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10 Years Later, Atlanta's Gentrification Concerns Persist

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A decade ago this month, the New York Times declared, "Gentrification Changing Face of New Atlanta"

As with many American cities, gentrification is a hot topic in Atlanta — and rightfully so. With a host of inner-city neighborhoods transforming from blighted areas to hotbeds of half-million-dollar homes in just a decade, now more than ever concerns persist about what will happen to longtime residents — or middle-class folks trying to get in — as prices go through the roof.

But as much as this seems a new issue in Atlanta, a decade-old article from the New York Times spotlights a city grappling with its own successes. Which begs the question: Has anything really changed?

Ten years ago, Mayor Shirley Franklin was at the helm of a city flourishing with pre-Recession optimism. Projects like Atlantic Station were quickly drawing residents back to the core of the city. The trend was a continuation of re-population in inner-city neighborhoods that had slowly been increasing since the 1980s. But many expressed concern that economic development and each so-called neighborhood renaissance was precipitating the displacement of longtime residents and businesses.

On one hand, it's basically impossible (and illogical) to stop investment and revitalization of long-derelict neighborhoods in cities with growing job bases, but it's also unfair to disenfranchise and often displace those with established histories in the neighborhood, many of whom endured tough times to bring about prosperity today.

Of course, a balance between economic growth and a right to remain in one's own neighborhood would be ideal. As Atlanta grapples with the issue of gentrification, the New York Times article is a reminder that the concern is omnipresent and ever-evolving.