The Board of Zoning Adjustments is one of the main overseers of development decisions in Columbus. Yet, there is very little public knowledge or awareness of it. So, I wanted to find out more about about this small, but powerful board.
Columbus is currently home to 18 historic districts, and some of the biggest historic districts are also among the most desired areas in Columbus. With increasing development, some view historic districts as an added layer of oversight and resident input. But on top of slowing development, those protections can increase home values and make them unaffordable for some.
In 2015, Columbus was named the second-most economically segregated city in the U.S. by a University of Toronto study that analyzed the largest cities’ concentrations by income, occupation and education level. But it’s been a minute since that study was released, so we decided that this story needed an update. We created the map below showing income levels and how concentrated they are using census data on income for 2017 (not including occupation or education level like the original study did). The colors on the map above show what income level has the highest percentage of people at that level in a census tract, according to 2017 data from American FactFinder. The transparency of the areas shows how much income varies.
Truly, I don’t come from wealth. My maternal grandparents grew up together in the Near East Side of Columbus in the 1950s and 60s in a housing project, formerly known as the Bolivar Arms housing project. They lived there for much of their childhood, but both left in adulthood. My grandfather returned to the Near East Side in the early 2000s, but the neighborhood and the Columbus that they spoke of experiencing as young adults is not what we see today.
A new report raises concerns that central Ohio is not building enough housing, claiming it is currently adding 6,000 too few housing units each year to meet projected demand. Columbus will need 14,000 new housing units annually to support its increasing population, but is currently building only 8,000 units, according to a housing study recently published by the Building Industry Association (BIA) of central Ohio. The study was prepared by local real estate market research firm Vogt Strategic Insights (VSI) and presented during a panel discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s weekly luncheon on Dec. 12. One of the major implications of underbuilding highlighted during the event was that housing demand is expected to exceed supply, which could further drive up housing costs.
ByRis Twigg, Senior Visuals Editor and Senior Editor |
Ask anyone who knew the Short North two decades ago, and you’ll probably hear the word gentrification come up. Although a well-known concept in the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco — and increasingly in Columbus — gentrification is still a vague, but highly controversial concept even more than half a century after the term was first coined. A CHANGING DEFINITION FOR CHANGING NEIGHBORHOODS
Although many have tried nailing down a formal explanation, the definition for gentrification has evolved nearly as much as the cities and neighborhoods it aims to describe. The term gentrification was introduced in 1964 by Ruth Glass, a London sociologist. She wrote:
“One by one, many of the working class neighbourhoods of London have been invaded by the middle-classes—upper and lower.
Take a walk in nearly any neighborhood around Columbus and you’ll see “For Sale” signs in front of homes with freshly painted trim and manicured yards. These homes are often scattered amongst older homes, some of which are vacant. The stark contrast in the city’s development is clearly demonstrated when these two very different types of homes sit just feet away from one another. Tucked away from the busiest streets — where development often looks like a new high-rise complex or a local business being pushed out — signs of development also show up in residential areas. New houses are built, old homes are renovated and neighborhoods are rebranded as “up-and-coming.” In some neighborhoods, deemed “revitalized” by cities and developers alike, new mixed-use developments and flipped homes force the prices of nearby homes to increase.