7 cities where gentrification is having a real effect on communities

It’s a pattern as old as America itself — and it’s not going away any time soon. To illustrate, here are seven cities that have been radically altered by gentrification in the 21st century, as defined by the percentage of urban homes that went from the bottom half of home price distribution to the top half. Data was compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and calculates for the period between 2000 and 2007. 

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For Immediate Release – August  28, 2014

Contact: Alvaro Franco, (646) 542-9538


Bronx tenants in Kingsbridge Heights meet to organize against rent hikes and gentrification

Bronx, New York - On Thursday night, August 14, members of a newly formed tenants association held a second meeting with support from the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular (PPM-MPP)to discuss their strategy to fight a proposed rent increase at 2800 University Avenue that would attack the building’s working-class residents.  The landlord’s application for a Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increase attempts to justify a permanent rent hike on the basis of repairs, but many doubt the repairs will benefit the entire building.

At Thursday’s meeting, Maria Maldonado, president of the tenant association and longtime resident of 2800 University Avenue, and Jay Espy, a PPM-MPP organizer who grew up in the building, facilitated the discussion among 20 tenants in attendance. During the meeting, tenants raised concerns about much-needed repairs and safety violations that the landlord has failed to address in the building. They also strategized with organizers about taking collective actions to stop the unfair MCI rent increase.

“We can’t trust the Democrats, and we can’t trust the Republicans. The only people we can trust is ourselves,” said Espy, explaining that neither Democratic nor Republican mayors have prevented rent hikes that harm so many poor and working class New Yorkers. He placed the MCI rent increase in his building within the context of city-wide gentrification, a process that displaces working-class people of color from their communities.

Additionally, Espy blamed the redevelopment of the nearby Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest ice skating rink, a project that has already enticed landlords in the area to raise rent for small business owners and tenants on Kingsbridge Road. As a result, Espy encouraged the tenants to unify and organize themselves to take collective action instead of relying on politicians and landlords who do not share their interests.

Espinosa’s words resonated with the other tenants at the meeting. Sharon Cooper, vice president of the tenant association and also a long-time resident in 1978, captured the mood of the evening: “My grandmother always said: ‘united we stand, divided we fall.”


The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular is a democratic people’s organization dedicated to educating, agitating, and organizing for Popular Control of our schools, workplaces, housing, transportation, policing, levels of government, and all areas that affect our lives, to achieve Fundamental Social Change. PPM-MPP identifies with the interests and aspirations of poor and working people and considers the anti-racist struggle central in our efforts to obtain a humane society. PPM-MPP is currently involved in tenant organizing, as well as organizing students in New York City public schools and colleges. For more information on PPM-MPP, go to https://www.facebook.com/2011PeoplePower or http://peoplepowermovement.tumblr.com/


 Also read about us on the Riverdale Press: Kingsbridge Ice Center said to cause rent hikes 

Robin used to keep chickens in his backyard, and pigeons on the roof of his Park Slope, Brooklyn, brownstone. The chickens for eggs, the pigeons for sport. 

He isn’t allowed either anymore.

“When the new people started moving into this neighborhood, buying up the buildings, they started demanding changes. They got rid of the chickens first. Then they complained about the pigeons. I was the last guy to be able to keep them. These new folks love their animals and spend crazy amounts on them, as long as it’s cats and dogs.”

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Photo: Chris Arnade

Hua Hsu on scenes from New York City’s pre-gentrification graffiti subculture:

“I remember seeing stickers by COST and his partner, REVS, everywhere: on buildings, trucks, cranes, ladders, lampposts, crosswalk signals, stop signs. It troubled me that I could not decode their meaning. What were they selling? When I learned that the answer was nothing, I was confused and then astonished.”

Photograph courtesy Artists Public Domain/Cinema Conservancy

NYC Buildings Inspector Threatens East Harlem Residents for Reporting Unsafe Conditions at Luxury Development Site

Sometimes you gotta teach people a lesson”

NYC Department of Buildings Inspector (Dabusco) 

For months, residents like Eugene Rodriguez & Laurena Torres have been complaining about unsafe conditions at HAP Investments 329 Pleasant avenue luxury development site. On September 17th 2014, construction was halted, after they and others, reported unsafe conditions to the NYC Department of Buildings. 

That afternoon, the DOB inspector called to the scene, spoke with El Barrio Tours outside HAP’s 329 Pleasant avenue site… 


DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “The property owner is in complacence, 100% compliance. They’ve done everything we’ve asked but this woman keeps calling and complaining, I’m about to slap her with a 10 thousand dollar fine for harassment. She can’t keep abusing the property owner like that! You care that much? To spend your week out here looking out your window? Get a job!

EBT: “Aren’t you here to ensure the saftey of the site? Isn’t that your job?”

DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “Yeah, but this guy has his permits all in order, he’s done everything we’ve asked. These people keep complaining and I’m like, that’s not your business over there!”

EBT: “So your saying they’re complaining for no reason?”

DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “Look, I just kicked out 6 families from another site. This guy kept complaining and complaining the building was shaking and moving. I said it’s shaking? Good. Boom! Vacate! Now your all out. I came back and his wife was slapping him in the street. He never called back. What goes around comes around. But when it comes around, it comes back 10 times harder. Sometimes you gotta teach people a lesson.”

Work resumed the next day, and continued until the damage to Laurena Torres and Eugene Rodriguez property got so bad, it made it into DNA Info & the Daily News earlier this week. A partial stop work order has been issued as of October 29th, 2014. The DOB has has now ordered the developer to brace the walls of the properties they’ve damaged around 329 Pleasant Avenue. 

HAP Investments has spent $100 million on six East Harlem properties and is no stranger to dangerous work sites: (Here)


For Immediate Release - July 29, 2014

Contact: Alvaro Franco


Email: agfranco89@gmail.com

People Power Movement joins fight for real affordable housing as tenants organize to stop rent hikes in Kingsbridge Heights, the Bronx.

New York City - In Kingsbridge Heights, where Wall Street real estate developers are fighting over what will be the world’s largest ice skating rink center in the Kingsbridge Armory, local residents are fighting their own battles against rent hikes. Tenants in 2800 University Avenue, just a few blocks from the Armory, are taking a stand against rent increases in their building. They have been supported by the Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association (KHNIA) and the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular (PPM-MPP) to organize a tenant meeting in the building lobby. Al Chapman, President of the KHNIA, and Jason Javier, Vice Chair of the PPM-MPP, led the discussion with the aid of English to Spanish translation.

Tenants of the building were in disbelief after being notified that their rent would go up $11.69 per room, including kitchens and living rooms. Most tenants could not believe that a landlord who had provided scanty repairs would be requesting them to pay more rent. In addition, the building has a number of code violations, including a missing side entrance gate and broken side door entrance that have yet to be fixed. The meeting allowed for tenants to voice their opinions and opposition to the rent hike proposal, and to meet others who have lived in the building for decades and who have never seen an MCI rent increase before.

This rent hike is due to alleged “Major Capital Improvements” (MCI) to the building, which has recently surfaced throughout the city. The MCI request also includes a permanent rent increase, meaning that tenants will continue to pay higher rent even after the “improvement” costs are paid for. According to sources in the area, 2800 University Avenue is not the only building to be hit by an MCI rent increase. Many in the community feel that this phenomenon is closely related to the changes being made to the towering Kingsbridge Armory in the community, which has already caused rents to double for nearby small business on Kingsbridge Road. Tenants in buildings like 2800 University Avenue are preparing to fight MCI’s, as well as future potential annual rent increases by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board.

During the meeting, tenants themselves elected representatives in their building to be President, Vice President, and Secretary, and essentially created their first tenant association in over a decade. More importantly, all of these representatives are women of color! The new Tenant Association is demanding for an extension time for a proper response to the notice, and preparing to compile reasons against the MCI rent increase. A few tenants have already responded by refusing to pay higher rent. However, due to the language barrier, most could not understand the MCI notice, nor the part indicating that English is the only language allowed. What is more, some received the MCI notice later than others.

Given that many of the residents do not speak English and that the demographic of the building is majority Black and Latino and working-class, PPM-MPP says that these are racist transgressions that allow landlords to unjustly push people of color out of the area. These acts add to the ever-present issue of gentrification in our communities. This battle can only be achieved through collective action, and tenants in 2800 University Avenue are demonstrating the potential for a movement against gentrification led by the people of this community. Tenants, both residential and commercial, are urged to take action on this injustice!



The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular is a democratic people’s organization dedicated to educating, agitating, and organizing for Popular Control of our schools, workplaces, housing, transportation, policing, levels of government, and all areas that affect our lives, to achieve Fundamental Social Change. We identify with the interests and aspirations of poor and working people and consider the anti-racist struggle central in our efforts to obtain a humane society.

# # #

Read our newsletter article with more details: "The Bronx is Changing!"

Gentrification Stops Here! Kitzia Esteva-Martinez’ goal is to raise $900 in 5 days! Help me raise them bucks before my birthday!

I am an organizer in the Immigrant Rights Campaign at Causa Justa :: Just Cause — a grassroots organization building the power of working class Black and Latino residents fighting for housing and immigrant rights in the Bay Area.

We have the chance to fight gentrification and the displacement of working class tenants in the Bay Area by fighting to put anti-speculation legislation on November’s ballot in San Francisco and fighting for a healthy-homes law in Oakland.

Every year hundreds of working class families live under unhealthy conditions and harassment by slumlords in Oakland. We want fight like hell this fall to pass legislation that ensures our communities have a healthy home and are safe from threats by their landlords because of low income and immigration status vulnerability!

Your donation will ensure that we are able to do the outreach needed to bring the voices of impacted immigrant families into the forefront of this anti-displacement, anti-gentrification fight! This policy will defend tenants against illegal landlord harassment including lack of repair and maintenance and ICE and police threats meant to displace Oakland residents!

Please help us make this happen by donating to CJJC by August 1st so we can receive matching funds, and match your donation dollar for dollar.

Will you donate $50+ today? I’m giving $50 dollars to support CJJC. Will you join me? Please donate on my page and help me meet my goal of 500+ in 5 days by August 1st. We only have 5 days to do this together! (remember my bday is August 3rd!  I would love to wake up to this fundraising accomplishment!)

Thank You!!! Gracias!!!!

Donate here. Please signal boost!

White Williamsburg Douche to Black Woman: "Are you even human?"

My blood pressure is OFF the charts right now!  Twitter-ers @KO_616 and @brokeymcpoverty were in Williamsburg Brooklyn last night for burgers and used Uber to call a car.  The car came and some white people got in it even though it wasn’t for them.  What happened after that is both enraging and not surprising in the least.

A white man in Williamsburg looked me in my face and asked me if I was a human. Still trying to shake this off.

— Akoto Ofori-Atta (@KO_616)

August 12, 2014

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@PeoplePowerMovement in today’s #TheDailyNews fighting NYC’s new Cromwell-Jerome #gentrification plan in the South #Bronx. If you got a copy today, page 34!

But BEWARE! the Daily News must have used a thesaurus to desperately try to paint us as outside agitators. In the article they never call us Bronx residents, even though everyone but 3 ppl in the photo are from the BX. bullshit we are Bronx residents and we dont want this “new” Cromwell-Jerome neighborhood to “disrupt” and “crusade” on OUR community by raising our rents and pushing out !! WE DONT WANT CROMWELL JEROME! WE JUST WANT A DECENT HOME!!!

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X


More than 350 homeless Americans lived in their makeshift village, ‘The Jungle’ in San Jose, California – that is, until police and social services raided the camp, evicting tenants and destroying their self-made homes on Thursday.

Evicted homeless people lined the sidewalk along Story Road, clutching shopping carts filled with their meager possessions as they watched city workers literally rip apart their community.  Some wept uncontrollably, as they asked: Where will we go now?

“I don’t know,” answered 37-year-old Toi Larks-Scott, standing barefoot in the muddy parking lot, holding the leash of one of her two dogs. Nearby, eight carts were laden with her belongings.

“I don’t understand this. It’s not illegal to be homeless. This isn’t right.”

But increasingly, particularly in gentrified San Francisco, it actually is illegal to be homeless.

The newly evicted residents line the street with their carts of possessions (Image via Mercury News)

While homeless shelters and welfare programs continue to be cut, homelessness is criminalized across the country. In many cities, it is now illegal to sleep in your car or sit/recline in a public place, it is illegal to feed homeless people, and public buildings are putting in spikes and cages to keep homeless people from using flat surfaces or heating vents to make themselves slightly more comfortable through those long, cold, nights.

Nowhere is the divide sharper than in Silicon Valley, where ‘The Jungle’ was nestled just a stone’s throw away from the tech giants of Google, Apple, Yahoo, and eBay. The influx of wealthy tech executives has seen existing residents priced out of their own cities.

Rents are soaring year on year, rising 7% in nearby San Francisco last year alone. This has priced out many low and middle earners and seniors from the area, while apartments are now 18% smaller than they were a decade ago. Landlords across Silicon Valley are using the gentrifier’s loophole, the 1986 Ellis Act, to kick sitting tenants out in order to cash in on the tech boom. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants if they are getting out of the rental business. More than 4,000 people have been turfed out of their homes since 1997 under the Act.

Yet despite this unfolding housing crisis, State Sen. Mark Leno was recently forced to abandon a bill aimed at curbing the number of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco due to a lack of support.

A chunk of those people made homeless by the gentrification stayed homeless, and some of them ended up in ‘The Jungle’. The wealthy neighbors of the 68 acre shanty town quickly became frustrated by having to look upon the physical manifestation of the housing problem they caused – and so decided to get rid.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 4, 2014, bulldozers and trash compactors rolled into ‘The Jungle’ while dozens of police officers dragged tenants from their homes and workers wearing protective white suits began breaking down camp sites and makeshift structures.

Eva Martinez, 63, and Grace Hilliard, 59, are two close friends who both have health problems – heartbroken by the idea that they were going to be separated.

“This is very devastating,” said Hilliard, who has lived on and off at the Jungle for 16 years.

Martinez could barely speak.

“This is my home,” she said quietly. “Now I’ll have to lay down on the street, somewhere outside. I couldn’t bring out all of my stuff. The rest will end up in the Dumpsters, I guess. It’s terrible. It’s terrible for all of us.”

Ray Bramson, the city’s homeless response manager, said:

“This site is no longer open for any individuals,” Bramson said. “The fact that anyone has to live in conditions like this is horrible. This shouldn’t be a viable alternative for anyone. We need to make sure that people never have to live in a place like this.”

Social services workers had warned people that they needed to leave the camp even as they told them there was “nowhere for them to go.” City spokesman David Vossbrink admitted that it was unlikely that all of the residents forced out today could be relocated.

With around 5,000 people sleeping rough on the streets of San Jose streets on any given night, the reality is that the destruction of ‘The Jungle’ has just removed a much needed place of refuge.

Protesters were trying deliver this message on Thursday as they held signs like “This is no solution” and chanted “Housing, not Dumpsters!”

Homeless people are just human beings, like us, who have fallen through the cracks. The only difference between us and them is our bank balance – that is it. Yet politicians and police continue to treat those without homes as if they were a wholly separate species, without the right to privacy and respect enjoyed by those of us with homes. I think it’s quite clear which group here are the savages…and it’s not the homeless people.

Largest Homeless Camp In US Evicted And Destroyed To Make Way For Tech Billionaires More than 350 homeless Americans lived in their makeshift village, ‘The Jungle’ in San Jose, California - that is, until police and social services raided the camp, evicting tenants and destroying their self-made homes on Thursday.

Tech bros will stop at nothing to get what they perceive to be theirs. In the latest example of unchecked hubris, we witness as a squad of adults in Dropbox jerseys argue with and cuss at children over a San Francisco soccer field.

The argument started over a Mission District field, which Mission Local says has been popular with “mainly Spanish-speaking soccer players” for decades. The location has traditionally been used for pick-up games. But Dropbox-uniformed players who used an app to rent the field insisted it was their turn to play.

Of course, the kids already playing on the field weren’t psyched about a group of presumably well-paid men taking the space away from them. When a 20-year-old intervened on behalf of the kids, the adults became petulant. As transcribed by Uptown Almanac:

Guy Already Playing on Field: You don’t understand— this field has never been booked. How long have you been in the neighborhood?

Bro: Over a year!

GAPOF: Oh, over a year?

Off Camera Guy in Dropbox Tee-Shirt: Who gives a shit? Who cares about the neighborhood?

Last week, a quiz from 1985 that purported to show how “upscale” your neighborhood has become provided a delightfully dated reminder (“Unisex Hair Salons” and “Travel Agencies,” anyone?) of just how long gentrification has been lamented and bougie brunch spots have been laughed at.

Figuring that our era of inexplicable “general stores,” urban B&Bs, and ubiquitous Traders Joe nonetheless deserved an updated version, Curbed LA went ahead and put one together, and though it was made with Los Angeles in mind, it could be applied almost anywhere in America.

 More: Time to Score Your Neighborhood’s Level of Gentrification - Checklists - Curbed National

This Sunday, the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular invites you to an exciting event that we are co-sponsoring, called Right to Remain: Resisting Community Displacement in NYC (Photo Exhibit).

In collaboration with several grassroots groups and organizations, the public display pays tribute to communities at the forefront of the threat of displacement. These community groups and organizations aim to defend and empower individuals and communities that are being uprooted by forces of:

• Gentrification and economic inequities,
• Predatory policies Broken Windows and Stop and Frisk,
• Mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex,
• Immigration enforcement and the deportation machine,
• Climate Change and Environmental hazards.

The exhibit will be on display from October 5th – 19th, 2014 at Local Project, a Long Island City’s collaborative community artist space.

Formally housed inside the graffiti mecca of 5 Pointz, Local Project’s connection to displacement hits close to home. It is an honor and a commitment of Local Project to utilize art to shine light on issues that are important to the community!

Gallery Hours: Weds-Sat, 1-7pm

One of our PPM-MPP members will be showcasing 8 images that portray how poor and working class people of color in Kingsbridge Heights in the Bronx are facing the threat of gentrification due to the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, which will soon become the largest ice skating center in the world. This is also where we are organizing tenants, students, and community members not only against gentrification but also for Popular Control, in order to achieve Fundamental Social Change.

The photos will also be up for sale, so come support the artists!

WHEN: Sunday October 5, @ 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Reception starts at 2PM

The exhibit will be on display from October 5th – 19th, 2014 at Local Project.

WHERE: Local Project  -   11-27 44th Rd, Long Island City (Queens) New York 11101 



Resistiendo el Desplazamiento de Comunidades en NYC

Esta exposición nos lleva por la ciudad de Nueva York, revelando la complejidad del desplazamiento poblacional en varios barrios al mostrar los rostros de la hermosa gente que lucha por el Derecho a Permanecer en sus comunidades.