Major business development in Inglewood and certain areas of L.A. will inevitably change property values and demographics. This point was brought home recently in an L.A. Times article.
It focuses largely on View Park and the current battle over placing it in the National Registry of Historic Places. Some say the designation is a real estate ploy to get more whites to buy property there. As the L.A. Times points out, whites can no longer afford to turn their noses up at property in the black community, now that Westside prices have gone through the roof.
Whites are moving back to View Park and other predominately black areas of Los Angeles. Blacks fear the African American cultural identity in these geographic areas will become lost. Opponents of the designation feel one of Black L.A.’s best neighborhoods is about to become eaten up—overtaken by outsiders whose sole motivation is to make a profit.
Along with nearby Windsor Hills, Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights, View Park is considered “Black Beverly Hills”—a distinction which has become a source of pride for upwardly mobile African Americans. It is not only the Black L.A. cultural Mecca, but is home to Black L.A. affluence. This makes the area all the more valuable to homeowners, and something that is to be fiercely protected.
According to Zillow.com, blacks are denied home loans at twice the rate of whites. This makes it less competitive for non-black buyers to cash in on real estate in areas like View Park. It is easier for banks, flippers and non-African Americans to grab foreclosed properties.
No wonder there has been an overall drop in Los Angeles' black population, from 17% in the 1970s and 1980s to 9.6% in 2010.
Although Inglewood does not boast the higher incomes or property values of View Park, it is one of the few areas of the county that caters to African Americans. Now, with plans for a sports stadium, construction of 3,000 new homes at Hollywood Park, and other major developments, Inglewood could find itself struggling to maintain its own cultural identity.
Its current demographic of 44% African Americans and 51% Latinos (2010 U.S. Census) is certain to be upset as the money poured into new developments attracts those looking for a stake in Inglewood’s future. The City will no doubt experience an influx of new faces.
Mayor Butts recently announced that home values have risen by 51%. Still, compared to other nearby areas, Inglewood is one of the most affordable cities in L.A. County to purchase a home. The question is, how long will this opportunity last?
Change is inevitable. But that does not mean current residents have to become invisible. Holding our own require that those currently in Inglewood take a more active role in civic affairs. Residents will need to become more vocal in the community, take steps to increase the value of their property and build strong businesses. They must show up in greater numbers at community meetings and be included in the decisions that will determine how the City moves forward in the future.
It all begins with knowledge—talking to neighbors, getting involved with block clubs and business groups, and reaching out to city officials. It will take doing research on various projects in the City, and staying informed.
Gentrification is a way of life, but you can take steps to protect what is yours.