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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines gentrification as the transformation of neighborhoods from low value to high value. This process can lead to displacement of long-time residents and businesses due to rising rents, mortgages, and property taxes.

In 2017, Realtor magazine rated Charleston the "fastest-gentrifying" city in the US. The north end of the peninsula, which was once home to many black neighborhoods and communities, has become ‘gentrification central’. Though the root causes of gentrification remain a complex issue, the main drivers in Charleston include the city's growing tourism industry, increasing demand for housing in desirable areas, and a lack of affordable housing options. As a result of these factors, many long-time residents, particularly those from low-income and minority communities, have been pushed out of their neighborhoods as property values and living costs have risen. Since the 1990s, the demographic makeup of the area has shifted from roughly two-thirds Black to two-thirds White, resulting in a 55% decrease in the Black population. This evidence is bolstered by a 2020 Stanford study, which found that minority communities are disproportionately affected by the negative effects of gentrification compared to their white counterparts.

Overall, while the city of Charleston is experiencing economic growth and prosperity, it is important to consider the impact of gentrification on the residents and communities who have been there for a long time. The loss of historical and cultural sites that are significant to the city's African American community, as well as the displacement of residents from these communities, has resulted in a loss of community identity, as well as cultural heritage, which is part of the city's history. Efforts to address this issue must include the creation of affordable housing options, preservation of historical and cultural sites, and the protection of the rights of long-time residents.

Locations selected encompass the upper peninsula (gentrification central). The 24” x 24” reflective aluminum signs are mounted alongside current traffic signage in prominent locations to maximize visibility. County traffic counts suggest more than 140,000 commuters will be exposed daily.


  • I-26 E / Rutledge Ave.

  • I-26 E  / Morrison Dr. – E. Bay St.

  • I-26 E / Meeting St. – Downtown

  • I-26 W / Romney St.

  • 17 S (Septima Clark Pkwy) / King St.

  • 17 S (Ravenel Bridge) / Morrison Dr.

  • 17 N (Septima Clark Pkwy) / Line St.

  • Cannon St. / President St.

Signs of the Times


“Gentrification, at its deepest level, is really about reorienting the purpose of cities away from being spaces that provide for the poor and middle classes and toward being spaces that generate capital for the rich.”

― Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood

cannon st. / ashley ave.

Line St_edited.jpg

“And in every afflicted city, the story is the same: luxury condos, mass evictions, hipster invasions, a plague of tourists, the death of small local businesses, and the rise of corporate monoculture.”

― Jeremiah Moss, Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul

Septima Clark Pky / Line St.


us 17 s - mORRISON DR.


Septima Clark Pky - king St.

Image by Johan Mouchet

i - 26 W / romney street

 "Gentrification is simply a new form of the same process that created the suburbs; it's the same age-old, racist process of subsidizing and privileging the lives and preferred locales of the wealthy and white over those of poor people of color. The seesaw has just tipped in the other direction. Gentrification is not integration but a new form of segregation. The borders around the ghettos have simply been rebuilt.”

― Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood

Image by Daryan Shamkhali

“What happens to a city when artists, teachers, lawyers, and anyone else making less than $100,000 cannot afford to live in it? Where will the people making coffee for the tech workers in the Mission live if only 4 percent of one-bedrooms in the neighborhood cost below $2,500 a month, making the area essentially off-limits to working-class people?"

― Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood

i-26 E / morrison dr. - E. bay st.

Image by Nathan Anderson

The question is, how do I stop it when the process is so much larger than me and has already progressed so far? Mass displacement means that there are fewer and fewer people coming to Brooklyn now know only that it's hip and expensive and has good brunch. As Sarah Schulman writes, gentrifiers 'look in the mirror and think it's a window, believing that corporate support for and inflation of their story is in fact a neutral and accurate picture of the world.'

Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood

I-26 E / Meeting St. – Visitors Ctr - Downtown

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