152 Comment

  • The mural itself is a form of gentrification as the NoMa BID funded it and the artist replaced graffiti on the same wall. A muddled message at best.

    • I think another graffiti artist else spray-painted the gentrification message….and yes, a muddled message is the point.

    • NOMA BID did not fund this. It was part of Pow! Wow! D.C., a mural/street art festival. NOMA BID was a partner and helped PWDC secure some walls in NOMA by connecting then with developers. This particular wall is owned by WMATA/the city and they gave permission to paint. Also, all the artists in this wall were locals (this particular section was done by Jacob Eveland from Richmond – the others are all DC artists). Major point here – bringing amazing/interesting art to this city is a positive and can only serve to increase interest and tourism in the neighborgood and the city. Call me a gentrifier, but I’d rather we make this place prettier or more interesting. Look what ito done for parts of Philly, Bmore; and Richmond (currently having their own mural fest right now).

  • If it makes neighborhoods more safe, clean diverse(not just race) then yes keep it coming. Just like the media sensationalize cops on blacks shootings, they also make it gentrification about whites moving into predominantly minority/poorer neighborhoods. There are plenty of blacks that contribute to gentrification of neighborhoods.

  • Gentrification has nothing to do with black v white, and everything to do with supply v demand:. Consumer preferences have shifted away from the “big suburban house plus car” oriented-lifestyle to “a smaller place with walkability and shorter commute.” As a result, demand for housing in the city goes up, and so too does prices. As higher income residents move in, businesses that cater to them follow, and all of sudden it’s an even more attractive place to live, and demand goes up even more. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Cities get a ton more tax revenue to improve services and social programs. Long-time residents either cash out on their homes and make out like bandits, or stay and enjoy improved services and less crime. The city becomes *more* racially diverse. The only people that lose out are long-term renters, who have to move elsewhere. That sucks for them in the short term, but on the whole the positives far outweigh the negatives.

    Gentrification might manfiest itself along racial lines in DC and in other cities, but it again has nothing to do with race: See South Boston (Irish) and Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Polish) as two examples where race is irrelevant.

    • A well written response in the realities of the current situation in DC. I would add that unlike some areas renters are pushed farther outside the city limits due to the high rent even in suburbs.

      • Yes. They’re pushed much farther into the suburbs, where they don’t have access to public transportation that can get them to jobs.

        • Well, DC’s a bloody expensive place, and those renters are now facing the same issues everyone in the area has to deal with. There are a lot of middle and upper class families who have to live in places like Germantown, or leave the DC area altogether, because of the high cost of housing.

    • Great story, but just because you cite examples where race is irrelevant, doesn’t mean that race is irrelevant when speaking about gentrification.
      Please list the examples where race is relevant, and you will have a much longer list.
      I ride this trail regularly and I have no comment on this particular graffiti. In fact, I dreamed that early one morning, I discovered a banksy. I got rich and I moved out and then back into the hood.

    • “Long-time residents either cash out on their homes and make out like bandits, or stay and enjoy improved services and less crime”

      unless they are poor enough that they were never able to afford home ownership and continuing price escalation makes continuing to rent a nonviable option. Or maybe they can afford to stay but don’t give two s#@!s about barre studios, craft cocktails, or annoying white people and their favorite things.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        While this is inevitably true about some renters, there are some protections in place (limiting rent increases in DC). Honest question though, do rent increases impact section 8 recipients? Obviously, redevelopment of section 8 housing impacts those residents, but absent, redevelopment, how much does an areas “gentrification” actually impact recipients’ rent?

        • Rent control exempts a fair amount of housing. Big bldgs also get around it in a way by giving free months spread out over the lease term such that your actual monthly rent is high so even a (whatever the rent control limit is) increase is a huge jump.
          Section 8 vouchers may not cover all the rent, so yes an increase can easily impact those people.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Thanks. I wasn’t sure, but I thought Section 8 was entirely income-based, so it would seem that it wouldn’t change based on rent increases (i.e., the government would pick up the difference), but it sounds like it does.

          • There seems to be a few programs. Vouchers both tenant and program based in addition to pubic housing and adu units. Tenant vouchers are as you thought, but the rest don’t appear to be subsidized in the same way.
            Ultimately these programs are constantly waitlisted, so plenty of people who need the services are paying market prices as a result.

      • There are actually many affordable housing options close to the metro. Redfin lists many options under $200,000 to purchase. The problem is, these options are in super dangerous high crime areas with terrible schools. Rather than lamenting “gentrification” we should ask ourselves what the problem is with these areas. Hint: It’s not school funding.

        • “Super dangerous high crime areas with terrible schools” could also be applied to many of the areas that are beginning to transition. You move where you can afford, period.

        • I don’t know that I’d classify that as affordable.

          • Ok, well then there are 74 houses for sale under $100K within the DC city limits. For example, 5100 F street SE #9, for $50,000. The concept that there is no affordable housing in DC is complete fiction. The problem is, the affordable housing is in dangerous areas with terrible schools. Why are the areas dangerous and the schools terrible? Our local politicians would rather not deal with that question, instead preferring to force developers to hand out money to community groups and build studio apartments subsidized to the tune of $500,000 per unit.

          • you’d still need some established positive credit history, assets, documented employment, etc. Financing a $200K home might sound affordable and eminently doable to the PoP audience but it’s a major stretch for many working poor who struggle with a hand to mouth existence.

          • Aside from having a legitimate lending instrument you’d also need that home to assess for that value and not need major repairs to make it livable. You’re terribly dismissive of the barriers to housing for the working poor (and most do work, probably a lot harder than you for a lot less).

          • not sure what your point is, anon, but there is a commonly stated belief that “there is no affordable housing for sale in DC” when that’s absolutely false. There are areas that are extremely undesirable for homebuyers, but that’s a completely different issue.

          • “affordable” to whom?

          • The house on F street SE would be a roughly $230 monthly mortgage. If that’s more than your definition of affordable, you’re not being reasonable.

      • “or annoying white people and their favorite things.”
        Don’t be a racist dick.

        • How does that statement show a belief that one race is superior to another? That is the definition of racist after all.
          The dynamics at barre, soulcycle, and the new pricy cocktail bar lean heavily to white people joining a new neighborhood. Annoying or not; I have no idea, but these industries are catering to a certain demo.

      • “annoying white people and their favorite things”, really? Well if I write annoying black people and their favorite things will my post be deleted?

  • Love the cursive, much more charming and retro than some bullshit gentrified sans serif font.

  • justinbc

    What does it say at the bottom? Something about a trailer park?

  • Fret not. The MBT still has regular beatings, robberies and sexual assaults.

    • when the well-off are robbing and beating people on the MBT, then we’ll know it’s been truly gentrified.

  • Yes, I know many who pine for the days when gang beatings were a regular occurance on the MBT.

    • you should talk to more people. there’s a deeper thing at play when people lament gentrification.
      you may not agree, which is fine, but you clearly don’t understand, which is fixable.

      • I just fundamentally disagree with the premise that you have some god-given right to stay in the neighborhood where you rent/were raised/whatever. I can’t afford to buy in the neighborhood I used to rent in, and when rent went up I moved. I also would not be able to afford to live in the neighborhood where I grew up.
        That’s the market. Frankly if DC had more market friendly construction and zoning policies our neighborhoods would be a lot more dense and diverse.

        • like i said, you should talk to more people and maybe get to the root of an issue.

          you may never understand, but you ought to try, so, at the very least, you won’t sound so misinformed.

    • Were a regular occurrence? They still are.

  • come to grips people, of course gentrification is about white people moving in.

    you are rationalizing and being defensive to state otherwise.

    • And what’s wrong with that? No one is denying that in DC, gentrification is about white people moving in, but isn’t diversity a good thing?

    • what’s wrong with WP moving in ?

      • sandals and black socks

      • i don’t have a stance on right vs wrong. just seeing people say it’s not about race. when it is definitely about race.

        • Just because race is correlated doesn’t mean that race is the cause. Black people in DC tend to be poorer so they may be more displaced by gentrification but black, white, asian, middle eastern, and every other race are moving in. Just because white people are a majority of the general population and will likely be a greater percentage of the “gentrifiers” doesn’t mean it’s inherently about race. This is the most divided city I have ever lived in because everything (EVERYTHING) is made to be about race. Tackle the real issues that plague this city–the problem is not wealthy white people (well, except those in Congress).

        • General Grant Circle

          If by “white” you mean caucasian asian north african and middle eastern ………………..

  • I can’t imagine why anyone would want to gentrify near the MBT. Could it be because of the rampant violent crimes that happen nearly every week on the trail, often perpetrated by gangs of young people on innocent victims just for fun?

    NoMa BID shouldn’t be putting up murals, they should be installing security cameras.

  • I love it. Coincidentally, I was riding past there one day and thought, “Gee, this wall would look so much better if somebody were to paint a dead fox shooting out of a hollow log on it.”

  • I would like to drop my two cents in here, regarding gentrification. I find that these threads become very defensive and one sided real quick. They also over simplify the affects of gentrification, making it seem like those against it are simply against white people moving in to their neighborhoods and that there are nothing but positive results. I just want to inject some honesty from a young native who grew up in a mixed community. My home elementary school was Maury Elementary on Capitol Hill, if that puts where I’m from in perspective for you, a “good” neighborhood before gentrification and still is. My mom still owns her home there which she purchased for less than $100k. She has left to work in Saudi Arabia for a few years in order to meet the demands of her increasing homeowners tax. I pay affordable rent to my Dad. I am not anti-gentrifier, I am anti gentrifier attitude. It oozes out of most of you. I know because I’m typically mistaken for a black gentrifier, an assumed non-local. I proudly tell you, I graduated from a DC Public School! A diverse awesome one! I have diverse friends, mostly non-black… mostly gentrifier even. But the city is not better or worse because of gentrifiers, it is different. It is better for gentrifiers, the changes don’t represent local interest, they don’t impact locals in positive ways, and our neighbors reek of indifference instead of community. Or the community forms around us without including us. It is the attitude that bother me most, and a lot of us. Not the presence. Community involvement is so important. A simple hello while walking down the street during your morning and evening commute is a good start. And the elimination of that smug attitude would help tremendously.

    • Thanks for offering your perspective, caphillnative. I think you’re right, one of the most problematic things about gentrification is the attitude, the tendency for the “gentrifiers” to look down in a smug fashion on those whose neighborhoods they now invade. I think that positive things can come from gentrification, if done without the condescending “we-know-better-than-you” approach but rather a genuine interest in making a neighborhood more “neighborly.” One of the things that seems to further complicate all of this is the often-transient nature of many of D.C.’s inhabitants – a lot of people aren’t here for the long term and they don’t care about investing in the community around them, they just want what they want where and when they want it. This is highly problematic.

      • +1 to caphillnative and LBP on the importance of community involvement. I finally watched the documentary “City of Trees” (http://www.popville.com/2016/07/city-of-trees-dc/ ) on the last day it was on the PBS website, and it really spoke to the importance of _engaging_ with a community and gaining buy-in.
        It made me take a step back and take a look at myself, and whether I’ve always done as much community-engaging as I could’ve.

    • Yeah because all of the local residents that I encounter while walking through my neighborhood are all just happy go lucky – welcoming individuals. Walking down a side walk- and some don’t even have the decency to make a path for me to walk through, or the countless times I’ve said a greeting to only be ignored, or all the times when insults are yelled when I’m just walking by. So please let not speak about defensive and one sided- when the writing is on the wall. And I say this as a black male.

      • That is not against gentrifiers. I encounter street harassment everyday, and have for my entire life here in the city. I speak anyway. I speak whether they speak back or not, the “gentrifiers” barely say hi or excuse me as well. I have been protected many times by longstanding neighbors from other’s harassing me many times (I’m talking in new neighborhoods I live, not the one I grew up in). Its not personal, the city is full of a**holes who do not discriminate.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          When I first moved in, I stopped and introduced myself to all my surrounding neighbors when I would see them outside. I used to say hi to people (neighbors and strangers alike) as I walked past them as well, but since I experienced the same thing as anonymous, I stopped doing so, and just go about my business.

          What is better is clearly a matter of perspective, but lower crime rates, better schools, cleanliness, etc. typically outweigh individual preferences like yoga studio v. liquor store when I make a decision about whether a neighborhood is better.

        • is your use of gentrifiers code for “white” people? Because I am black, middle class and bought a home or two in a neighborhood that would be identified as a transitioning/gentrifying and so has several of my other black friends.

          • I said this in my original statement ” I know because I’m typically mistaken for a black gentrifier, an assumed non-local.”

        • Caphillnative — I think a lot of this phenomenon is different cultural habits… which is unfortunate, because it means that (often white) newcomers come across as snooty to (usually black) longtime residents.
          There was a good discussion of this a while back in RRRR:
          I think most gentrifiers don’t come from environments where one greets strangers. Some of them don’t realize that in their new neighborhoods, people _do_ greet strangers. So their failure to respond to others’ greetings — let alone initiate a greeting — comes across as really antisocial, and possibly racist.

          • I agree. Which is why the suggestion and impact of a hello is such a good starting point. When we talk about “meeting in the middle” this is a fair ask towards a first step towards that.

          • Yeah, this is a challenge for me because I grew up in inner-city Philadelphia. My parents are very friendly, but we were taught from an early age not to talk to strangers, and you just absorb stuff like “don’t make eye contact” “don’t engage other people, it’s safer that way, ” etc. When i moved to Western PA for college, and random people would wish me a “good morning!” in passing, it was soooo startling and it took me a very long time to stop being shocked and to say “hi” back. Then I moved to NYC and back to Philly, and continue to have difficulty knowing when to say “Hey!” and when to shut up, keep my head down, and plow through.

          • I think that’s a fair perspective LittleBlue. Honestly I tend to say Hello, or Hey, even more when scared. I would just encourage you to try to say it more than you have. It humanizes you and them, everyone involved cares a little more.

          • The inflection with which one says “hello” is very, very important and carries much more weight than one may think. An open, at-ease “hello” will be interpreted very differently from a rushed, perfunctory “hello”, regardless from whom it’s coming and for whom it’s intended.
            Dealing with people who are similar to oneself is difficult enough. Dealing with those perceived to be different from oneself makes it that much harder. But it’s important to keep trying, even if the obviously easier solution is to ignore the (communication) problem. We’re all people with our own internalized issues, but we’re still people. Reach out. Keep reaching out. That’s the only (long-term) solution.

      • I had the same experience, anonymous. Lived off of South Cap/M St SW for three years. The same people putting flyers on our doors to come to community meetings were the same people who would stare me down on the street for being new (and most likely for being white), ignore me when I said hello or made eye contact. There were a couple of long term residents who would always talk to me and it was a great experience, but this was not the norm. This attitude is not a one way street, caphillnative.

        • I never placed the responsibility of community completely in the hands of new(er) comers. I am proposing a manageable first step. Just because someone doesn’t say hi back doesn’t mean you stop speaking and it doesn’t mean they don’t hear you and it doesn’t make an impact. It also seems to be less work than finding reasons why you shouldn’t. I don’t understand how “Hello” is so controversial.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            “I don’t understand how “Hello” is so controversial.” Ask some of your “local” friends and get back to us.

          • Non-locals are more likely not to speak back to me than locals, do you see the divide?if we all folded our arms and retreated to our corners because of a non-response where would that leave us? I am in no way arguing that locals always speak. I am encouraging more of us to recognize the importance of it.

          • Do you give this same speech the locals you speak of? Or it is that you feel more comfortable/less speak up and tell gentifriers what they are NOT doing vs locals?

          • Eh, after about a year and a half I simply stopped trying. You know, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results and all. But I can’t say I’ve had a better experience in Dupont, either. No one makes eye contact, says hello, etc. It’s kind of sad, really.

          • @anonymous does the answer to this question impact whether you do it or not? would you believe I talk to everyone about community and pride myself on having good relationships with both sides, and listening and understanding the frustrations of both? probably not.

        • @DupontDC, that’s a totally understandable feeling. Imagine that those that don’t speak now arrived at that feeling before you, creating this cycle of indifference. Maybe you will try again one day? Maybe a committed hello to an indifferent receiver will spark a conversation or something more one day. This is a frustrating situation for all really. I’m just encouraging a little empathy here.

    • You draw a distinction between “gentrifiers” and “locals” and state that they don’t represent “local interest.” That’s utter nonsense. The people who live in Capitol Hill, all of them, my white recently-arrived self included, are “locals.”

      • I would argue if your longterm interest and community is not here than you are not a local. This city is transient, but those in and out by election cycles are also not locals. Most recently-arrived don’t even bother to change their licenses over.

        • I’ve been in DC for 13 years. I’ve owned a $1.5 million home in Capitol Hill for the last five years. That home represents my single greatest asset and so I am fiercely invested and involved in my community. I plan to remain here until I’m too old and decrepit to enjoy a walkable neighborhood and a house with steep flights of steps. And yet people like you continue to look at me and instantly asses at that I’m some sort of transient who you think deserves less voice in the community. Your arguments are without merit and your attitude continues the slow and steady hardening of my heart against the complaints of my less-affluent neighbors.

          • I really can’t tell if this is satire but your statement reads like your community involvement is protecting your financial investment in the community and less like you care about the community as a whole. Why bring wealth into your argument unless you think it gives you a greater status or stake in the neighborhood than your “less-affluent” neighbors?

          • I mentioned it because caphillnative argues that people like me are not sufficiently invested in our community to count as true “locals.” That our long term interest and community are, somehow, elsewhere, rather than in the city we have chosen to make our home. This is not true; I’m am deeply invested here.

            I agree with you that wealth and status (whether high or low) should not entitle any community member to more or less say in neighborhood affairs. We should all be regarded as neighbors and should be mutually engaged in trying to address our collective issues. Sadly, this is not the case and is not likely to change in the near future. I contend that caphillnative’s mindset is at least as big a contributor to that problem as is anyone failing to be sufficiently chatty with their neighbors.

          • Mentioning the value of your home illustrates the smugness that bothers me and other neighbors. My arguments do not decrease in merit simply because you say so., you only further my point. You also accuse me of being the type to accuse others of being a transient, even though I stated above that I am accused of being a transient as well. I am not in the business of accusing anyone of being a transient, I am encouraging ALL to stop acting like they are. You don’t come to DC, make it your home, and pretend you live on an island. Also you self described as “recently arrived”, I would argue that 13 years is not recently arrived, plenty of time to be part of your surrounding community.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I think you are being deliberately dense. The straightforward point was that what the newcomers bring is not always of clear value or benefit to those who were there before. We often talk about gentrification benefitting *places.* That’s great, but it is important to acknowledge (even if you do not care) that improving a place is different than improving the lives of the people who presently live in that place.

        • Dense? Not so. If you believe that caphillnative made a straightforward point, then you are the one giving his words a deliberate, and undeservedly, rosy reading.

          But after an endless parade of discussions such as this one–and after lovely community members with attitude’s like caphillnative got the Citizens for a Safe Capitol Hill group shut down in its infancy by slandering the progressive Democrat woman who used extensive social justice messaging when establishing the group as a Klansman–you’re right, I am rapidly ceasing to care about the complaints of the long-tenured lower-income neighbors in Capitol Hill. It’s incredibly sad. But I’ve only got so much time and attention and money to transform into power and influence within the community. And at the end of the day, with the way things have been trending, I fully intend to put my own self interest first.

          • “I fully intend to put my own self interest first.”
            Then your participation in this discussion is a waste of everyone’s time, including yours.

          • I think that my participation adds significant value, though more so for you than for me. Years from now, when you look back on the changes that are inexorably working their way through this and so many other cities, you’ll be able to recall the small role you played in shaping the attitudes of people like me. Best wishes and best of luck.

          • Whoa – I hadn’t heard of the situation with Citizens for a Safe Capitol Hill. Sounds like a great cover story for City Paper.

      • Heh. This is one of the interesting divides. In the (working-class) place where I grew up, you weren’t indisputably local unless you were born there. If you stayed 10, 15 years then okay, you were a local, but if you just moved in a few years ago? Nope. Better claim your hometown.

        No hate, just an observation.

        • 13 years, hoss. Still get treated like I’m an invasive species by several neighbors who exhibit caphillnative’s mindset.

          • So in response to “the presence of gentrifiers and non-locals doesn’t bother me the attitude of most do” you are implying that you have a bad attitude towards locals? Because those are the only issues I’ve stated. Building community is the only thing I’ve called for. Keep reading what you want tho.

          • That is utter word salad. I have no idea what you’re trying to communicate. Keep writing what you want tho.

    • Lumping people moving into new neighborhoods into one big bucket of smugness is not the best way to start a conversation my friend. Stereotypes can be useful to cope with something foreign but you are pushing it.

      There are idiots on both sides of the equation. Long-timers can be as stupid and close-minded as the newly arrived gentrifiers. DC has been changing for a while. The arrival of new people isn’t a July 2016 phenomenon. There is resistance to change coming from the people who have been living there and there needs to be a meeting point somewhere in the middle. Where and how ? that’s above my pay grade but i’m getting a bit tired of reading the same things over and over again. “Gentrifiers are evil, they disrupt our communities”… what communities ? the communities that keep on shooting each other in some parts of DC or real communities that manage to live together ?

      The point is I do not believe this is a problem of gentrifiers vs old school DC people. Gentrifiers look for a place to live within their budget first and foremost, they are not to blame if the schools in the neighborhood are crap, that’s the responsibility of the DC government which has been elected by whom ? A possible explanation for the issue is the status quo in DC politics with massive pandering left and right that has never managed to get things done to improve these neighborhoods before gentrifiers (a lot of white people in this group) decided to move back from the burbs into the city.

      Don’t mistake me. Some gentrifiers can be real d*** but everybody including the long term residents can also take a long hard look at who they elected to take care of their ward and how they are willing to accommodate for the changes happening in their backyard.

      • 1. You’re the defensiveness I speak of. The black on black crime argument is enough for any person of color to have a reason to stop listening to you. Its offensive. A victim of crime is most likely to be attacked by a perpetrator in their community and of the same race regardless of race so kill that argument forever, or solve white on white crime first.
        2. I am talking to a room full of “gentrifiers” here, to which I gave one piece of advice. Be open to listening to the community in which you live and be a part of it. Your black on black crime is the smugness I speak of. The long term locals aren’t here… so you should reach out to them and give them your message. Good luck.

        • My friend, you’re making so many assumptions to defend your point of view it’s fascinating how you can twist words to fit your agenda. I hope you don’t hurt yourself falling off your high horse you call “being the only true local in DC”.

          Good luck to you too. In the mean time, and without smugness, please keep changing DC one hello at a time. It’s maybe what this city needs.

        • @caphillnative, I don’t disagree with really any of the comments you’ve made here today. As a gentrifier in NE (Brentwood), my experience of employing a “hello,” a quick “how’s things,” or even a wave & a smile as I pass by on my bike; all yield the communal results you are prescribing. The difference I see is that I grew up in the South and lived in the Mid-West for a few years, and I’m not sure how many fellow southerners are gentrifying DC. Even though I’m the young & white scourge at the heart of gentrification, I love the communal sense of my neighborhood. I have signed for packages for my neighbors and they for me, asked how my newborn is doing, shared stories of their family history, and that of our neighborhood; and it is because of these things I became a first time home buyer in a changing area of NE.

          That being said, can you help me understand how my neighbors (mostly older African-Americans) can be so involved in our community (civic associations, church groups, etc) but still allow drug dealers to run their businesses without a threat of police being called every night? Is it because they know these kids and their families, and don’t want them to get in trouble? Is it because their calls to police fall on deaf ears? I’m asking because I as a “outsider” and first time homeowner, I’m not educated with that dynamic.

          I apologize if my lack of understanding how my neighbors could watch their community and our neighborhood decay into an open air drug market comes across as smug, but as a homeowner and Pappa Bear to my new cub, I’m trying to make my neighborhood safer, and I am hesitant to start making demands without doing my homework.

          • I think its a fair question and while I obviously don’t know why they won’t call the police or that they haven’t I could perhaps share a perspective that has not been considered. Black people have a natural distrust of the police (I am talking beyond and before the most recent events), we don’t want to call them for anything. Sometimes it causes US trouble and scrutiny. Our concerns and calls are often dismissed (I don’t know if you will believe the difference in response when a black voice calls and a white one). I would assume they are bothered by the drug dealers as much as you but police have been historically unresponsive or more trouble than its worth.

          • @pacerguy00 – you hit the nail on the head here. I also live in NE and cannot understand how old-timers can complain about new people not being neighborly enough for them, yet drug dealing and petty crime goes on with impunity and not a peep. And I get told that they are just kids having fun outside with their friends and they have lived here for years, so its ok? I just don’t get it….

          • Thanks @caphillnative. I really didn’t consider that perspective, so it does make sense why my neighbors wouldn’t be involving the police. On the whole, the polarizing nature of gentrification causes me some confusion with this perspective in mind.

            For arguments sake, if white’s are monopolizing the purchase of new homes in “up and coming” areas of DC; and they do not have that same relationship (mistrust) with law enforcement; and crime is being reduced or dissipating from these gentrifying neighborhoods; then shouldn’t gentrifiers be welcomed? I don’t mean to seem naive, but doesn’t a rising tide lift all ships? I can’t help but feel like my neighbors lack of action comes across as either empathy for these neighborhood criminals, or a general apathy and/or acceptance of a decaying neighborhood.

            I’m not saying starbucks and whole foods are the solution to that problem, but I personally can’t help but welcome the increased density, neighbors with different life experiences, and a diversifying “eco-system.” As a believer in the “broken windows” theory, from my view, all of the above tends to help increase the amount of eyes and ears; and a subsequent intolerance for scofflaws.

          • If you think about the history of changes in neighborhoods, it has very rarely resulted in people of color rising with the tide, it is usually to our dismissal. Much of our movement has been at the whims of white people. White flight, created the cities today. We bought homes where realtors/banks would show us homes, and then were removed from them when white people wanted them again. More police activity in our neighborhoods typically mean that even the innocent ones of us will be stopped and investigated for fitting some description or another (and you know that just because we are innocent doesn’t mean we are treated as such), it is just historically never good for us really.

          • “….it is usually to our dismissal.”
            ^^^ Light bulb just turned on

            It seems apparent, thanks to your insights, that the systemic impacts of both economic and bureaucratic suppression, brutality, and powerlessness equates to not only a general mistrust, but rather a fear of those in power. Thus good fences make good neighbors, the criminal element who don’t live by the rule of law, now free from the chains and fear of authority, operate the open air drug markets because they know no matter what they do, they are dismissed by those in power (whites) and are operating on borrowed time.

            So it would seem that gentrification is drawing more police/governmental attention, disrupts the lives and routines of the existing residents, and only furthers the cycle of dismissal and movement whims of whites. I think this is the point being missed my most commenters on here who are being smug and not validating that not only does a divide even exist, but that there are certain people in this country who have to live in a world where the only safe refuge from the will of others (those in power, majority white) is a community of crime and squalor.

    • @caphillnative. Not buying it, sorry. People are people. There will be some newcomers who are friendly, others who are smug or rude and condescending. Likewise, there are long-time residents who are warm and welcoming, others who are smug jerks who think that just because they’ve lived here longer they somehow should get an increased say in community decisions, and every shade in between.

      Look at your own statement: ” It is better for gentrifiers, the changes don’t represent local interest, they don’t impact locals in positive ways, and our neighbors reek of indifference instead of community.” The newcomers ARE the locals now. It’s their neighborhood as much as yours. And I’m sorry, most of the newcomers in my neighborhood (I’m one of them) are extremely involved in the community.

      • You’re not buying a perspective of a someone from here and impacted by the changes made? Tell me again how you’re involved in the community? Involvement starts with listening. “Not buying it” is an immediate dismissal of a valid and respectful opinion. How is that not smug? When I say involved, I mean involved with all those who live around you. Not creating systems and practices around them.

        • Well, I’m not buying it: you’re supplying anecdotal evidence, which should never be taken for gospel. @anon above is right: people are people.

          Look at your local ANC. Does every resident go to these meetings? No, of course they don’t Some do, some don’t. Some are invested in their immediate community, others aren’t. Not everyone sees it as their responsibility to “improve” their community. That doesn’t make them any better or any worse than the ones who do.

          As a Bloomingdale resident, I’ve seen long time residents who want nothing to do with the community, and I’ve seen new arrivals want to become involved immediately.

          Trying to label any group is absolutely a “smug” attitude in and of itself.

          • Correct, I am supplying anecdotal perspective as a person from a group not represented here very often, that was my entire reason for commenting. Is there no value in the people that are judged here providing that perspective? Or should they be only judged from a distance? To be clear, I am labeling the group of commenters on this blog regarding gentrification as smug, specifically. And we label groups all the times, particularly in this forum. I guess some have the privilege of being exempt from it.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            You comment here all the time caphillnative – you are a PoPville commenter. You are part of this blog, you are PoPville. I also agree that saying hello is a very powerful gesture and I too wish more folks did it.

          • Yep, after lurking for several years and deciding my voice was one that was need here 🙂

          • Prince Of Petworth

            And we will be better for it. Discussion is not always fun but I do hope it’s always constructive and the more viewpoints, personal experiences the better!

      • HaileUnlikely

        Most of them are extremely involved in the community? As in majority? As in more than half of them? I do not believe you. (Ignoring for the moment that “extremely involved” is extremely subjective)

        • Well for starts- when my neighborhood organizes weekend cleanups– Majority of the participants are what you would classify as new comers/gentrifiers want to clean up the neighborhood. Yet many of the locals still see that as a negative.

          • This is what happens in my neighborhood too. Out of 20 people who come out to clean up trash in streets, 3/4 are gentrifiers, and 1/4 are long time residents. And I can tell you its not the gentrifiers who throw liquor bottles and fast food trash in the street….

          • HaileUnlikely

            In my neighborhood, which has very few gentrifiers and is predominantly long-term residents, there is very little litter to begin with, but the little that we have is mainly deposited there by neither new residents nor old residents but rather from non-residents that just drive into my neighborhood to park there while patronizing businesses around the corner on Georgia Avenue.

        • @HaileUnlikely. I live in Ward 4, as I believe you do too. My point was that it was ridiculous to accuse newcomers of not being sufficiently involved in the community because, as a whole, they are actually quite involved, in various capacities (farmer’s market, school fundraising, crime, economic development, tutoring, etc.). Are some indifferent, yeah of course. But on the whole, homeowners tend to be more invested in the community than renters, if for no other reason than it impacts their bottom line.

          • Since when were we arguing renters and homeowners? All the “locals” I’m referring to are owners, their houses have simply been in their families forever.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Yes, I live in Ward 4. Not sure what difference that makes, but anyway, you are correct on that. I’ve lived in Ward 4 for 13 years, and in my current neighborhood for 3.5. I still consider myself a newcomer. All but one family on my block have owned their house for more than 20 years; at least 4 of them are the original owners (my block was built in the 1970s). Anyway, I didn’t mean to criticize or refute what you meant (whatever that was) I meant to refute what you said, i.e., that most newcomers were extremely involved.

      • Come on, let’s be real. For most gentrifiers the extent of their civic involvement starts and stops with paying their property tax bill. That’s about it.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          I think that goes for most residents, new and old. Most people are not actively involved in their communities unless they have something personal at stake.

        • that’s not really accurate at all.

        • Yeah, this is patently not true. In my neighborhood, the long time residents are the ones I see littering all the time and the “gentrifiers” are the ones out picking up trash.

          • Just to counter the anecdotal evidence. I not only pick up trash in my neighborhood currently (part of weekend chores growing up). I rinse all recyclables and flatten the boxes of others in the building so that the recycling cans stay efficient. I also drive a pure electric vehicle. My best friend started the recycling program at her DC non-profit agency and I am attempting to start one at my Virginia work place. My boyfriend was raised super green by a composting, rain water collecting mother (who has done it for decades) and picks up any trash he comes across in any neighborhood. All black. All local.

          • It is interesting to me that you brought race into this. I did not. Some of the gentrifiers in my neighborhood are black. A lot are non-white.

          • Both parts were important to me. BLACK + LOCAL. Race exists and matters. I won’t hide from the stereotype the local black folk aren’t environmentally friendly.

    • “But the city is not better or worse because of gentrifiers”
      Not sure about this. As the city has gentrified the murder rate has declined, it has become physically more attractive as buildings are restored, and the tax base has increased, which in turn has helped fund things like the renovation of numerous DC public schools. I’m included to believe this relationship is causal, and therefore I’m inclined to think gentrifiers/gentrification is a good thing and not merely different.

      • Renovation of school buildings did not fix the issues within them. Physical attractiveness does not impact the lives of long standing citizens. I don’t know if the murder rate decline is a direct attribute of gentrification, the crack epidemic was a big factor in the whole “murder capital” bit.

        • A city is a community. It’s about more than just businessses, properties, and homeowners. I’m not sure many people on this site share a sense of a broader community, nor do they necessarily want to. Community takes work. It also takes accepting that your neighbors may be suspicious of you from jump, and that as a newcomer, it’s largely on you to meet them where they’re at. That is, if you’re gonna negotiate community.

          Fight the good fight, caphillnative.

          • “I’m not sure many people on this site share a sense of a broader community, nor do they necessarily want to.”
            I have no idea how you are in any way positioned to assess that. Frankly, I think by gathering on this site people are expressing a sense of community, which is why they meet up for things like happy hours (which I personally have not participated in).

          • You can put the burden “to meet them where they’re at” on newcomers all you want, but it’s a two way street. where i came from, it was the current residents who brought cookies to the new residents, not the other way around.

          • You are not where you came from. The local practices may be different. If you judge your neighbors and their communities by not operating like yours, you are expecting them to meet you where you are at.

          • no, i am simply saying it’s a two way street. that was one example of something they can do to reach out, not an expectation. i know i’m not where i came from. do long time residents know that it’s not 1990 anymore?

          • how could they not? their entire world has changed. also, it being a two way street is something I agree with and have never argued against. If I am a neighbor in NE encountering new comers who never speak, and you are a neighbor in NW encountering long term locals who never speak, do we both stop? Or do we keep going in the hopes that people like us might cross paths?

        • “Renovation of school buildings did not fix the issues within them.”
          I never said they did. But children do get to attend school in a nicer environment, which is worth something by itself, as is living in a more attractive environment.
          Also note the number of people moving to DC, which I believe is a net gain of something like 100,000 over the past 10-15 years. These people are voting with their feet, and seem to believe the city is better and not just different.

          • Which lead me to say the city was better for gentrifiers in my original argument. The city being different was the personal perspective of a local.

        • what are the issues within them? It’s certainly not lack of funding. So what’s the issue?

          • Now that I am 12 years removed from participating in the DCPS system I am not an expert or have a strong perspective in this arena. I try not to divert from the current discussion or speak on things just for the sake of speaking on them.

    • thanks for sharing your perspective and experience!

    • Thank you caphillnative, that’s the prospective I’ve been searching for on the subject. Cap Hill was the first DC neighborhood I moved to. I loved the neighborhood, but strongly disliked the other residents. I’m used to being able to say hi to others, but this was the first time I had ever experienced my “hellos” being completely ignored. Once I had kids, that had completely changed (but the kids would always have to be with me to get a friendly response). Now I’m in Edgewood, most everyone says hello. I suppose it may depend on what type of person a neighborhood generally attracts.

  • It’s interesting hearing all these locals vs. gentrify stories. I have to say I had a very positive experience on my street with neighbors. I’ll never forget one of the first days after we bought the house, I was struggling carrying the huge 5 gallon paint bucket down the sidewalk. Two boys (prob between ages of 18-21) came up and asked me if I needed help. I said sure and they carried it up to my front porch. I said thank you so much and they responded: welcome to the neighborhood! I also had great relationships with my neighbors, including the elderly woman and her family that came around a lot. I always said hi to people while walking on other streets too. Usually they responded, sometimes they didn’t. Even when I was back in June doing some work on my house I encountered some people I had never seen before sitting out front and we had a short, casual conversation.

  • Good neighbors are good neighbors. Period.

    There is no doubt that long-term renters get pinched and often pushed out as neighborhoods change and prices rise dramatically. It’s impossible for any one of us to stop that free-market machine, so the best thing we can do is push our elected officials for smart housing policies and be good neighbors.

  • I’m from North East PA; a small town that had a huge energy boom. Some people made a lot of money, others got contaminated drinking water. It’s a much different place now. My poiny is things change for everyone. Se la vie. My advice to everyone is to do the things and make the decisions in your life so that your changes are a net positive.

  • How about emergency call boxes to go with the nice murals. That would actually be useful since gentrification has not made it very safe yet.

  • General Grant Circle

    I was born and raised in DC, honestly all the changes, from chinatown since the Verizon Center went in (believe it or not that used to not be a neighborhood you’d encourage visitors to go to!) to the rejuvenation of the city that has brought money away from Georgetown and downtown to areas like Brookland, Columbia Heights, and the Waterfront, I find very welcome. Does it suck to have to move each time the rent skyrockets as some neighborhood becomes hip (this has happened to me several times)? Yes. It does. But I accept that cost as worth having a derelict building become a bookstore, or see Harriet Tubman Elementary get astro-turf, or Martha’s Table get a brand new facility.

  • Gentrification is not a problem. It’s just change.

  • For what it’s worth, I bike by this every day and, as of yesterday, this message and the trailer park scrawl was painted over white. You could smell the fresh paint in the humid air.

  • Love that this question comes alongside a masturbating fox. It can’t be just me who sees this . . . ?

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