2017 LEX: SEATTLE
GENTRIFICATION & DISPLACEMENT
Researched & written by: Jane Beaman
Is it racist or economic? Is it good or bad? These questions are the source of fervent debate in universities, bars and coffee shops across the country. While the answers remain unclear, what is clear is gentrification and displacement are not going anywhere any time soon.
Seattle is among the top 5 most gentrified cities in the US. According to US Census Data, Seattle’s Central District has gone from being over 70% Black to less than 20% Black in just a few decades. In that same period, property values have more than quadrupled and incomes for Black families have continued to decline.
The benefits of gentrification are well known – property values increase, unoccupied houses are occupied and neighborhoods are restored. The consequences of gentrification, souring property taxes, loss of neighborhood shops and cultural staples, displacement and further decline into poverty are also fairly known and understood. What is less known is what can be done about it.
As Indianapolis’ civic and corporate leaders explore gentrification and displacement in Seattle’s Central District, a key question should be - can we have gentrification without displacement?