Gentrification and Fair Housing: Does Gentrification Further Integration?

Aug 19, 2018
Ingrid Gould Ellen and Gerard Torrats-Espinosa for NYU Furman Center
On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, there is growing discussion and concern about gentrification. In almost every American city, long-time residents feel increasingly anxious that they will be priced out of their homes and communities, as growing numbers of higher-income, college-educated households opt for downtown neighborhoods. Yet when looking through the lens of fair housing, gentrification also offers a glimmer of hope, as the moves that higher-income, white households make into predominantly minority, lower-income neighborhoods are moves that help to integrate those neighborhoods, at least in the near-term. The key question is whether this integration will last and help to deliver on the promise of the Fair Housing Act to promote and further integrated living. Inverting the famous words of community organizer Saul Alinsky, this integration may only be the time between when the first white moves in and the last family of color moves out.
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