What is gentrification? What does it mean to neighbors new and old, white and black, rich and poor? More importantly: What can we do to make gentrification work for everyone in the community?
These are some of the hard questions of urban life that a sold out crowd of 75 people considered, argued and opined about Monday night at Intentional Neighborhoods: A Gentrification Discussion, hosted by The Citizen and The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Center for Public Life. The event, part of One Book One Philadelphia’s program around Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn, was held at the Ramonita de Rodriguez Branch of the Free Library, on the borders of Kensington, Poplar, Northern Liberties and Girard—neighborhoods contending everyday with the consequences of change.
The panel included Marwan Kreidie, Founder and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Arab-American Development Corporation; Ariel Vazquez, an architectural designer and member of South Kensington Community Partners; Rasheedah Phillips, Managing Attorney of Landlord-Tenant Housing Unit at Community Legal Services; and Brian Murray, Co-founder of Shift Capital. It was moderated by Citizen Board Member Diana Lind, Managing Director of the Fels Policy Research Initiative.
Gentrification is an issue not easily solved—and certainly not in one evening. But the conversation served to make clear at least one thing: We all want neighborhoods we can afford, that offer comfort and pleasure, and that feel like home.
As one participant, a longtime resident put it: “We’re not saying we don’t want new people moving in. But don’t move in at our expense, so we have to move out.”
Listen to an edited podcast of the event here:
Recorded and edited by J.P. RomneyPhoto via The Philadelphia Citizen