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Roxbury Community Gentrification Forum brings neighbors together to prevent displacement

April 30th, 2015 by David Price

150 Roxbury neighbors and stakeholders filled Palladio Hall's spacious ballroom in Dudley Square on April 22nd to discuss the growing challenge of displacement due to gentrification.  In framing the discussion, Byron Rushing gave a keynote on the South End experience, noting that Roxbury is attractive today for many of the same reasons the South End was in the 70s and 80s. Nuestra Executive Director  Price cited census data showing that 1,100 fewer African-Americans lived in Roxbury in 2010 compared to 2000, while the number of whites increased by 2,700.

Small table discussions focused on Roxbury's specific gentrification issues.   A "mapping gentrification" table collected reports from over two dozen neighbors on rising rent and home price levels across Roxbury, with many of the examples clustered along the Orange Line.  New construction single family home prices in Fort Hill are over $550,000, requiring an income of over $120,000 in order to buy.  Average Roxbury 2BR rents are now $1,654, requiring an income of $60,000 to afford.  Many participants referenced the Baystate Banner article published that same day showing prices of triple deckers on Circuit Street and Rockville Park approaching $1 million.  There was agreement that the 20% of Roxbury households with incomes from $50,000 to $75,000 are being squeezed out of the market.  The table identified large projects driving this escalation and displacement, including a planned 300-unit market-rate tower planned for Parcel 3.  There is a risk that dense luxury development could be planned for the old B2 station, the Blair Lot, Parcel 8 and the Crescent parcel.

Other event sponsors included Alternatives for Community Environment, Future Boston Alliance, Boston Tenant Coalition and Teen Empowerment.

Photo by Michael Hailey

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