LA’s Last Black Enclave Under Threat of Gentrification

Robert Valencia SAVE THIS

Inglewood, California (Shutterstock)

Residents of what is considered to be one of the last Black enclaves in California are facing the possibility of being secluded from the economic boost brought by a new entertainment complex for the LA Rams and Chargers.

Inglewood, a neighborhood that has been rife with gang-related violence, is struggling to meet its goal of luring more investment while attempting to preserve one of the state’s last remaining African American urban areas, the Los Angeles Times reported. A $2.6 billion NFL stadium and entertainment district are slated for the city, as well as the $14.5 million headquarters of the LA Philharmonic’s youth orchestra. In addition, the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles moved its regional headquarters to Inglewood two months ago, and the $2 billion, 8.5-mile Crenshaw light rail line is scheduled to open next year.

A report from the Times this week revealed that some homeowners and tenants in Inglewood will likely be evicted due to soaring home prices and increased rents. A woman who lives next to the stadium and entertainment complex for the two NFL teams received a notice explaining that the cost of her two bedroom apartment would go from $1,145 to $2,725.

“It makes you feel pushed out, like, ‘We don’t need you guys no more, the upper class is going to be moving in,’” the mother of two, who receives foster kids, told the Times.

Some activists are requesting that City Hall officials protect Inglewood from skyrocketing rents in the face of gentrification. The city added a temporary curb on evictions and a rent freeze last month, but for some, the measure was implemented too late. The lack of rent control has made Inglewood an attractive place for investments, and building owners took advantage by boosting rents. Two-thirds of the city’s residents are renters.

Gentrification in Los Angeles is nothing short of a novelty. The sprawling area is the most gentrified city in the US, with a home value change of 707 percent, a household income change of 95 percent, and higher education change of 857 percent, according to a 2018 analysis from real estate website RENTCafé using the 2000 US Census and the 2016 American Community Survey.

To make matters worse, climate change in the area is forcing wealthier residents from one area to relocate to another site with fewer climate-related challenges, therefore increasing property value, The Daily Beast reported in February.

“In the past few years, it’s become clear to me that forest fires have an equal weight and influence,” Harvard Graduate School of Design faculty member Jesse Keenan told the Beast, in reference to the recent slew of wildfires in Southern California.

“It makes perfect sense to me that at some point in time in Southern California people will want to move to areas that are proximate to their communities, and that may mean moving to areas that are lower risk but have… a different set of cultures and socio-economic characteristics,” Keenan said.

 


About the Author

Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and US politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.

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