Gentrification has become a point of contention among urban planners. Some argue that benefits of gentrification far outweigh the drawbacks, especially in mid-sized cities. Others argue that gentrification primarily occurs in mostly white neighborhoods, leaving minority neighborhoods mired in poverty.
Glenville, a historically African-American community, is poised for gentrification. It’s proximity to the cultural attractions of University Circle, Case Western Reserve University, and medical powerhouses Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals make the neighborhood attractive to urban dwellers. Today, you can find houses within a couple of blocks of each other where the estimated value differs by upwards of $300,000. The parts of Glenville experiencing increased home prices have been rebranded as “Circle North,” making reference to its neighbor, University Circle, despite the fact that some of the highest rates of childhood poverty in Cleveland exist less than one mile off-campus.
Similarly, South of Lorain Avenue, commonly called SoLo, is also gentrifying due to its proximity to Downtown and to the Ohio City Historic District, the largest local landmark district in the entire city of Cleveland.
As these neighborhoods bring in new young professionals and families eager to embrace urban living, what are the factors that attract new residents while simultaneously pushing existing residents out? What causes some neighborhoods to gentrify while others continue to struggle? Is it possible for neighborhoods to find a balance between attraction and retention, preserving diversity in all its forms?