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The Displacement of Displacement: New-Build Gentrification in Washington, DC Open Access

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This research, based on personal observations, secondary data, and archival records, examines the redevelopment taking place in a Washington, DC neighborhood as a form of new-build gentrification. The neighborhood known as NoMa boasts newly constructed, mixed-use commercial and office space, as well as luxury apartments and condominiums located close to multiple forms of transportation, including Metro and Union Station. Using Davidson and Lees' theory of new-build gentrification, it is argued that the redevelopment in NoMa is accompanied by both direct and indirect displacement of low-income, African-American residents. New housing construction in the area overwhelmingly targets middle to high income gentrifiers seeking high-end, luxury apartments and condos, with little to no inclusion of affordable housing. The NoMa Business Improvement District, subsidized and partially supported by the Washington, DC government, engages in significant efforts to rebrand the area as "NoMa," transforming the character of the neighborhood into an urban `playground' for highly educated, upper-class, white professionals. Exclusionary practices take place both at the economic and cultural level. New-build gentrification in NoMa is preceded and accompanied by widespread gentrification throughout Washington, DC, contributing to and expediting displacement of lower-income, black residents throughout the city. Dominant neo-liberal ideology obscures these negative effects of development, justifying the actions of the state, private developers, and individual consumer gentrifiers, resulting in what is termed the "displacement of displacement."

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