Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mindy Adnot
As the city of Charlotte has grown exponentially, the price of land and housing has also seen a significant increase. Middle-income families are finding it harder and harder to live close to the city center, and the racial dynamics of individual neighborhoods are changing fast. In this project, I chose to investigate how four indicators of gentrification –white influx, college-educated influx, increasing household incomes, and increasing property values– impacted Charlotte neighborhoods over a 20-year span, from 1990 to 2010. Using RStudio and US Census data, I mapped these four variables over time, illustrating how the rising prices of housing in Uptown have pushed out lower-income residents and residents of color into the northwest part of the city. I then took a closer lens to two specific neighborhoods: Enderly Park (census tract 42) and the Third Ward (census tract 6). Enderly Park, where I have been conducting research for SOC 351, is a historically black neighborhood bordering Tuckaseegee Road. Many Enderly Park residents are concerned that the rising property values may force them to move, if they cannot meet a rise in rent or property taxes. This imagined displacement mirrors that of the Third Ward in the 1990’s, when the city tore down a public housing project during urban renewal. Over the next twenty years, the Third Ward has become dramatically whiter and wealthier, as its proximity to the Bank of America center drew white-collar workers to the neighborhood. In the meantime, white flight from Enderly Park began to reinforce its status as a black suburban enclave, not far from HBCU Johnson C. Smith University. In terms of household income and relative property values, Enderly Park is in a position similar to that of the Third Ward, twenty years before. Now, with Uptown becoming almost prohibitively expensive, even for the financial sector, neighborhoods like Enderly Park are at risk of the same gentrification and displacement. I hope that this analysis will draw attention to the concerns already being voiced by the people of Enderly Park, and generate a critical consciousness of Charlotte geopolitics amongst those of us located only a few miles north.