“Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Central Harlem, LES/Chinatown And Bushwick Among NYC’s 15 Gentrifying Neighborhoods: Report”

May. 9, 2016 – Gothamist

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Fort Greene real estate listings in 2014 (Getty Images)

There are 15 NYC neighborhoods that are gentrifying, according to a new report from NYU’s Furman Center.

The report, State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods in 2015 (PDF), analyzes data from around the city and researched determined that “gentrifying” neighborhoods are the ones “that were relatively low-income in 1990 (among the bottom 40% in the city), but then experienced higher than median neighborhood rent growth in the following 20 years,” a press release explained.

Besides the 15 gentrifying neighborhoods, there are seven non-gentrifying neighborhoods (rent increases are less steep than in gentrifying areas); 33 other neighborhoods are considered “higher-income.”

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From the press release:

The authors then examine indicators of neighborhood change over time and compare them to changes in lower-income neighborhoods that did not gentrify (termed “non-gentrifying”), and neighborhoods that were among the top 60 percent with respect to income in 1990 (termed “higher-income”).”The term ‘gentrification’ is often used to describe a number of different aspects of neighborhood change. We wanted to create a definition that allowed us focus on dramatic rent growth, which is the change that is of greatest concern in lower-income neighborhoods.” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director of the NYU Furman Center.

The report also finds that many of the demographic shifts observed citywide through 2014 were more pronounced in the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods. The city as a whole became more educated and comprised of more single-person households and households with unrelated adults; and, all of these changes happened to a greater extent in the city’s 15 gentrifying neighborhoods than in non-gentrifying and higher-income neighborhoods.

Some other factoids:

[G]entrifying neighborhoods saw an increase in white population, despite a citywide decrease. Gentrifying neighborhoods also saw a larger decrease in the black population through 2014 than the city as a whole.

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Between 1990 and 2014, average household income in gentrifying neighborhoods rose by 14 percent. By contrast, average household income in non-gentrifying neighborhoods declined by 8 percent while average income remained steady in higher-income neighborhoods.

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Housing stock growth between 2000 and 2010 was most rapid in gentrifying neighborhoods. In these 15 neighborhoods, the number of housing units grew by 7.2 percent, as compared to just 4.5 percent in higher-income neighborhoods and 5.5 percent in non-gentrifying neighborhoods.

Ellen said, “As demand grows and neighborhoods become more economically and racially integrated, long-time residents may benefit from new neighborhood amenities, reduced crime rates, and higher housing values. However, rising rents threaten the long-run diversity of these communities.”

Crown Heights housing advocate Althea Watson told DNAinfo, “Landlords know their apartments are in demand. A landlord will split up apartments and pack [college kids] in like sardines. They can do it and get away with it because the kids are only there for a short time.” Watson said she wished many newcomers to the neighborhood would join the block associations, “For most of them, it’s like as soon as they get married, they find some place up in Westchester or [Long] Island… I hate to say it, but you need white people to get things done. I’ve noticed our block association is more powerful now than it was 10 years ago.”

As Spike Lee said during his infamous gentrification rant, “Why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? Why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park… The police weren’t around… When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.”

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