Astoria is borough’s lone gentrifying neighborhood according to report

By Bill Parry

A new study by the NYU Furman Center shows that Astoria is the only neighborhood in Queens that is classified as “gentrifying” based on its analysis of how housing and population have changed over the past two decades. The report, released Monday, defines “gentrifying” neighborhoods as areas that were relatively low-income in 1990, but then experienced higher than median neighborhood rent growth in the following 20 years.

Under the criteria, 15 of the city’s 55 neighborhoods are classified as “gentrifying.” Astoria finished in 11th place on the list with an average rent increase of 27.6 percent between 1990 and 2010 through 2014.

“The term ‘gentrification’ is often used to describe a number of different aspects of neighborhood change,” NYU Furman Center Faculty Director Ingrid Gould Ellen said. “We wanted to create a definition that allowed us focus on dramatic rent growth, which is the change that is of greatest concern in lower-income neighborhoods.”

As for racial and ethnic changes, the report shows that gentrifying neighborhoods saw an increase in white population despite a citywide decrease. Gentrifying neighborhoods also had a larger decrease in the black population through 2014 than the city as a whole.

“As demand grows and neighborhoods become more economically and racially integrated, longtime residents may benefit from new neighborhood amenities, reduced crime rates, and higher housing values,” Ellen said. “However, rising rents threaten the long-run diversity of these communities.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.