This post will draw heavily from the City of Edmonton's Alberta Avenue Neighbourhood Housing Profile (2014). A PDF download of that document can be found here. Please note that all conclusions drawn from the data presented are mine, and not the City of Edmonton's.
The purpose of this report was to:
...allow stakeholders and the City of Edmonton to identify specific housing policies, programs and pilot projects with strong potential for improving neighbourhood housing conditions in five inner city neighbourhoods: Alberta Avenue, Central McDougall, Eastwood, McCauley and Queen Mary Park. (Page 4)
Furthermore, the report states that:
...the neighbourhood is transitioning from a typical “inner city” to again become a desirable place to live and raise children. Housing is more affordable here than in most of Edmonton and more families are moving here. Revitalization efforts, coming from the community, arts groups and the City, are making neighbourhoods such as Alberta Avenue more attractive to families. (Page 6)
The data presented below can be found on on pages 19-20 of the report.
Alberta Avenue average household income grew by 64.4% from 2001 to 2011 and is $60825/year (2011). Edmonton's average household income in 2011 is $90340.
The household income ranges are as follows:
- 29.6% earned less than $30000 in 2011, down 50.5% from 2001.
- 27.3% earned between $30 & $60000 in 2011, down from 30.1% in 2001
- 43% earned more than $60000 in 2011, up from 19.4% in 2001
- According to Stats Canada after-tax low-income measure, 18.7% of Alberta Avenue residents are considered low-income.
Housing data for Alberta Avenue can be found on pages 24-27 of the report.
From 2001 to 2011, the average monthly rent has increased $353 to $887 per month. The average resale price for a house in Alberta Avenue increased $104 410 from 2005 to 2013. In 2013 the resale price is $225 188. The average duplex sells (in 2013) for almost $293 000, up 86.2% from $157167 in 2005. There are, as of 2010, 274 non-market affordable housing units, representing 6.1% of Alberta Avenues units.
Households earning minimum wage ($9.95/hr or $20,696/year), or collecting social assistance such as Alberta Works ($323/month core shelter payment for private housing) would not be able to afford the average rent or resale house price for this neighbourhood. (Page 29).
Summary and Conclusions
In the period from 2001 to 2011, the number of households earning over $60K in the neighbourhood of Alberta Avenue increased by about 24%, while at the same time, those earning less then $30K decreased by 50%.
Also from 2001 to 2011, rent has increased 60% and the resale price for the average house has gone up 86.4% and for a duplex, 86.2%.
By these metrics it seems that lower income people are being displaced by wealthier Edmontonians in (on?) the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood. This is in line with the conclusions of the report, and with the language used to describe the changes occurring in Alberta AvenueI. Further more, specific language such as "...transitioning from a typical “inner city” to again become a desirable place to live and raise children (page 4)" imply that gentrification is not only occurring, but that is is a desirable outcome.
While gentrification may be inevitable, there are both positive and negative outcomes.
The tension between the positives and negatives of gentrification will be explored further.
PLEASE NOTE: I am looking for specific policy options that Canadian cities have in place that curb or support gentrification. Please drop me a note or leave a comment with a link if you have any insight into this. Thank you!