Walk down once-gritty neighborhood streets in many American cities and the telltale signs may be all around you. The coffee bar on the corner selling $5 latte macchiatos. The high-rise luxury condo building going up at record speed. The cocktail bar, the artisan pastry shop.
This is urban gentrification in action, the process by which middle- and upper-middle-class populations move into formerly lower-income neighborhoods, attracted by cheaper housing (and fleeing expensive housing in more affluent areas), transforming the area, driving costs up and forcing lower-income residents out. Nationwide, the percentage of rental increases have been double the percentage of wage increases, and according to a Macarthur Foundation report, renters are compensating by taking second jobs or running up debt by paying other expenses on their credit cards.
Surprisingly, a study in 2015 by Governing Magazine found that gentrification, as a national problem, is actually less pervasive than portrayed in the media. Focusing