Buoyed by a booming national economy, a dramatic decline in crime, and continuing waves of immigration, New York City experienced a renaissance of sorts at the close of the 20th century. To college students who might have previously been deterred by New York’s infamous crime, dot comers who might once have drifted West, and retirees who have flocked to Florida in years past, the rejuvenation of New York made it an increasingly attractive place to live. The downside of this renaissance, however, was an increased demand for housing in an already expensive and tight housing market.

One effect of the growing housing pressure was that neighborhoods formerly considered forbidding became attractive to more affluent New Yorkers. Places like the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and Fort Greene all became popular residential destinations for the young professional class. With many affluent professionals moving in, however, communities became increasingly concerned that rising rents would push existing residents out of their neighborhoods. Some community activists even began to question the desirability of community improvement, fearing it contributes to rising rents and the displacement of low-income people.

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