Gentrification and Displacement

I’m hoping to keep this thread a more data-driven thread on the trends we’re seeing around displacement and gentrification. (however you define it)

WakeUp Wake County has a post about the topic with some nice data work. (and map) Their key message includes: (emphasis mine)

Wake County communities certainly need to continue to address gentrification and displacement, and the results of our analysis by no means suggest otherwise. But while we continue to work toward a solution to resident displacement, we need to be mindful of the even more pervasive problem of concentrated poverty.


If I may, in order to keep this focused on data-drive trends, we need to be able to dispel gentrification as a bad thing. Gentrification has been happening for centuries, and it will continue to happen, because, at its basic form, its about the cycle of development in a city. Cities are not finite, static institutions, but rather, they ebb and flow with the rising tides of society.

The real problem is the economy and commerce-driven development, coupled with disadvantaged politics that are meant to keep the power in the hands of the few. Things like redlining, urban renewal, the housing crises of the last decade, and deregulation of banks have all lead to areas of concentrated poverty or communities ripe for takeover, tear down, and rebuilds.

No city is immune to this, but as New South cities continue to grow, this will become even more of an issue.

** Just wanted to see if that can set the stage for better understanding of these areas being discussed.


I think that NYCRDU raises a very good point. Could you please provide a few points of clarification for this thread?

This is a good place to start.

One thing to also note is whether this is about gentrification or affordable housing, and if those two are mutually exclusive of each other as two separate arguments. There’s no right or wrong answer.


It’s good to read this story again after it first came out last Spring.
Statistically, what’s interesting to me is that neighborhoods that grow economically diverse by becoming less “white” do so with those of similar means, while those that become more “white” do so with more economic disparity. The problem to be solved lies within that conundrum.

I used to drive up Person everyday for work and I hadn’t been by in a couple months. When I drove by yesterday, I noticed a lot of the little house and the convenience store have been boarded up now. Did someone by that entire block?

Come to tonights CAC and you will find out!

Edit: Also there is a vote on the 1208 S Blount rezoning

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These buildings. Are they talking about these or the vacant lot?

That’s what the first discussion (7:40) looks like since it goes down to Hoke. The second one (7:55) is the rezoning for the area directly adjacent to the north. Looks like the same developer for both blocks.

Interested to hear how the meeting went. All the buildings in the picture @Bryan posted above are currently boarded up. I’ve been in that store before, absolutely a tear down an no way was it all up to code. All that was available were cigarettes, soda, and chips. Good riddance, the neighborhood needs real food options. Hopefully whatever is proposed takes that into consideration.

I think the intent of this article is to stir up racial discord. If Shaquille O’Neal or Oprah Winfrey were to invest in an economically depressed neighborhood, (and they do) wouldn’t the economics be the same?


Completely agree with @CanesFan on the intent of the article. It tells a very one-sided and negative story. My wife and I (who are white) purchased a home in the South Park area because we wanted to live close to downtown, valued its diversity and don’t think someone’s value is determined by their income.

As residents in the area the article depicts a very different picture than our experience thus far. We have attended our neighbor’s 78th birthday party with her friends and family (in her home her daughter purchased over a decade ago) and cookouts some of our neighbors (who rent) host experiencing no issues due to our race, income or home purchase price. So to have someone who doesn’t live here write an article quoting one person saying “integration isn’t going well” is baffling because we haven’t experienced that at all.

Kia Baker has done a lot for Southeast Raleigh but her quote is surprising. She was able to purchase a home for $288,500 on a sole income in Knightdale which would have bought her a home in the neighborhood when she bought her home in 2018. The home we purchased was a new build for under $300k and we closed a few weeks after she closed on her home in Knightdale. Ms. Baker quoted as being upset makes little sense as she could have reinvested by purchasing a home in the area but she chose to live in Knightdale.

Also, most of the other people quoted as being upset are renting and do not own homes in the neighborhood. The homeowners in this area for the most part are happy with the change. When we have spoken with our neighbors that have seen South Park change over the years they view the change as a good thing. The higher property taxes being paid have improved the neighborhood and continue to drive reinvestment. The homeowners we have gotten to know that have decided to leave have done so because they can walk away with $100k+ profit which they never dreamed possible.

Our neighbor’s daughter (who is African American) just purchased her second home in the neighborhood this summer which was new construction for $240k. She purchased it through an income restricted program which also stipulated it had to be owner occupied, so there are programs to counter gentrification and provide more affordable housing in South Park. I am not saying it is perfect and more needs to be done to provide equal opportunity for all, but this article doesn’t provide the whole picture.

Affordable housing for renters in the South Park area is also a focus for the City of Raleigh. See South Park/ Garner Road section in the link provided:

Before I continue, could we make sure we're on the same page of what 'gentrification' is?

Now that we got that out of the way:

No, because in the end, they’re asking for protection from losing the roof over their heads. Some people will throw in problems about systemic racism into the conversation, but as long as you’re talking mainly about gentrification, you’re dealing with a housing problem. That’s always been the case, and I don’t think it changes here, either.

Like I said in the hidden aside, most conversations on gentrification in America focus on neighborhoods with poorer residents of color. Because there’s a history of segregation that already exists in those areas (think eastern Raleigh or downtown Durham), developments that cater to richer people will also have a racial narrative to it.

But activists against gentrification aren’t always NIMBYs; some of them are asking for fair housing reform to balance against market forces to protect the poorer residents. Public housing, affordable housing requirements, TODs… those are not segregation tools, but they’re still in the scope of things people against gentrification want.

I’ve never met anyone with/read any convincing ideas that actually asks to keep racial segregation going (unless the writer is showing their anger and frustration more than genuinely talking about policy). If anything, those people are asking for balance. Equity. A chance for them to fend for themselves against forces that, today, seems out of their control.

“They” aren’t a national, organized conspiracy. You can just look at the author’s Twitter, for example, and just find out his biases for yourself…


Don’t entertain people who clearly don’t have open minds. Gentrification doesn’t integrate housing and never will, it only increases the pricing for houses and kicks African Americans out of their neighborhoods because rich people want to move into old historically black neighborhoods for what reason I can not find. That’s all I’m saying.

Not exactly correct. Usually gay and bohemian types are the gentrification trailblazers. At least that is how DC gentrification started in the 80’s and 90’s. A few years later, after establishing a gentrified foothold, others move in, including wealthy developers.


Also what if the people moving in are black. Or the people getting pushed out are white? I reject the notion that gentrification is inherently racist. Problematic in some circumstances, certainly.


The gay and bohemian types move in because things are cheap. They create little pockets of the kind of culture that more affluent people want to be near. The more affluent people move in and start pricing others out. Then the initial residents end up moving away, followed closely by the original gentrifiers. The cycle starts anew somewhere else.

It looks like the shopping malls and the really old suburbs of the cities, the ones nearest to town, are the newest places to become gentrified. Those industrial outskirts of towns, the post-war housing communities and the like.


It’s not the same thing, but 20 years ago, even North Hills was “gentrified”. I put that in quotes because it wasn’t exactly the same thing. BUT, it did become more expensive, with a quick escalation in prices that continues to differentiate it from other parts of north Raleigh.

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North Hills does indeed feel different. It was a chic address in the 70s, lost momentum during the land grab that was North Raleigh in the 80s, and then as North Raleigh consolidated in the 90s, North Hills rose with the value of land. Certainly the mall’s regeneration put an exclamation point on it, but the neighborhood never went into a downward spiral that usually precedes gentrification.

My family moved here in 74, and by then NH was already seeing its best days behind it. My family looked at houses there but my mom turned her nose up at them because they were older than the house we left in California. While we also looked at Brookhaven, Quail Hollow, Springdale, and Coachman’s Trail, we ended up in North Ridge in a new house. At that time, there were just too many new housing choices with gracious land to consider something that was “used” in North Hills. Also, at that time, traffic was’t a big deal so driving a few extra miles was a piece of cake.

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