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monsoon

Is over gentrification killing the Pennisula?

  

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  1. 1. Is over gentrification killing the Pennisula?

    • No
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    • Yes
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    • Not sure
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Is over gentrification killing the pennisula? According to this source the population has actually been dropping in the Pennisula area since 1990 and in 2000, the population between Hwy 17 and the Battery was only about 19K people. This is a small percentage of the city and the metro's residents.

According to the data, the African American population has dropped dramatically along with a small increase in the White population. This would indicate that gentrification is forcing out long term residents to be replaced by investors who don't live there year round. If this is indeed happening, is it bad for the Pennisula?

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Unfortunately, some residents are being priced out south of Calhoun due to the astronomical costs of living there. King Street is very gentrified and is creeping its way up towards US 17.

Yay, i just made my #1000 post :)

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Yes, it is but I do see signs of it stopping as the population of downtown has actually stopped decreasing the past few years. I hope to see more done to protect some of the businesses but I see the best way for us to keep people of all classes on the peninsula is to start building up above the Crosstown, I hope that starts happening...

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I don't see it as a dying thing. It is being dramatically altered, no question about that. But dying? Have you been there lately? That place is alive and well. Perhaps it is not the old funky undiscovered Charleston of 30 years ago, but its still a great place. I look at downtown 20 years ago (from what I am told, of course) and it was not a very attractive place. Since then you have seen infill, and life returning to the streets of the city. Charleston Place, among many other projects, has helped reinvigorate the city life in downtown. King St is not a vacant wasteland. Its part of something larger, to be sure. I am excited that Charleston has so much going on, and that it is not a dead city.

My question is this- are rising prices a sign of a more 'America' urbanity? Take a look at the types of housing going into downtowns across America. Look at Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Jacksonville, etc. and what kinds of pricing do you see downtown? Its all very expensive property, or its going through the roof- and frequently at the expense of lower income residents (not always). So really, how is Charleston different from any other town in America in this regard?

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Well the fact the population is falling is not a good sign, I would say that is one difference from the other places that you mention. When I say "dead" I mean in terms of being a good urban place. I would not mistake tourists walking on the street shopping in tourist places as good urban development. You have the same thing in any theme oriented suburban mall, (and in greater quantities too)

Charleston has made the mistake of killing off urban development on its pennisula which means real estate is unavailable to all but maybe 1% of incomes in the USA, its not building anything significant, and current residents are being driven from the city. i.e. dying. People don't see this, often because the reality of most other places is much worse as many people living today have never seen cities that don't consist anything more than sprawl, cul de sacs, with Mcdonalds and Walmart on every corner, unless they go to other countries. Otherwise they see a Charleston, which indeed does look pretty on the surface, and think that it is urban paradise which is anything but true once you look into what is really happening there. It's really a shame as it is a big opportunity lost.

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If gentrification results in 'urban death', then we should place a tombstone on all US cities. Gentrification does cause population loss, primarily due to smaller household sizes, but the result is a far higher property value & tax base. Additionally, most of the peninsula had largely always been out of price range for most middle income families, if we're talking about gentrification of the neck portion north of downtown - then, as Spartan suggested, it's nothing different than everyother city.

Charlotte lost population in the city center between 1990 & 2000, yet it has survived, why isn't this different than Charleston?

To expand on the lossing population topic further - depending on why the population is falling it can in fact be a very good thing. Depending on your priorities of course, particularly the municipal budget. Not only are the units being replaced by wealthier householders, but most likely also means less city services required to support them. Welfare agencies are needed less, as well as most other services oriented toward children or the poor.

On another note - I personally do have mixed feelings about gentrification, because I do believe lower incomes & even many middle incomes not to mention the elderly are priced out of the city center. This does socially alter the urban landscape & causes economic disadvantages to those that have to alter their lifestyles in a suburban environment. Essentially reverse segregation. But I don't consider individuals as myself as 'killing urbanism', because this is what the arguement comes down to - not just about Charleston but every US experiencing gentrification.

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Charlotte lost population in the city center between 1990 & 2000, yet it has survived, why isn't this different than Charleston?

Not according to the US Census though population growth during this period was very small. Charlotte is actually building and has built thousands of condo highrises right in its CBD. The is no constuction anywhere near this scale in the Charleston area and it is non-existant between Hwy 17 and the Battery.

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I would not call Charleston urban. It's a nice place to visit though.

:blink: What? Ummm...OK, you're entitled to your opinion. Just because the city doesn't have towering skyscrapers doesn't mean it's not urban.

By the way metro, there IS development in between US 17 and the Battery. I really want to know where you're getting your info, because that statement is completely false. Just because there aren't thousands of units being built in the heart of DT doesn't mean there's a lack of urban development. Remember, we're talking about an historic city that treasures (though many times is OBSESSED with) old houses and buildings, so it would be very difficult to construct buildings on a similar scale as Charlotte.

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I didn't bring Charlotte into this conversation and this isn't a comparison of those two places. I was responding to a question asked about Charlotte by one who thinks it actually matters. The real purpose of this thread is to determine if Charleston has stifled itself into a museum rather than a living city that is something more than a tourist mecca.

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Not according to the US Census though population growth during this period was very small. Charlotte is actually building and has built thousands of condo highrises right in its CBD. The is no constuction anywhere near this scale in the Charleston area and it is non-existant between Hwy 17 and the Battery.

ACCORDING to the Census it did, again 'city center' being the core population area surrounding downtown in the only area relatively urban in Charlotte. Municipal boundaries are no way to determine population loss for an urban 'area' but for a specific municipal government. But using census block, block group or tract the central area of Charlotte did lose population, as most cities did in the US.

But this is off topic...

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I wasn't comparing Chas and Charlotte either. My point is that Chas is a living city, but it has to have a large tourist component right now. In time, the city's economy will change, but the city does not think it can afford to demolish large historic areas. As a result, new urban development is a little limited, and the limitations increase the real estate prices, thereby changing the population demographics. But this should not be seen as a negative, especially when more people are making their properties look nicer and more liveable. All of what is occurring DT is merely an improvement on the quality of life there.

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I would not call Charleston urban. It's a nice place to visit though.

Then that brings up the age old question - what is urban. Is urban high rises? Then a place like Panama City Beach or an edge city like Tysons Corner, VA is urban. Is urban high density? Then most of the peninsula of Charleston is urban which would be comparable in size to larger cities like Jacksonville, but in a more centralized manner.

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Charleston to me feels very urban. One summer staying there for 2.5 months in 1999 off Broad St, i liked how so many stores were of walking distance. When i would walk around town, I was not ever too far away from the nearest convience store to get a bottle of water (talk about humidity!). I love the lil' cricket by the market, that place is a gold mine!

Chas has also got to be the most friendly urbanized place Ive ever been to :D

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ACCORDING to the Census it did, again 'city center' being the core population area surrounding downtown in the only area relatively urban in Charlotte. Municipal boundaries are no way to determine population loss for an urban 'area' but for a specific municipal government. But using census block, block group or tract the central area of Charlotte did lose population, as most cities did in the US.

But this is off topic...

It is off topic and I don't understand your reasons for putting it in this thread, but the 6 census tracts that make up Charlotte's CBD did not lose population in the 1990s. If you want to discuss this further please make a thread in the Charlotte section.

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I would not call Charleston urban. It's a nice place to visit though.

Just because Charleston is a relatively small city doesn't mean it's not urban. As far as I know, an area is either urban, suburban, or rural (in the broadest terms). If downtown Charleston isn't urban, then what is it?

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Not according to the US Census though population growth during this period was very small. Charlotte is actually building and has built thousands of condo highrises right in its CBD. The is no constuction anywhere near this scale in the Charleston area and it is non-existant between Hwy 17 and the Battery.

New construction in downtown Charleston is hampered by the City's lengthy approval process, which takes 2-3 years to complete. Projects are happening all of the time downtown. Just drive around the penniunsula and you see see one after another, all over the place! You don't see many towers and such, but does that really matter? I dont buy this argument that Charleston is no longer an urban place. Teshadoh makes a great point in that what is happening in Charleston is happening all over the US. Every growin gcity is facing problems with gentrification.... but is genrtification really a problem?

I have thought long and hard about gentrification. I have considered as many angles as I can- and I have concluded that it is a good thing. Here's why- Cities are a living entity. They exist in a constant state of flux. Neighborhoods are constantly changing. Their land values, desirability, etc, change. When a neighborhood is at its lowest point, gentrification can bring it back to life. People with money to spare can bring life back to a neighborhood, and over time, it will filter down to the lower income citizens. Most cities have neighborhoods like this... they used to be upscale nice places to live, but over time they have become occupied by lower income families. Its not a bad thing- its all part of a larger process that will never end so long as we have cities. Its a long term process... the decline can take decades. Local governments can intervene in a declining neighborhood and bring it back to life. Gentrification is an unfortunate part of the process, but I think it is a necessary one in the life of a city.

Think about it this way- what if there were no gentrification happening in downtown Charleston. What kinds of developments would you be seeing? Would you still have the downtown that you know and love today?

I wasn't comparing Chas and Charlotte either. My point is that Chas is a living city, but it has to have a large tourist component right now. In time, the city's economy will change, but the city does not think it can afford to demolish large historic areas. As a result, new urban development is a little limited, and the limitations increase the real estate prices, thereby changing the population demographics. But this should not be seen as a negative, especially when more people are making their properties look nicer and more liveable. All of what is occurring DT is merely an improvement on the quality of life there.

I wonder though, what prices are the new residential towers in Charlotte going for? For that matter, what about Greenville? Columbia? Myrtle Beach? how does that compare to Charleston? I think you'd find that prices are not so dissimilar. I think that in this type of discussion it is necessary to use comparisons from other cities as a reference point. The discussion doesn't have to change to a city vs city debate.

Charleston Native and other Charlestonians- What do you think about creating a development list of what is happening in downtown Charleston? What would it take to make that happen?

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The price isn't so high in those other cities to cause a 10% drop in population in a decade. That is a pretty serious decline in a metro that is growing at the rate that Charleston is growing.

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The price isn't so high in those other cities to cause a 10% drop in population in a decade. That is a pretty serious decline in a metro that is growing at the rate that Charleston is growing.

The population downtown is not dropping any more, alot of the condo projects that have been under construction along with other things is causing it to go up... not terribly fast yet, but people are moving downtown.

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Regarding population loss - does it appear that there are increased numbers of vacant homes / units in central Charleston?

If not - then what is your actual problem with population loss, besides it being some number people can boast about how booming their city is.

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Regarding population loss - does it appear that there are increased numbers of vacant homes / units in central Charleston?

If not - then what is your actual problem with population loss, besides it being some number people can boast about how booming their city is.

No there isnt an increase, actually it is a decrease now as you will find many of the homes that were abandoned and vacant being fixed pretty nice... That population loss has been going on for a while though and is just starting to curb in the positive direction, i dont really know what started it though....

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No there isnt an increase, actually it is a decrease now as you will find many of the homes that were abandoned and vacant being fixed pretty nice... That population loss has been going on for a while though and is just starting to curb in the positive direction, i dont really know what started it though....

So perhaps the decline in population is leveling off?

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Realistically - the population densities per units have been on the decrease nationally since WWII. Fewer couples are having children, fewer families have more than 2 children, there are fewer people in poverty - especially the extreme poverty conditions existing during segregation, meaning fewer slums. Off topic comparison - Atlanta may never reach it's peak population, unless there is an even greater level of condo tower construction.

Therefore - population loss, unless it a significant drop, is irrelevant in these urban comparisons. Fewer people often means an area is simply maturing - though this area has already matured obviously.

Otherwise infill construction, though very difficult in an already developed area, is the only possible manner for population gain.

... now - metro did mention this in passing, but I do think it's an interesting topic having discussed it before. Are historical districts merely treated as 'museuams' rather than living urban areas? To an extent this is true in most cities, with strong NIMBY backing, historical single family neighborhoods are often forced into a relatively static progression. These residents want to keep their neighborhood exactly the way it is - forever. Meaning the naturally organic urban progression that has evolved urban areas for centuries in unnaturally halted. With this area of Charleston being such a massive historic district - that has been the criticism of Charleston, as well as Savannah.

Now that I've said that, I admit I don't fully believe in that - I was being a devil's advocate. I personally feel strong about preserving most architecture, no matter how insignificant, that was built before WWII. I feel this way at the very minimum because these are often our last remnants of America's urban past.

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It's not a question of preserving architecture as many cities have managed to preserve architecture far older than what we have here yet build proper cities around this architecture. Charleston has failed to do this and instead, taken the path that most sunbelt cities have taken, and build nothing but automobile inspired development for most of the last 60 years. As a result, you have a historic downtown that is surrounded by sprawl that is characterized by multilane highways, no pedestrian activity, big box retail, cul de sacs, etc etc. ....you know the story.

So when you have a situation such as this, a very historic but very expensive part of the city surrounded by the type of development that is currently being built in Charleston, it becomes a museum. The place is cut off from the day to day lives of the inhabitants and it instead is a destination to be looked at, admired for what it once was, confused by many that it is a good city (forgetting that almost no one in the metro can live there), and never changing. Sure its worth preserving the architecture, but museum pieces don't make a living city.

Charleston was a huge opportunity lost.

However it does not have to remain that way. Removals of building restrictions and the construction of mass transit might go a long way to helping the city recover.

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I would not call Charleston urban. It's a nice place to visit though.

As far as design is concerned, Charleston is the very definition of urban. Columbia is becoming so, very quickly.

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