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i don't know if they exist or not, but are there places in urban america where if they would gentrify, they would destroy their edgy but authentic nature and actually harm their cities by the loss of their character and perhaps by the loss in visitors due to that loss of character?

i'm thinking of places that still have some of the grit left, are valued by the city, but that a housing boom hasn't taken place to make them hot neighborhoods.

do any neighborhoods in US cities match this description.
 

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I think your description can be applied to just about any cultural district like Chinatown.
 

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In Wilmingotn, the gentrification of Little Italy is upsetting a lot of people. Blacks are moving into Little Italy as the Italians move out or die off. The older residents are mad that Italians will be outnumbered in their own neighborhood in the next few years. Of course, the main problem why the Italians aren't replenishing themselves is because immigration has died down a lot since the 40's and 50's, so there are no more Italians coming over here and settling down with their own.

Is this the same in other cities? Are any other ethnic neighborhoods becoming generic neighborhoods?
 

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Is this the same in other cities? Are any other ethnic neighborhoods becoming generic neighborhoods?
In Toronto it's not so much that ethnic neighbourhoods are becoming generic neighbourhoods, it's the fact they're undergoing 'ethnicity' changes I guess you could say. Chinatown is becoming more and more 'Asian' and less and less Chinese, with large numbers of Vietnamese and Philipino immigrants settling in the area. Corso Italia, the more 'Italian' section than Little Italy, is slowly becoming more Portugese. Same thing in Manhattan where Chinatown has almost completely swallowed up Little Italy.

What can I say? My people are like one big, yellow storm cloud.
 

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Very true, there are too many traditional neighborhoods in New York, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Seattle that are losing their authentic character to gentrification.

African Americans moving into “Little Italy”, as in Wilmington, probably wouldn’t be perceived as “gentrification” so much as simply racial-ethnic transformation. A few cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland still boast Little Italies.

And then, many older cities and towns in Upstate NY, New Jersey, and Connecticut remain so Italian American that there is no need for an official designated “Little Italy” as in say, St. Louis’s Murray Hill.

Like the Little Italy in lower Manhattan, San Francisco’s North Beach, as in NYC’s Little Italy, has become largely Chinese, and more recently more gentrified. Yeah, I’ve noted that in Toronto the Little Italies have become largely Portuguese. No doubt, more Brazilians and Cape Verdians will move in.

Of course the Italian immigration to the US peaked in the early 20th century, so these older ethnic enclaves fade out with the passage of generations. What’s interesting is how as Italy has become a significant immigration magnet, Chinatowns as well as Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Somali, Ethiopian, and West African enclaves have sprouted in cities from Milan to Rome.
 

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Coconut Grove in Miami. Specifically, the part that was "nice" (east of 32nd Ave) ~10-15 years ago. I used to go party there every weekend. There were dozens of bars & clubs, and it was just a cool, fun area to hang out in. Over the past 10 years, the soaring property values have pushed just about all the bars and clubs out, and now it's barely a shell of its former self. Even the (now very, very wealthy) people who live there complain about how almost all the stuff that motivated them to move there in the first place is gone now. During the week, the streets leading to Cocowalk are a ghost town now, because the restaurants where you actually coud go midweek for cheap pizza or something like that are all replaced by expensive bistros suitable only for power lunches and romantic weekend dinners.

Sadly, the same thing is happening to South Beach. Twenty year old aspiring supermodels? Twentysomethings in general? Gone (as residents, anyway). There are a few left, but even in a city that draws people from around the world, the supply of kids with really rich parents who'll pay their $3,600/month rent so they can afford to live there on a waitress' salary is finite. And the people who moved there 15 years ago (when it was right on the cusp of becoming nice, but still had plenty of edginess left and was still fairly affordable) are selling their condos and leaving in droves. The edgy atmosphere they loved is vanishing daily, and they can take the $600,000 they'll get for the condo they bought for $150,000 and buy a fairly huge loft, or real house with real garage, in Miami's next upcoming neighborhood: the upper Eastside. And in the upper Eastside, the prostitutes who used to be everywhere along Biscayne Boulevard are slowly disappearing, because the old motels where they did most of their business are getting demolished and being replaced by new luxury condos on a daily basis.
 

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For better & worse, gentrification really has had a big impact on many Miami neighborhoods & suburbs over the past decade.

Overall, Miami, long one of the poorerst cities, has certainly become a lot more prosperous. Yet many residents have been left behind or displaced. In that respect, South Florida's following the pattern of other coastal regions.

It'll interesting though to watch just how the apparently big South Florida condo glut might impact Miami's real estate market & the pace of gentrification.
 

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The Mission in San Francisco is a good example. Right now it's reached a good balance of gentrification and authenticity. Maybe it could be pushed a little further... but not much. It is already a hot spot for young, "cool" people to live in the City. There are some amazing new places to eat, nice boutiques, great shopping, convenient to BART and Muni--I can see why it's so popular. But as of right now it's still solidly Latino--right next to some of the hip, new, $40-an-entree restaurants, you'll find $5-a-burrito taquerias that have been around for years. It would really be a loss for the City if those places were pushed out, and the people who gave the Mission all its famous wall murals and distinctive flavor were priced out of the neighborhood.
 
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