DC Neighborhood Changes: The Impact of Revitalization

DC Neighborhood Changes: The Impact of Revitalization

Leah Moss
Jul 14, 2009

Every city with a history has surely seen a host of changes during the waves of economic and social shifts over the last quarter century, and DC is no exception. A comment on my post yesterday made me curious about our reader's thoughts on the impact of development in areas of the city such as Columbia Heights and the Studio District. Apartment Therapy has frequently featured shops and homes from the U Street Corridor, an area of the city that was not known as a center for design-minded Washingtonians five years ago. Having spent part of my upbringing in a DC neighborhood that similarly went from being a drug-dealing hot spot to a Starbucks-wielding hangout, I know some of the complexities of the issue. Can old neighborhood character and economic revitalization flourish simultaneously? We want to know your thoughts...

Probably the most obvious downside to economic growth is the steep rise in home prices. Even with the deflating housing bubble in DC, my recently-revived childhood neighborhood remains far out of my price range and, I suspect, that of most other young DCites.

However, along with the ridiculous sky-rocketing of home prices, we've also seen an influx of individually owned ethnic restaurants and farmer's markets replace the scads of seedy adult video stores and run-down body shops that did little to encourage foot-traffic and community in the past. Our current neighborhood is still considered "transitional." We love the abundance of family-operated ethnic eating spots, viable housing prices, and some of its edgier qualities, but we certainly don't relish the steady stream of vehicle thefts and assault reports.

In short, there are many trade-offs to development, some healthy, some heart-wrenching, and all complex.

That being said, we understand that this is not a simple-answer issue, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

(Images: The Studio Theatre, Mowabb)

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