The annual Great Neighborhoods competition sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA)
recognizes communities for their design, character,
sustainability and other desirable qualities. While the
winning entries typically embody the kind of classic
walkable urbanism that was the norm before World
War II, many of them miss the mark when it comes
to both affordability and diversity.
In an analysis of winning entries between 2007-
2014, Talen found a $108,000 difference between
the median price of homes in Great Neighborhoods
versus the census tracts immediately next to them.
When she explored demographic trends over time,
Talen found that the ratio of white residents increased
between 1970 and 2010 while the ratio of black and
Hispanic residents fell compared with cities as a whole.
There’s a word for that sort of thing: gentrification.
Central city neighborhoods that languished during
the exodus of the middle class to the suburbs —
a.k.a. white flight — are back in demand in many
metros because of their walkable mix of homes,
stores, restaurants, public transit and jobs. The
greater the demand, the higher the prices and the
less affordable those neighborhoods become to their
current residents, who often belong to disadvantaged
“Gentrification in America,” a report published by
Governing magazine, found that gentrification, while
still the exception overall, is accelerating. Census tract
data from the nation’s 50 most populous cities showed
that nearly 20 percent of tracts with lower incomes
and home values have experienced gentrification since
2000 compared to only nine percent in the 1990s.
The report looked specifically at census tracts —
which roughly correspond to neighborhoods — where
the median household income and home value ranked
in the bottom 40th percentile of the metro area at the
start of 2000.
A neighborhood was considered to have gentrified
since 2000 if two things became true over time based
on the latest census data: the percentage increase in
the median home value (adjusted for inflation) rose
The rate of gentrification rose in 39 of the 50 cities.
More neighborhoods gentrified in New York — 128 —
than any other city. The greatest rate of gentrification
Courtesy of NYC & Company/Photo by Christopher Postlewaite
Courtesy of NYC & Company/
Photo by Christopher Postlewaite