Updated: Mar 4, 2019
The notion of Gentrification has evolved over the years to have a negative denotation. Webster defines gentrification as “the renovation process of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of an influx of more affluent residents.” Throughout the past 50 years or so, there have been many efforts to gentrify the Vine City/English Avenue neighborhoods of Atlanta’s west side. The community, once home to some of the city’s elite African American pioneers, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Julian Bond has fallen victim to drug and sex trafficking and according to information gathered from Atlanta’s Westside Community Retention Collaborative, now has a population living at or below the poverty level.
Displacement is the major issue among current residents and a number of already marginalized persons living in the community are forced to leave due to a lack of affordable housing. What is critical to impacting the level of dislocation that is sure to come with gentrification is an increase in the level of political and economic involvement of the community and a church that can lead the pact in helping residents to recognize their unique economic and political impacts. Additionally, those residents who have moved out of the community but still hold ownership of property in both communities should consider returning to the community. By returning to these communities, these persons would an effort to add political and economic weight to the importance of maintaining the cultural identity and insuring that the needs of current residents are not being ignored.