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There Goes the Neighborhood
25 minutes | Nov 7, 2019
The Land Rush
Haitian migrants fled a violent dictatorship and built a new community in Miami’s Little Haiti, far from the coast and on land that luxury developers didn’t want. But with demand for up-market apartments surging, their neighborhood is suddenly attractive to builders. That’s in part because it sits on high ground, in a town concerned about sea level rise. But also, because Miami is simply running out of land to build upon. In the final episode of our series on “climate gentrification,” WLRN reporter Nadege Greene asks one man what it’s like to be in the path of a land rush. Before you listen, check out parts one and two. Reported and produced by Kai Wright and Nadege Green. This is the final installment of a three-part series produced in partnership with WLRN in Miami. WNYC’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.
22 minutes | Nov 6, 2019
Buying into Black
Valencia Gunder used to dismiss her grandfather’s warnings: “They’re gonna steal our communities because it don't flood.” She thought, Who would want this place? But Valencia’s grandfather knew something she didn’t: People in black Miami have seen this before. In the second episode of our series on “climate gentrification,” reporter Christopher Johnson tells the story of Overtown, a segregated black community that was moved, en masse, because the city wanted the space for something else. If you haven't heard part one, start there first. Reported and produced by Kai Wright, Nadege Green and Christopher Johnson. This is part two of a three-part series produced in partnership with WLRN in Miami. WNYC’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.
23 minutes | Nov 5, 2019
In Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, residents are feeling a push from the familiar forces of gentrification: hasty evictions, new developments, rising commercial rents. But there’s something else happening here, too—a process that may intensify the affordability crisis in cities all over the country. Little Haiti sits on high ground, in a city that’s facing increasing pressure from rising sea levels and monster storms. For years, researchers at Harvard University’s Design School have been trying to identify if and how the changing climate will reshape the real estate market globally. In Miami’s Little Haiti, they have found an ideal case study for what’s been dubbed “climate gentrification.” Reported and produced by Kai Wright, Nadege Green and Christopher Johnson. This is part one of a three-part series produced in partnership with WLRN in Miami. WNYC’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.
30 minutes | Apr 23, 2019
From The Neighborhood to The Stakes
From host Kai Wright and the team that brought you There Goes The Neighborhood, a new show about what's not working about our society, how we can do better and why we have to. We'll pick up where we left off to bring you more stories about housing, gentrification, race and a whole lot more. In episode one, we investigate one of the longest-running public health epidemics in American history — one that plays out in the places we live — and the ongoing fight for accountability. Hear more of The Stakes here. Follow Kai on Twitter at @kai_wright. Support for WNYC reporting on lead is provided by the New York State Health Foundation, improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Learn more at www.nyshealth.org. Additional support for WNYC’s health coverage is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
30 minutes | Mar 20, 2018
Introducing ‘Caught’: Our New Podcast
America incarcerates more people than any country in the world. It starts with kids. On any given night, roughly 53,000 young people are in some form of lockup. Nearly 60 percent are black or Latino. We all make dumb mistakes in our youth. But for these kids, those same destructive choices have a lasting impact. Mass incarceration starts young. From the team that brought you There Goes the Neighborhood, Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice tells the stories of young lives forever changed by collisions with law and order. In this episode, meet Z, a kid who had his first encounters with law enforcement when he was just 12 years old. Now, at 16, he’s sitting in detention on an armed robbery charge. Z's story introduces the questions: What happens once we decide a child is a criminal? What does society owe those children, beyond punishment? And what are the human consequences of the expansion and hardening of criminal justice policies that began in the 1990s – consequences disproportionately experienced by black and brown youth? Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice is supported, in part, by the Anne Levy Fund, Margaret Neubart Foundation, the John and Gwen Smart Family Foundation, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Subscribe on iTunes.
27 minutes | Nov 7, 2017
Shackled to the Market
There are lots of ideas out there about how to address L.A.’s housing crisis. But many proposed solutions bring their own problems. This week, we explore some of the most popular ones. One big idea: build. Build on small lots, build next to train stations, build skyscrapers and build townhouses. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to see 100,000 new homes built in Los Angeles over eight years. Brent Gaisford, director of the advocacy group Abundant Housing, says if we build twice that amount we would still just be “treading water.” He adds, “I would love to see us build 30,000 units a year.” That’s not so easy. Neighborhood opposition has stopped many housing projects already. One big reason: new housing may help the supply and demand imbalance in the long term, but in the short term it often raises prices. Political consultant and Crenshaw-area neighborhood activist Damien Goodmon says, “Even though many of these projects don't require any type of tear down, just the imposition of them, given their scale and the fact it will be priced out well outside the level affordable to local residents, unleashes a wave of gentrification.”
23 minutes | Oct 31, 2017
Gentrification: No More L.A. Traffic, Put It That Way
Los Angeles has long been a magnet for young people like 23-year-old Sean Walsh from Oklahoma, who many days can be found standing in line for a job as an extra on a film set. How does he afford the rent in L.A.? He doesn’t. He found a 9-hour parking spot where he and his brother can sleep in their car. People like Sean will probably continue to move to L.A., but the overall trend here and throughout California is for lower-income people to leave while the wealthier move in. In the last decade, Los Angeles lost 250,000 people at or near the poverty line, and saw a net gain of 20,000 people with college degrees. Will Los Angeles become just a playground for the wealthy? Meet Lizzie Brumfield, who’s settling with her fiancé and baby in the desert ex-urb of Hemet after she was evicted from her gentrifying building in Highland Park. She’s now 90 miles away from the rest of her family. “It sucks because we’re not anywhere near home,” Brumfield says. Others who leave L.A. could afford to stay, but don’t see the point. Los Angeles native Mason Cooley says that he's left the city for the last time to move to Asheville, North Carolina. “I just kind of realized that when you leave L.A., you're essentially already replaced by so many other people coming in. I never really felt like Los Angeles was the kind of city that was going to miss you,” Cooley said. He likes Asheville, and he advises newcomers to buy property there if they can. Why? The city is filling with gentrification refugees like himself — and Asheville’s median home value is up 10 percent over last year.
27 minutes | Oct 24, 2017
Coffee, Pizza and Beer
Gentrification isn’t just about who’s moving into the neighborhood. It’s about juice bars, yoga studios, fancy pizza and of course coffee shops. What’s it like to open a business that neighbors will clearly recognize as a symbol of change? Entrepreneurs Lisa Jurado and Rex Roberts just opened a coffee spot in Glassell Park, a neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles, and they know when some people see their shop they’ll mutter about gentrification. But Jurado and Roberts worry more about the possibility of a Starbucks taking their business than neighborhood backlash. In Echo Park, Israel Palacios had to move his pizza restaurant after his rent got too high. His family had run the restaurant for more than 20 years. He reopened his business at a cheaper site across the street, only to see a high-end, more expensive pizza place open in his old location. What really gets him angry? The new owner kept Palacios’ old sign. “I like the signs,” says Zach Pollack, the chef at the new restaurant. They’re “kind of like a symbol of the neighborhood.”
29 minutes | Oct 17, 2017
Change the Name of the Arts District to the Luxury District
Are artists victims of gentrification? Or the perpetrators of it? Artists move into empty post-industrial spaces and poor neighborhoods, save on rent, create their work, build up studios and communities — and then find they're priced out. Lisa Adams was evicted twice from L.A.'s downtown Arts District and is worried it's about to happen again. Thirty years ago the area was home to light manufacturing and warehouses. Now it's one of the city's most expensive places to live. "Artists are willing to put up with things that other populations won't," says Lisa, “You are a kind of forerunner to what is to come." Artist Lisa Adams in her studio (Saul Gonzalez) In downtown L.A., The Wolff Company housing developer uses the cultural cachet of living an "artsy" lifestyle to rent two-bedroom loft apartments for $2,700 in a building called OLiVE DTLA. They advertise "commissioned street-art murals" as a building amenity and held a competition for a working artist to move in temporarily and give some street-cred to the property. "It's an authenticity and a personality that we have to kind of work to give the building," says the developer's marketing director. Demographic change in Downtown L.A. since the 1970s (Maps by Michael Bader)
29 minutes | Oct 10, 2017
They Want My House
Once you know what to look for, they're everywhere. In mostly Latino and black neighborhoods, rows of aging houses with wrought-iron fences, their yards overgrown and concrete crumbling, are punctuated by homes with distinctive 2017 aesthetics. The fresh earth-toned paint job, burnished silver house numbers, horizontal fencing, drought-tolerant native grasses in the yard: it's a flipped house and it's probably selling for hundreds of thousands more than the others on the block. In some of L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods more than 20 percent of all home sales are flips -- houses bought by investors within the past year and then sold for a profit. Sellers say high prices reflect the future of the neighborhoods. Does saying it make it true? In L.A.'s West Adams neighborhood, long-time residents are divided about the investment. "We want those raised property values!" one homeowner says. But for renters, the flipped houses are the harbingers of future rent increases that might drive them out. Longtime resident Eva Aubrey wonders, "The young ones behind me -- where are they going to go?" Prospective home buyers tour a cottage in L.A.'s Boyle Heights neighborhood. (Saul Gonzalez)
25 minutes | Oct 3, 2017
This Is a Black Neighborhood. You Aren’t Black.
The African-American community in Los Angeles has been steadily shrinking and is now down to 9 percent of the population. South L.A. is majority Latino now, but it is home to a few neighborhoods that are majority-black, some of them solidly middle-class. Those areas are a source of pride to the African-Americans who live in them, and residents are watching nervously as gentrification pushes white home-buyers into their communities. Demographic change in Inglewood since the 1970's (Maps by Michael Bader) In Inglewood, developers see an opportunity for new luxury housing close to big tech job centers near the beach. Once a whites-only enclave, Inglewood became a mostly African-American city when racial housing restrictions were lifted in the 1960s. Thousands of Latinos have moved in since. Now a light rail line and a $2 billion football stadium are under construction there, rents are going up, and people in Inglewood are waiting to see whether white people will come back. For Inglewood resident Erin Aubry Kaplan, the change would mean an increase in her home’s value but at the expense of a unique cultural space. “I got an email from my neighborhood listserve,” Kaplan says. "Someone just sent out a message: don't sell your house. Don't sell your house, stay put." LeRoy Clavon, a member of a radio controlled cars racers club that meets every weekend in the parking lot of Inglewood's Forum. (Saul Gonzalez)
28 minutes | Sep 28, 2017
I Didn’t Want to Evict You
Evictions are skyrocketing, and more and more tenants are learning to fight their landlords. At one aging apartment building near downtown Los Angeles, the new building owner went out on a financial limb to afford to buy it. The only way he can pay back his loan? Increase rents from as little as $500 a month to nearly $2,000. That means the current tenants have to go. But many of them are Central American immigrants who have lived there for decades, are related to each other, and are now gathering around Uver Santa Cruz — a tenant’s right activist determined to stay. For the amount of money his family can pay, Uver says, "There's no way we could find even a room, even a single room" to rent in Los Angeles. Each side represents financial ruin to the other. See you in court. Uver Santa Cruz and all the tenants in his building are fighting eviction. (Larry Hirshowitz) Demographic change in Rampart Village since the 1970's (Maps by Michael Bader)
26 minutes | Sep 26, 2017
All These People Moving In, New Buildings, New Apartments
Southern California was built on the sale of sunlit homes in affordable real estate developments. But the many building booms of the past century haven't been enough. In just the past 15 years, Los Angeles has added 230,000 new residents but only 40,000 new homes. The median cost of a home in L.A. has doubled in the last five years. Rent climbs ever upward. Demographic change in Hollywood since the 1970's (Maps by Michael Bader) That's led to a building boom that is utterly transforming Los Angeles. Suburban sprawl now covers all the land within reasonable commuting distance of the job centers, so L.A. is growing up instead of out. Cranes tower over skyscrapers in neighborhoods of single-story family homes. Small stucco houses in middle-class neighborhoods are priced over $1 million and once-neglected neighborhoods are quickly gentrifying.Meet Cesar Vega, whose bungalow in Hollywood is surrounded on three sides by enormous new apartment buildings. As Los Angeles becomes denser and more urban, Cesar feels like a stranger in his hometown. “I don’t see myself in a lot of the things that are happening,” he says. Most of the new apartments will rent for market rate — these days, that’s $2,500 for a two-bedroom apartment. If there’s a housing shortage in L.A. and lots of new housing is being built, shouldn’t prices be dropping? Why aren't they? Cesar Vega lives in this small Hollywood home as cranes rise around him. (Saul Gonzalez)
4 minutes | Sep 21, 2017
Los Angeles, You're Next
Season 2 will dig into how Los Angeles has gone from being the place to chase your dreams to the least affordable city in the country. Housing prices are soaring, developers and landlords see opportunity, and many longtime Angelenos are getting squeezed out. In this episode, meet some of the characters you'll hear about in the upcoming series. Season 2 is produced by KCRW and WNYC Studios and is hosted by KCRW's Saul Gonzalez. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
17 minutes | Sep 20, 2017
East New York, Did It Work?
Mayor de Blasio is running for re-election and affordable housing remains one of his signature issues. If his plan for East New York is a measure of the merits of his approach, how's it working out? Kai Wright brings us back to East New York to check in on how the Mayor's plan to leverage the force of gentrification for good is working a year and a half later.
10 minutes | Sep 19, 2016
Welcome to the United States of Anxiety
The United States of Anxiety is an in-depth look at the human stories underlying this year's presidential election. Too often, political reporting tells us how voters feel about the issues, but now why they feel that way. And in this election, just about everybody is feeling anxious about something. Poll after poll shows the vast majority of Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. And for many of them, those frustrations are rooted in economic anxiety. They feel that they're losing their grip on what's left of the American Dream. Donald Trump has emerged as the vessel through which they believe the country can turn back the clock and that they and the country can regain its greatness. But another group of people are here specifically because they think that America remains the best chance they've got to build better lives for themselves and their families, and they're willing to break the law and risk everything to build new lives here. But immigrants aren't always welcome in their adopted communities, and with immigration front and center during the 2016 campaign, they're feeling anxious about their ability to remain in the country and continue to seize their destiny in a land of opportunity. This is the story of the people whom the Trump campaign targets: both through outreach and scapegoating. And it just so happens that on Eastern Long Island, they're living side by side. Beginning September 22nd, join us in The United States of Anxiety. Subscribe today wherever you get your podcasts. The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios & The Nation Magazine.
23 minutes | May 4, 2016
There Went the Neighborhood
The team behind There Goes the Neighborhood talks about what they've learned throughout the process of making the podcast, and how to move forward in a post-gentrified Brooklyn. Where do we go from here? How do we reconcile with what now seems the inevitability of gentrification not just in Brooklyn, but nationwide?
42 minutes | Apr 27, 2016
Gentrification has many New Yorkers asking the same question: Is there still a place for me in this city? We meet Dr. Ron Dailey who's been practicing medicine in Brooklyn for two decades, all the while watching long time patients leave the city, one after another. We meet New Yorkers fighting to stay and others who have made the decision to go. And we check in with East New York, the neighborhood where Mayor de Blasio's rezoning plan was passed by city council just last week. With the wheels of gentrification already in motion, we start thinking about solutions. There are some good ideas on the table that we don't always give enough space in the conversation. Take for instance, public housing. No, not that public housing. The public housing idea that never happened. It involves going all the way back to Fiorello La Guardia -- and looking beyond the de Blasio affordable housing plan. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
35 minutes | Apr 20, 2016
Some Brooklynites are wrestling with their own role in gentrification. Changes may be welcomed, but they come with mixed emotions for many. This week we take a walk in Bed-Stuy with 14-year-old Corrine Bobb-Semple. She's grown up in the neighborhood and for the last few years she's been reconciling the changes in her neighborhood with her experiences at St. Ann's, the elite prep school in Brooklyn Heights where she is surrounded by students who are a part of the gentrification process. We'll meet a black homeowner and community organizer named Mark Winston Griffith who tells us how he landed in his home, and the conflicted security it affords him. We also meet Allie LaLonde and Emily Wilson, two 20-something new arrivals to Bed-Stuy who talk about how hard it can be to move outside the circle of gentrified coffee shops and bars. And we journey back to East New York where a community of artists that has lived there for years is bracing for change. We meet Catherine Green, who started Arts East New York because there were no arts organizations in the neighborhood. Now she's determined to let her organization, and the communities it serves, have a say in how their neighborhood is capitalized. She also introduced us to her friend, artist Rasu Jilani, who is turning the conversation away from developing economies and toward preserving ecosystems. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
37 minutes | Apr 13, 2016
Trickery, Fraud and Deception
In the fast moving world of Brooklyn real estate, for some it feels more like the Wild West – developers and investors looking to cash in on the gold rush don't always play by the rules. Meet Tia Strother, she's a young mother whose family has been living in Bedford-Stuyvesant for five generations. Tia tells us how horrifying it was to learn that her 90-year-old great grandmother was convinced to sign away the family home to a speculator. She did so for no money and with no lawyer present. Now the family is fighting to hang on to the house. And we visit Prospect Lefferts-Gardens to get the story of a vacant lot at 237 Maple Street. Neighbors – new and old – have spent the last five years transforming this one small piece of Brooklyn from a dumping ground to a thriving community garden. They put together a composting program and arranged visits for kids at a local pre-school; there were summer BBQs and weed picking parties. But all of that came to a halt one day in 2014 when Joseph and Michael Makhani showed up, claiming to own the lot. The only problem: their deed might be fraudulent. Now they are in court, battling it out with the gardeners, trying to establish their ownership of the property in order to build a five-story luxury apartment building. The gardeners and their lawyer have a plan to beat the Makhanis, but the cost of such a victory might be too high. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
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