How did gentrification change St. Louis

The redevelopment has completely changed a problem area


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For several years now, the city of Cincinnati in Ohio has been trying its own way to deal with these conflicts. The situation there escalated 14 years ago after a white police officer shot a black teenager. Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the city center and fought street battles with the police, which then declared a state of emergency. The 2001 Cincinnati Riots were also a turning point. The city administration, together with representatives from the local economy, the black community and the police, initiated a committee which, after tough negotiations, agreed a common code and new rules of conduct for the police. Above all, however, a redevelopment plan was adopted for the downtown district Over the Rhine, which was particularly hard hit by the unrest. Originally founded by German emigrants, the neighborhood has long been considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States.

The redevelopment has permanently changed the district and more successfully than that in other black communities in American cities, such as Ferguson in St. Louis. The quarter is now hip, cafes, galleries and an art institute belonging to the university have opened. Suddenly, Over the Rhine is in the travel guides. The success is not undisputed: Some blacks have the feeling that it is not they who are changing the district, but that they are being directed - and also being ousted - from outside. However, many blacks are in favor of the redesign, which also includes spacious new playgrounds and parks. And Cincinnati has sent a team of advisors to Ferguson.

A tolerant city in one to two decades

At the same time, Cincinnati is an example of how a big city has liberalized itself in the conservative Midwest. Lots of young white people moved here. They are progressive, even towards the black neighborhood. You see a lot of black and white couples. Homosexual Americans like to live here. Companies based here such as Procter & Gamble or the airline Delta Air practice a very minority-friendly recruitment policy. Locals report that "Cincy" has become a very tolerant, open and livable city - within only one to two decades.

The demographic development may also have contributed to this. In Cincinnati, 45 percent of the population is black. Blacks and Hispanics in the United States have about twice as many children as whites. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other minorities together have long made up more than 50 percent of the US population. They will demand a fairer legal system and insist on being able to exert more influence on society. In any case, the times in which a predominantly white police force could act as a kind of occupying power vis-à-vis the black population are over. It's not just the police who have to adapt - and change.