Gentrification vs. revitalization

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Local,DC,Crime,Aubrey Whelan

Areas seeing an uptick in new residents and property values are often lumped into the same category: "gentrifying" neighborhoods.

But experts say emerging areas can often develop quite differently based on who moves in and what gets built.

A gentrifying neighborhood will see new, affluent residents who focus on "reinvesting resources for greater returns" -- rehabbing houses, for example, said George Washington University Assistant Professor of Sociology Antwan Jones. Gentrifying neighborhoods will also see a demographic shift as property values rise, with wealthier white residents replacing poorer minority residents.

Revitalizing neighborhoods, on the other hand, take a more community-oriented approach to economic and demographic shifts. Those neighborhoods will see more new businesses instead of simply new homeowners, Jones said.

"The purpose is to maintain the neighborhood's character, but also diversify it," Jones said. "You'll have people making middle to high levels of income. It's explicitly not supposed to displace people."

D.C. has seen both gentrification and revitalization throughout the years, and residents of revitalizing and gentrifying neighborhoods face unique challenges, Jones said.

"Being able to afford to live in a place that's changing is a great challenge," he said. "For people who have lived there their entire lives, seeing any change would be detrimental psychologically."

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