Gentrification and D.C.’s Green-line Metro Stations

In a story produced by WAMU, American University’s radio station, it has been found that there is growth in both commercial and residential sectors around D.C’s green-line metro stations. WAMU is a public radio station that services the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; making it a reliable source because of their proximity to the area and its relationship with American University which has resources for research. First, the article looks at two metro stations on D.C’s green-line; Navy Yard and Waterfront which have seen a burst in construction and population boom over the last 15 years. There two metro stops, which are close in proximity, have been met in recent years with the development of a $2 billion mixed-use center along the Southwest Waterfront (where the stations are located). From further research and personal knowledge , as of 2017 the new development has over 1,000 housing units, luxury retail, dining and grocery options, office space, and a concert hall.

The story then compares other stations along the green-line to show the differences in redevelopment in D.C. It notes that with the development of the stations mentioned above; Navy Yard and Waterfront,  black residents have been moved out and white residents in. Other stations along this metro line; Shaw, Petworth and U-Street have seen a “renewal with the people. This means these particular neighborhoods, which are historically black neighborhoods  are working to be improved, not completely gutted.

The article is important in understanding gentrification in D.C., because as mentioned before it showcases two different processes. One where residents are displaced completely and another where neighborhoods are improved or changed in harmony with their existing infrastructure and residents.

The article also adds historical context to the relationship between gentrification in the city and the city’s metro system. Metro construction, as detailed in the story has  “destroyed” and interrupted many neighborhood businesses, because of road blockages, ugly construction and loud noises. Now, the same access that metro provides because of construction also threatens to make the areas so desirable, especially to young professionals, that high rents eventually displace longtime residents. This context is important to know in relation to the topic of gentrification in D.C. because it shows how gentrification is not a new phenomena in the city.

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