Gentrification signs

This morning the Washington Post published a story about a D.C. homeowner’s very individual approach to opposing change in his neighborhood. Milfred Ellis posted three anti-gentrification signs in his Brightwood home’s front yard.

Anti-gentrification signs in Washington yard. Photo by author.

Anti-gentrification signs in Washington yard. Photo by author.

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Post reporter Perry Stein is doing a solid job covering gentrification and other changes in Washington’s neighborhoods. I think her definition of gentrification is too broad, though: “gentrification is, by definition, wealthier residents displacing longtime poorer residents in neighborhoods.” There’s a compelling case for displacement and demographic change in Mr. Ellis’ neighborhood but there doesn’t appear to be a solid case for the disinvestment that’s essential to any rigorous definition of “gentrification.”

The signs in the Ellis yard are a great illustration of individual/neighborhood resistance to change that is being driven by the same forces that also underlie gentrification: real estate speculation. I think signs posted on utility poles near his home, though, tell the rest of the story:

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“We Buy Houses” sign above a bike route sign, Brightwood neighborhood, Washington, D.C.

© 2015 D.S. Rotenstein

 

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