Report: Atlanta is among the country’s fastest-gentrifying cities

by Ashley Bowden

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Central Atlanta has the largest share of gentrifying neighborhoods after Washington D.C., Portland and Seattle, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

The topic of gentrification brings with it abundant concerns from citizens about facing harm or displacement as changes come to their neighborhoods and a more affluent demographic moves in. But in some of the country’s most populated metro areas, the phenomenon can create greater economic opportunities for the original residents of those neighborhoods, the report’s authors argue. The report found that many original residents of gentrifying neighborhoods, including those at the greatest disadvantage, can remain in their neighborhood and share in its improvements. It also showed that children can stay in these neighborhoods, which could reduce their exposure to poverty and allow them to benefit from educational opportunities they may have missed out on otherwise. 

The process of gentrification, according to report authors Quentin Brummet and Davin Reed, reverses decades of urban decline and brings “benefits to cities through a growing tax base, increased socioeconomic integration, and improved amenities,” as mentioned in an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Many individuals who remain in gentrified neighborhoods can often benefit from a declining exposure to poverty as well as an increase in their home’s value.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms plans to spend $1 billion on producing and preserving 20,000 affordable housing units across Atlanta over the next seven years in an effort to combat the city’s struggles with economic disparities and affordability in its neighborhoods. Since demand is rising for real estate in central urban neighborhoods, building more housing could mitigate rent increases and the pressures that come with gentrification, the report said. Agencies are optimistic about the mayor’s plan but have concerns that a long-running economic and real estate development boom will end, resulting in a shortage of private and federal funding for more affordable housing.