CURS Research Associate Michael Webb took on the topic of urban revitalization in a talk at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in early February. Read an article in the UNCG student newspaper about Webb’s talk focusing on the King-Lincoln neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is home to The Ohio State University, where Webb received his Ph.D. in Geography.
As Molly Ashline noted in The Carolinian on February 4, 2015, Webb discussed the differences between urban revitalization and gentrification, noting that gentrification “‘is really just synonymous in a lot of the research today with displacement,'” while urban revitalization aims to keep current residents in their homes while working to improve the neighborhood.
According to Ashline, Webb explained one way to avoid gentrification, particularly black gentrification, is to promote Urban Black Tourism Districts “‘where you sell neighborhoods as being items where you would go be a tourist. Now the advantage of that is that people come, they spend their money and they don’t stay.'” He went on to say that the potential negative consequence is that people “‘can feel like in these Urban Tourism Districts that their culture is being co-opted—that it’s being sanitized to sell it to the masses.'” Webb went on to talk about the potential impact of revitalization on town-gown relations in Columbus.