The resolution of a community-dividing dispute in a San Francisco neighborhood has lessons for JP, one sociologist told the crowd at the most recent JP Forum. Beth Roy, a longtime mediator in the Bay Area, gave a talk titled, “Mediating Gentrification: How One Community Created Unity Out Of Divisiveness.”
Roy shared how she helped mediate an eight-year dispute in her own changing neighborhood of Bernal Heights. The San Francisco neighborhood is similar to JP, with an "urban village" feel, according to the San Francisco Gate. In 1980 the community branch library created vibrant murals on its exterior walls. And 30 years later, the adored branch library was being renovated.
Why do people move to London? Why do they choose to leave? #londonischanging http://t.co/TQ1wE0lm3A @duartecg pic.twitter.com/6CAxdjqyeF— OpenCity Projects (@OpnCty) March 3, 2015
An ocean separates Jamaica Plain and London, England, but both areas share an air of change. A project running in London has caught our attention and we’re replicating it in JP. Rather than promoting companies and services, two digital billboards in Central London are promoting its people, the changing city and an enhanced understanding of the rapid change.
The fifth annual "State of Our Neighborhood" forum took place Thursday at the Kennedy School. This year's gathering focused on affordable housing. The format was designed to get specific commitments from politicians who represent JP on City Council and on Beacon Hill. More than 200 people attended the event, which was organized by JP New Economy Transition. [View the story "As It Happened: 'State of Our Neighborhood' 2015" on Storify]
Finally, there's good news for seniors who own their own homes and want to stay in JP. On Tuesday, Mayor Marty Walsh signed a "home rule petition" to give tax deferrals to long-term home owners. It could be part of a solution for some in the battle against rising property costs. So how does this affect qualifying residents of JP? Well, if passed in the state legislature, qualifying long-term homeowners will be able to more easily afford remaining in their homes by deferring property taxes.
Boston.com talked to real estate company Redfin about a new survey that bears out what many would-be JP homeowners will tell you: Our neighborhood is brutal for buyers. Redfin puts 02130 as the fourth-most competitive Zip Code in the nation. That's behind three Zips in San Francisco. Nearly three out of four homes sold here last year brought in multiple offers. And 60 percent of sales went for more than asking.
Damaris Pimentel, owner of Ultra Beauty Salon, colors Rose Moorachian's hair. November 2014. Credit: Esther Ro
Running a small business is no easy task. Just ask longtime Jamaica Plain entrepreneurs Damaris Pimentel and Patria Valenzuela. The two business pioneers face the challenge of thriving in the midst of a gentrifying neighborhood.
An Egleston Square business owner facing eviction said a tentative deal allowing him and five other entrepreneurs to stay would send a ripple of positive effects beyond Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. The six remaining long-time tenants of 3152-3160 Washington St. — all Latinos — have reached a verbal agreement with new landlord City Realty that may allow them to continue operating in Egleston Square. One of those business people is Santo Anibal Ramirez of Anibal Color Studio. "Though it was just a verbal agreement, that's how all resolutions start.
Santo Anibal Ramirez, owner of Anibal Color Studio, talking about closing his business due to the rise in rent. Credit: "Ain't No One Can Afford This"
People pour their sweat and souls into things they believe are worth their time. Helen "Homefries" Matthews, a Jamaica Plain resident of 13 years, dedicates her time to "Ain't No One Can Afford This," a public video project that will share the stories of JP residents and business owners who have been or are being priced out. I sat with Homefries for about two hours in Café Bartlett Square. As she spoke about her community and its residents, I saw the fervor in her eyes with which she is diving into this video project full-fledged.
A new study confirms what you already know: Jamaica Plain is full of creative types. Demographer Richard Florida argues this "creative class" represents a new kind of class divide. Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and one of the study’s authors, says that class is an inescapable presence in America. And he makes a point that class is embedded in our geography; there’s a clear relationship. “The Divided City: And the Shape of the New Metropolis” intends to help people better understand the relationship between class and geography since it’s an inevitable factor in our way of life, according to the study.