The Evolution of the Arts in a Gentrifying Bushwick

Laura Elizabeth Dash, Fordham University


Brooklyn, New York has been undergoing gentrification at an accelerated rate since the 1990’s. Rather than young upper middle-class families moving in, there has been a change to an inflow of young, single, middle class people moving to neighborhoods where rents are still affordable and in close proximity to Manhattan. Artists are often the first residents to appear in these neighborhoods, such as Williamsburg, and now Bushwick. Since 2000, the average cost of rent in Bushwick has increased 44%, the second highest increase in Brooklyn neighborhoods after Williamsburg/Greenpoint. The income of residents in the neighborhood has doubled, from a growth rate of 8% between 1990 and 2000, to 16% between 2000 and 2010. The amount of residents living in households shared by non-family members has also increased, from 25% between 1990 and 2000, to 36% between 2000 and 2010, indicating more single people sharing households, and/or residents having less children. Between 1990 and 2000, the growth of college educated residents was about 7%. Between 2000 and 2010, that rate has practically tripled to 20%. Through qualitative research, I examine how arts gentrification has changed the face of Bushwick, Brooklyn. I analyze how gentrification is often initiated by the presence of artists flocking to an area, which attracts even more artists and other young people looking for affordable rent in famously expensive NYC. I examine art collectives who have made their mark in Bushwick as established organizations, solidifying Bushwick as an arts neighborhood. Furthermore, I explore how gentrification’s expansion in an area leads to higher cost of living, often pricing out other artists who moved there to live and work in spaces they could afford. Finally, I explore the first signs of artists moving to the neighborhood closest to Bushwick that is still affordable, Ridgewood, Queens.

Subject Area

Social research|Art Criticism|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Dash, Laura Elizabeth, "The Evolution of the Arts in a Gentrifying Bushwick" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13427174.