Alternet’s Larry Schwartz defines gentrification as “the process by which middle- and upper-middle-class populations move into formerly lower-income neighborhoods, attracted by cheaper housing (and fleeing expensive housing in more affluent areas), transforming the area, driving costs up and forcing lower-income residents out.”
“High-rise luxury condos,” “cocktail and coffee bars” and “artisan pastry shops” are cited as signs that gentrification may be responsible for a neighborhood’s shifting identity; something that, according to the article, only affects one out of 10 cities.
Alternet reports that the African-American population surrounding Huston-Tillotson University fell 60 percent during the 10 years following 2000. Latino population declined by 33 percent. And the white population (wait for it) increased an astounding 442 percent. The area, which was reportedly once known as the “Negro District,” is now 40 percent white.
Schwartz says, “Rents in Austin are up by 7.5% year to year, averaging now around $1200 a month.” Again, not a huge surprise to Austin residents who are, in fact, writing a $1200 check every month.