Garance Franke-Ruta’s essay in The Atlantic about the recent history of gentrification and “urban comeback” in Washington, D.C. is super interesting. It’s such a weird city to visit, and, as Franke-Ruta explains, its neighborhoods of revitalization and decay are so intertwined with historical events and policy. Later in the essay, she explores her own neighborhood, the U-Street area—a must-read for anyone who has been to the city and never made it past The Mall.
My local Catholic church in Washington, D.C., however, has taken a more radical approach, using the story of Christ's betrayal and crucifixion as an allegory for the changes gentrification has wrought on our neighborhood. Usually, this is done at holy sites, but in this case, the church stops at food banks, AIDS clinics and other local establishments in our rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and talk about the need to preserve social services and provide more affordable housing.
I moved into my first apartment in New York City almost a year-and-a-half ago. After a hellish process that saw my roommates and I back out of a unit in the middle of a lease signing, we finally agreed upon an apartment in the East Village that suited our needs (within a 15-minute walk to Washington Square Park, fairly affordable, and containing three full bedrooms, which meant no temporary wall building, or bookshelf buying).