Graffiti reading “Gentrification Kills” has been appearing on buildings on Georgia Avenue around the Park View and Petworth neighborhoods.
The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force has been tracking the graffiti on its blog, and so far has found at least three incidents – on a home for sale, a title and escrow company’s building, and a boarded-up storefront. At least one has since been painted over.
While it’s hard to know if the targets were specifically selected to make a point, that stretch of Georgia Avenue has not seen much in the way of actual gentrification.
But the sentiments are not new in the rapidly changing area. A few years ago, “Stop Gentrification” stencils appeared on the sidewalks of Columbia Heights.
As I’ve written before, gentrification is a mixed bag. Areas of blight are finally being developed and thriving after decades of stagnation, which means more jobs, a wider tax base, more services, and more police protection. But when new people and businesses come in, those who were already there may be forced out as rents rise, or may see the culture and traditions of the “old neighborhood” dissolve.
D.C. needs to continue its serious debate about gentrification. But vandalizing private property isn’t the way to do it.