February 6, 2014

Gentrification’s Impact on a Neighborhood’s Original Residents

NPR recently reported on two studies suggesting gentrification might benefit a neighborhood’s original residents more than it harms them.  In the first study, Lance Freeman, director of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University, studied gentrification in Harlem and Clinton Hill and found gentrifying neighborhoods’ low-income residents remain in their apartments longer than low-income people in non-gentrifying neighborhoods.  While some renters may be pushed out, many stay and benefit from the new parks, safer streets, better schools, and job opportunities that gentrification brings. 

In the second study, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland investigated whether gentrified neighborhoods’ higher rents and property taxes adversely impact original residents’ financial health.  The study found that gentrification actually improves original residents’ financial health, as measured by credit score and delinquency rate, whether or not they are homeowners or renters.