Is gentrification inevitable in OTR?

So, is it? I tend to think that it is inevitable, but it does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. The word often comes with very negative connotations, especially when you throw race into the equation. This is exactly the issue in Over-the-Rhine, and it is also not a new one (see Buddy Gray).

Gentrification, by definition, is the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. The key here is that gentrification often displaces poorer residents. An influx, of middle-class or affluent people, alone isn’t a bad thing. It is what usually comes with it that is bad – the displacement of poorer residents.

NW View over OTR by Randy Simes

So far gentrification has been taking place in/around the Gateway Quarter, but displacement hasn’t really occurred. Many of the buildings were vacant and there has been an effort, by 3CDC, to keep units at affordable levels. Some of the units have even been arranged to only accommodate individuals within certain income ranges.

As more and more new condos pop up and more new businesses arrive, the question seems only logical. How are we going to deal with the issue of gentrification in our city’s most infamous neighborhood? It is something that will take work and courage from our leaders, and dedication from the developers to do what is right.

The gentrification of OTR doesn’t have to be the divisive/negative aspect that it often is elsewhere. We know what we can do (inclusionary zoning techniques), and we know what we should do. The question really is whether the OTR power brokers will ultimately do the right thing and not displace those current residents just so they can fatten their wallets.

  • Ian

    "once upon a time, i went to renew my lease for another year and the landlord said he was raising rent a hundred bucks. low and behold, i was displaced."

    That's a great point. People are displaced all the time, no matter what their income level, and nobody has an inalienable right to remain where they are if they don't own the property. I'm a renter myself, with no intention of buying property, but I don't claim any right to my place of residence. If my landlord wanted to raise my rent, that's his right, and it's not my place to tell him he can't do that. I'd just leave and find somewhere else, even if I love the place where I live.