NCRC’s piece “In Richmond, Virginia, gentrification is colonization”

03/30/2019 6:00 AM by

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition recently published an opinion piece that has gone viral. It is about gentrification in Richmond and even more locally, the East End. Here’s how it starts:

Like many urban areas, my neighborhood was designed to fail.

Home to nearly 2,000 of Richmond’s 3,255 public housing units, the city intentionally created a concentrated pocket of poverty in the East End. In fact, according to the former CEO of Richmond’s housing authority, the neighborhood has the highest concentration of public housing per square mile south of Baltimore. And while Richmond is divided into nine districts, 60 percent of the public housing units fall within just one: the East End. This means that there is only one city council member and one school board representative for an area with a disproportionate percentage of the city’s poor, greatly limiting their power and influence within the city’s political landscape.

However, while poverty does deeply impact financial status, it does not determine social and cultural wealth or the capacity of a person for greatness.

My family’s story directly reflects this reality

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This is a pretty well written piece about the current state of development in the East End. On one hand, urban redevelopment may provide benefits to the new and existing urban residents. We all love seeing the before and after homes that are being revitalized. Key word here is “revitalized”.

Is it possible to have gentrification without displacement? Maybe, but only if the total number of housing units increases while maintaining the number of lower-priced units. Responsible urban development is key and we hope many in the neighborhood keep that in mind. It is also important that YOU voice your opinion- go to the Church Hill Civic Area Association meetings, go to the CAR meetings and participate in the discussion.

We hope that we can agree that most neighborhoods can benefit from new residents, regardless of cultural background, provided that they are committed and involved in their community.

Check out these articles:

Everything was something else

The impacts of gentrification on food insecurity

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The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business.


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