Gentrification — long a practical curse word on the left — may not be so bad after all, a once anti-gentrification professor at Columbia University found in a recent study.
On Wednesday, Lance Freeman, the director of the school’s Urban Planning program, told NPR that he was interested in studying levels of assumed displacement of longtime residents in newly gentrified neighborhoods, but found, “To my surprise, [my research] seemed to suggest that people in neighborhoods classified as gentrifying were moving less frequently.”
Reasons cited include increased safety, increased convenience and increased public recreation. Basically, the progressive idea that better neighborhoods means old residents move out is bunk. Even credit scores increased, NPR reports. And Freeman is not alone in his findings.
Gentrification “is actually beneficial to the financial health of the original residents,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland economist Daniel Hartley wrote in November. “From a financial perspective, it is better to be a resident of a low-price neighborhood that is gentrifying than one that is not. This is true whether residents of the gentrifying neighborhood own homes or do not and whether or not they move out of the neighborhood. This is interesting because one might expect renters to be hurt more by gentrification, and one might also be concerned that people who moved out of the neighborhood did so because they were financially strained.”
Freeman’s study began in Harlem, N.Y., but he expanded it nationally after his early findings.
On top of increased property values, safety, public recreation, restaurants and grocery options, gentrification will mean more listeners to NPR.