expectation that renters will get to stay at their property in perpetuity. As a gentrifier millennial in NE, I am often at conflict with the ambivalence and high tolerance that my neighbors possess to watch people they have grown up with and their community be consumed by the sales of narcotics, illegal dirt bikes, and regular littering/vandalism. It’s hard to feel empathetic to the persons who are being displaced by gentrifiers when they have been sitting on the sidelines and watching their/our community decay. There is a fine line between laissez faire and negligence.

        Within my first year of home ownership, I have been fortunate financially and handy enough to make the improvements that I could. I painted the exterior of my house, replaced the landscaping in the front and back of my home, and planted a garden all with my own two hands. Whether it be for economic limitations, physical limitations, or ambivalence; the mere improvements in aesthetics made by gentrifiers cannot be overlooked as positive contributions to the overview of our community. As much as us millennials complain, we aren’t one to sit around and wait for the world to hand us things. We prefer to change our surroundings with better information, transparency, protests and not just words.

  • Reading the many comments, gentrification is a hot topic.

  • It’s more like economic discrimination couple with gentrification. Cost prohibited prevents those with less to established residence in a neighborhood geared toward promoting those who have the income to feast upon the those that have paid the price of enduring.

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