PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new study takes a look at gentrification and cultural displacement and lists Philadelphia as the nation’s fourth most rapidly gentrifying city.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) authored the study, which identified more than 1,000 neighborhoods in 935 cities and towns where gentrification occurred between 2000 and 2013.
“When we lose residents and small businesses that are really important to the neighborhood it changes the character of the community,” said Beth McConnell the policy director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporation.
Her essay, accompanies the study which listed Philadelphia as one of the seven cities that accounted for half of the nation’s gentrification and impacted more than 135,000 people, mostly lower income African-Americans and Hispanics.
“Philadelphia more than 23,000 affordable units over a 14 year period alone, and that trend is continuing,” McConnell said.
A section of South Philadelphia — from South Street to Washington, Broad to the River — is one example where 5,000 white residents moved in and 1,800 blacks moved out.
“Residents of color didn’t have a chance to stay and benefit from the changes that were happening in that neighborhood,” she said.
McConnell says while Philadelphia is quickly gentrifying, lawmakers are have implemented programs to help long-term homeowners cope with rising taxes, but the gap in protection is with renters.
One such example is to provide free lawyers to those facing eviction.