Gentrification is the process in which people, usually from vulnerable communities, are displaced from their homes in traditionally disinvested neighborhoods due to real estate investment1. Millions of renters face forced evictions due to this every year in the US; the Hispanic and Black communities are especially affected1. Displacements can lead to stress and depression, adverse health impacts, disruptive academic performance, intensified poverty conditions, and long-term financial stress1. Waterfronts and bay areas worldwide used to be working-class spaces from which vulnerable people had been displaced lately due to real estate investment11.
Boston is the 3rd most gentrified city in the US2. Residents in historically working-class neighborhoods such as East Boston, Roxbury, Mattapan, and South Boston cannot pay their rents because the prices keep rising due to real estate investment2.
Boston Properties (29.85% real estate market share in Boston10) is one of the companies that had been enabling gentrification due to its investment in historically working-class neighborhoods creating high-end buildings in the bay area3. 4 of its 55 Boston projects (out of 193 in the US)5 are located in Boston Harbour, waterfront, and Back Bay and occupy +491K m2 where prices had doubled in the last 5 years3,4. Boston’s home prices had increased by 66% in the last 10 years, while US overall price increased only 19%, and the bay area in Boston is the priciest neighborhood6. The Back Bay in Boston is now one of the most expensive places to rent an apartment, with an average cost of $3,270, which is 66% more expensive than renting a similar place in Waltham, Boston’s most affordable neighborhood7. 16,427 people live in Back Bay, 2% of Boston’s population8,9.
Gentrification is a problem that affects the most vulnerable and their opportunities to go out of poverty. Through its investment in the bay area, Boston Properties creates gentrification in Boston, reinforcing the problem.
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