Gentrification and Displacement

Agreed. You hit it spot on. However, it is not just gay/bohemian culture that brings the masses to the gentrified areas. The main thing the gay/bohemian trailblazers provide is a low crime environment. Once the crime goes down and homes are getting restored, the initial group of mass followers flock in while the prices are still relatively low. Then the wealthier group comes later, after the neighborhood becomes hip. That is the general pattern.


On age I’ll defer to you, because I wasn’t born until ‘82. But I do know that parts of North Hills was built in the 70s, particularly the closer you get to Shelley. My parents had one of them. Quail Hollow for sure would have been a contemporary (mid-60s onwards). I don’t think any of those would have been able to match North Ridge lot sizes in the 70s though, so that is true. But even when North Raleigh moved north of Millbrook, NH the neighborhood never really went into decline. And certainly it’s original owners weren’t pushed out by gentrification. They either moved to Crosswinds or stayed and simply retired to Springmoor or Cardinal Living.

Even if this were an apples to apples comparison (spoiler: it’s not), where specifically is this happening? In which neighborhoods are long-standing white residents being pushed out due to an influx of affluent people of color?

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While I don’t doubt that your parents have a home from the 70s near Shelley, the reality is that the vast majority of the area from Shelley southward was well established when my family moved to Raleigh. In fact, much of North Hills proper was built out in the very early 60s. The spree of mansion building on Shelley is usually replacing homes that were built in the 50s, because the lots are large. The part of Shelley around North Hills Drive is certainly a younger collection of homes. Maybe that’s where your parents bought?
FWIW, when I talk about North Hills, I am not talking about the broader “North Hills”/Midtown area, I’m talking about the original North Hills neighborhood that’s immediately west of the former North Hills Mall, and up just north of Northbrook. The majority of that area north of North Hills proper, and up by Shelley isn’t North Hills in my book. That’s Chestnut Hills, and it’s even older. Maybe I’m too old school here and too literal?

It seems to simply be a difference in defining. I was always taught everything south of Millbrook from North Hills Dr to Six Forks was NH. As such our house on Lennox Place was squarely a NH house. It’s possible the realtors of that era were more concise than my parents were at the time, or how I think most people view it today.

I didn’t say that. I just said what if white people are getting displaced…by anyone. That isn’t racist. Also, if black people who have money are moving in, that also isn’t racist. I think gentrification can be a bad thing, it can also be a good thing, or both. Racism is always bad. I see this as a socioeconomic issue. I do understand the legacy of racism plays a part in some perceived injustice of gentrification. My point is just that if some crappy old houses filled with poorer white people got bulldozed to make way for new development, I’m just as happy or unhappy with that.


I am not suggesting that people moving into working class neighborhoods are racist, or that no one should move into working class neighborhoods. I am not someone who believes neighborhoods can ever remain frozen in time; I am instead an proponent of simply being aware of history and sensitive to it in our policy.

And in that context, ignoring the racial element of gentrification as it typically plays out is tone-deaf, considering the fact that race, wealth, zoning, and housing policy have all been intricately wound together in this country since its inception. I wrote a lengthy post about why this crucial to consider when we talk about gentrification, which was moved to this other thread.

I don’t think it’s really helpful to pontificate about “what-ifs.” What if wealthy black people were moving into working class white neighborhoods, thereby displacing them? I agree with you – that, surely, would be horrible. I’d probably call it gentrification. But it’s also a thought exercise that’s completely distinct from the actual history and reality of this country thanks to the centuries of discriminatory policy that created the very conditions that enable gentrification. (And, by the way – middle-class black people moving to white neighborhoods causes property values to decline, even if they make a similar income. Again, we cannot categorize this solely as an issue of economics.)


In a society where wealth, power, and race are one giant intertwined knot, it is impossible to disentangle a single thread. It’s easy to just say “well, that’s how things are,” without questioning why; once you see how pervasive racism is in explaining why the world is how it is, it’s impossible to un-see.

My favorite recent-ish piece about how that intertwined knot shaped & continues to shape real estate and cities:

It does happen, but again because of that giant intertwined knot it’s rare to find POC communities that are wealthier than native-born White neighbors. It’s certainly happened with well-off immigrants, whether South Asians arriving in Morrisville (0.4% Asian in 1990, 38% in 2018), Chinese arrivals in Silicon Valley or the San Gabriel Valley, or Cubans and Venezuelans in South Florida suburbs. Documented examples of Black gentrification have usually involved historically Black neighborhoods getting wealthier. What’s more common is Black suburbanization into areas like Knightdale (9% black in 1990, 40% in 2018) as such, but that change has occurred through population growth rather than displacement (which implies some degree of coercion/force), so the loss is not as acute.

I doubt crime actually changes much, but the (racist) perception of it definitely does.


My friend, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I don’t get my info from two bit rags that don’t tell the whole story, I lived it. I lived in a gentrified area for a few years in DC. The crime rate plummeted after the gentrification. Muggings, shootings, the whole crime deal went way down from what it was a few years earlier. Get that racist perception crap out of here. You don’t even know who moved in and who moved out of the neighborhoods I’m referring to.

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Your personal experience must be what happens every time. Definitely no possibility of different scenarios in different communities.


LOL! You are so very sure that you are the only human being who matters… meanwhile, what you didn’t know that I presently live in the District of Columbia. I went to “unsafe” Enloe and Ligon (back when it was bordered by the city’s most notorious housing project), and lived on the south and west sides of Chicago when the murder rate was 50% higher than it is today.

Even if there was a correlation, where’s your evidence of causation? Plenty of other things could’ve been going on, from the macro (falling national crime rates) to the micro (ongoing gang turf battles may have been winding down). Or is it because of my scent, since I (being both gay and an insufferable hipster) apparently can sashay away crime?

I don’t care where you live. Do not associate me or my posts with racism or perceived racism. You have no idea. I’m out of this discussion. Sorry Leo.


mmmhmm, I take it that’s a no for next week’s implicit-bias training webinar

In the meantime, please enjoy this video of Robert Comey quoting “Avenue Q”:

Yeah, let’s end this. Typically folks take it to DM at this point.


That’s an extremely crucial distinction to make, and would disqualify most of your examples from being classified as gentrification in the eyes of many.

Just as a quick FYI on a note made about long time residents being taxed unfairly out of their homes. You can avoid a tax increase if you are living on a fixed or low income and own a home that has increased significantly in value. The program adjusts your tax amount to a percentage of income and defers the balance until a qualifying event (being transfer of title, death, etc).


why isn’t this much push-back being thrown towards the new Billion-dollar development in Cary?

@Drew I think that from the perspective of people who are concerned about displacement, it is often informed by the knowledge that the demographic of areas like East Durham, Southeast Raleigh, and many downtown/downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, was a direct result of discriminatory government policy through most of the 20th century. I’ve written about this here.

Cary does not have a similar history that I am aware of, nor do most suburban areas that developed in the latter part of the 20th century. By comparison – and again, I’m speaking more to my own neighborhood in Durham rather than awareness of the particular history of this part of Raleigh – we have large parts of downtown-adjacent neighborhoods with residents that have lived there for decades, or even generations, despite longstanding discrimination and neglect by the city. To me, preventing displacement is always a worthy goal, but it is of particular importance in places where there has been such a long history of blatant injustice in the form of housing policy.

And I think as @evan.j.bost pointed out earlier, identity politics and discussions of power and privilege have penetrated public consciousness in recent years in ways they haven’t ever before. People are becoming really aware and concerned about these issues. I don’t see that changing any time soon.


Cary has done a very poor job reaching out to the two trailer home communities on either side of Maynard that are being impacted in a number of ways (i.e. they gotta go). They’ve known for years this would have a huge impact on those (mostly Latino) communities but have simply ignored the issue until it’s way past late. I’m all for progress, but this was just wrong by the Manager’s office and Council. Especially since they were using those communities to justify the transit ridership and spending along that corridor. Now those people won’t even get to use it.


Now here is the actual injustice and displacement. Where is One Wake on this?

I think the biggest problem with the whole woke revolution is that people have become so aware of these issues that they begin to find racism and injustice where is doesn’t exist or hasn’t occurred yet. I’m struggling to find the injustice in developing vacant land.

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In this particular case it is not just ‘vacant land’. This was land owned by the State. Along a proposed transit line, through communities that the town of Cary knew didn’t have much say and ignored it anyway because they only saw $ signs, just like they bent over backward just to get the IKEA and then fell flat on their face. If they’d put a tiny fraction of effort they did for that into engaging these mobile home communities it would have gone a long way. These people made that corridor a great foodie haven and cultural node that the town was happy to tout to outsiders, but then ignored the people that made that happen. It’s hardly ever just vacant land.