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Gentrification and Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man: Houston Matters for Thursday, December 11, 2014

Back in August of 2013, Houston Matters met with longtime residents of Houston’s Montrose neighborhood to discuss how their community had changed over the years. Among the major topics of discussion was gentrification. The residents noted how development had changed the personality and affordability of their neighborhood. But they didn’t necessarily see gentrification as a bad […]

Back in August of 2013, Houston Matters met with longtime residents of Houston’s Montrose neighborhood to discuss how their community had changed over the years. Among the major topics of discussion was gentrification. The residents noted how development had changed the personality and affordability of their neighborhood. But they didn’t necessarily see gentrification as a bad thing.

For many, gentrification is a mixed bag. New developments in a neighborhood prompt new residents to move in, while some longtime residents move out. Blight is replaced with something new and shiny, but some historically or culturally significant landmarks can be lost along the way. A community may be economically revitalized but may lose some of its uniqueness.

On today’s Houston Matters, we welcome your thoughts about the pros and cons of gentrification. We hear from Houston resident Anis Shavani, the author of a recent article blasting such efforts here in Houston as a “sellout to developers” (and photographer of the images above). And we talk with Bill Fulton, an urban planning expert, and the Director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Fulton is the former planning director of San Diego, and the former Mayor of Ventura, California.

Also this hour: We discuss the history of hate groups in Houston with Mark Pitcavage, the Director of Investigative Research, and Director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League.

Plus: The music of Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man. The Houston band plays music that fuses country, rockabilly, and conjunto, and highlights both the accordion and steel guitar. Gaitan and his band perform a couple of songs in Houston Public Media’s George P. Geary Performance Studio.

(Images Courtesy: Anis Shivani)

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