Javier Roacho, resident of northern Denver, is one of the Hispanics affected by the gentrification process in the capital of Colorado, which is among the cities where there is more displacement of people with less income.
“What they offer me for the expropriation of my house because of the construction of the new road is not enough for me to buy another six-room house, and even if it reached me, it would not be the same anymore, because it would not be our house, my father” Roacho explained to Efe.
Roacho’s house, built on land acquired by his grandparents and that sheltered generations, is an example of displacement due to the metamorphoses that pass through cities such as Denver, Austin (Texas) and San Diego (California).
Those are among the cities of “vibrant economies” that register high rates of gentrification, according to a report by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) released on Tuesday.
The report records seven cities in the country concentrated half of the gentrification processes from 2000 to 2013: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Diego and Chicago.
Although gentrification increases the value of properties and generates investments in areas that were abandoned or deteriorated, it also displaces those residents who do not benefit from the economic improvement and, suddenly, can not afford the high prices that their new neighbors are facing. willing to pay.
Denver, with 700,000 inhabitants and 30% of Hispanics, is the city with the highest average displacement of Hispanics according to a scale used by NCRC, which places the capital of Colorado among the cities “that went through extensive gentrification.”
The process has been concentrated in the northern Latino neighborhoods, such as Globeville, Elyria, Swansea, and west, such as Westwood, where NCRC detected the “highest percentage of decrease in Hispanic residents” in the country.
According to Scott Carranza, director of the “Mauricio Saravia” Academy, a community center that offers extracurricular activities in Westwood, his organization has entered this year in the “Phase 2” of its existence (since 1991) precisely to reverse the situation of the neighborhood.
“We are going to create a safe space for our children to thrive emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually, and to make progress in their education,” Carranza told Efe.
“Westwood, among other things, is known as a place where there are no spaces for community meetings,” he added.
The local mayor, Michael Hancock, promised a series of economic and social initiatives to mitigate the impact of gentrification in the aforementioned neighborhoods and in the city in general.
For NCRC, the available data is not enough to anticipate if in the future there will be a process of ethnic reintegration in cities with greater gentrification or if, on the contrary, “over time those areas will have a majority of whites”.
Be that as it may, “the economic and demographic changes resulting from gentrification must be examined because of their impact on the equity and standard of living of those neighborhoods,” the report concludes.