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Gentrification Changing Suburban Cities

February 6, 2020

While Philadelphia experiences the socio-economic shift to a more gentrified urban center, so too do the cities of its suburbs.

In a report by ABC6 Action News, reporters reviewed the impact of gentrification on the city of Ardmore, located in Philadelphia’s western suburbs. Historically, the city floundered. It grew economically stagnant, its residents struggled, and few moved in.

Therefore, its officials decided to try their hand at a revitalization effort. Assistant Manager Bob Duncan, in speaking with ABC6, said, “We amended our code for some redevelopment in Ardmore, and we’ve seen that redevelopment more recently with the economy getting better.”

As a result, new construction replaced old structures with new ones. Luxury condos went up, attracting people to that part of the Main Line. Further projects plan to add new buildings both small and large. Now, the revitalization effort appears to be in full swing. However, change, residents found, comes at a cost.

Gentrification in Ardmore

Simultaneous with the construction came traffic congestion. New residents moving into the area add to the daily commute. As well, parking became sparse. Schools facing an influx of new students struggle to accommodate the children.

Meanwhile, housing costs begin to increase. The uptick in rent and property values means many of the preexisting residents can no longer afford the neighborhoods they lived in for decades. Historically Black areas in Ardmore experience a shifting demographic as more white families move into the luxury condos.

New businesses form the amenities of a hip, up and coming neighborhood attractive to young urban professionals. Brewpubs line the streets, high-end coffee shops cater to a new customer base, and old residents move out.

The problem for them remains affordable housing. As formerly working-class neighborhoods housing lower-income occupants change over to hipster enclaves, poorer folks are left wondering where to go.

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