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The Effects of Gentrification In Milwaukee

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Emily Mills, Flickr
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Riverwest is mostly gentrified.

The concept of gentrification at one level sounds innocuous – fixing up decaying neighborhoods.  But it often leaves bad feelings behind, as new development often pushes out longtime residents and small businesses.  And it’s frequently cast in terms of race and class.

But is gentrification always bad?  And does it always follow the same patterns.  A study put together by a national magazine looked at gentrification in the country’s largest cities and it yielded some interesting data. 

"Milwaukee ranked higher than only fifteen of the fifty cities [studied] and it had about 16% of its poorer tracks had been gentrified according to Governing magazine," says Urban Milwaukee's editor and columnist Bruce Murphy.

Murphy wrote about Milwaukee's gentrification path and he explained to Lake Effect's Bonnie North that gentrification isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"The reality is that gentrification can be a good thing. It ends up meaning more population in that neighborhood - more total population. Yes, you have the increase of middle class, but you don't necessarily push out all the poor people," he said.