Gentrification in the Nation's Capital

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Story by Nataleigh Jackson. Photo from The Washington Informer.

APR. 3, 2019: First, let’s start by defining gentrification. Gentrification happens when a run-down part of a city is renovated so that it can be improved. Once that happens, the low-income people who live within the renovated areas are forced to leave because they can’t afford to live there anymore. Only more affluent people can afford to live there and so the neighborhood becomes gentrified.

For Washington, DC to be the Nation’s Capital, you would think that this would be one of the most kept-up cities in the United States. Well if you have ever been to Southeast, Northeast, and some parts of Southwest, where low-income people live, you can see that these parts of DC are unkempt. I didn’t mention Northwest because that’s where the White House and the Capital are located, so of course, DC would look nice there.

 DC is now slowly trying to renovate many run-down neighborhoods. For example, Barry Farms a housing project located by Anacostia Station is getting torn down and is set to be rebuilt to have a more modern look. Just thinking about it, will Barry Farms become gentrified or has it already happened? According to DCist, “DC has the most gentrified neighborhoods in the country”.

Back in 2018, DC was being sued for “racist gentrification practices” according to Forbes Magazine. DC and its previous mayors have been accused of discrimination with its “Creative Economic Strategy” and “Creative Action Agenda.” During Mayor Vincent Gray’s term, he made a creative economic strategy that was supposed to provide 100,000 jobs with $1billion back in new tax revenues. But, many people thought the requirements to be able to get the positions were based on race, income, and age thought it felt more like an act of discrimination. This was also a violation of DC’s Human Rights Act, which is why Aristotle Theresa (a civil rights lawyer) has decided to sue DC.

 What are your thoughts on gentrification? Do you think it is hurting or bettering our community? What ways can we improve it? Leave your comments below!

 Nataleigh Jackson is a 10th grade scholar at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.