Atlanta’s Neighborhood’s: Cabagetown Not Accepting Gentrification



Poster showing proof of new renovations to lower income families for upper income families.

  Atlanta today has undergone a lot of changes in the sense of its neighborhoods. The neighborhoods today are seen conforming to the idea of “new and improving” neighborhoods in the Atlanta area. Conforming is the sense of adjusting one’s rules to fit in with the rest of the crowd. In this case, it’s the neighborhood’s way of becoming socially acceptable.

This happens all the time in Atlanta’s neighborhoods. In fact, majority of this conforming inside Atlanta’s neighborhoods came from the idea of gentrification. This is simply when people try to upgrade and improve a neighborhood so that it is to a more first or middle class type of feel and liking. Basically, taking people who have a lower income and replacing them with people of higher incomes. Gentrification has been happening in many areas throughout United States. In Atlanta, the gentrification is also known to be radically altered, due to the increase of Caucasians entering the area and number of African Americans being forced to leave the area. According to Zak Cheney Rice, a writer from Mic Network stated, 31% of Atlanta alone has experienced gentrification in this 21st century. Although this horrific thing has been occurring in Atlanta very frequently and very fast, there is one city in particular that I personally have seen that refuses to let this happen to them. The idea of becoming “socially acceptable” is not apart of their traditions and customs. This city is none other than Cabbagetown, Atlanta.


Picture of Cabbagetown sign

        With this being stated, throughout the rest of this analysis you will learn some of the key features of genterification, how Cabbagetown has refused to change its customs and values of the city and how this town came together to not let this happen their neighborhood. First, I will inform you on some genterification features and also the many places in Atlanta alone experiencing gentrification. Then, I will include a comparison and a contrast of other conformed places in Atlanta to the “non-conformed” Cabbagetown. Next, I will provide information about the history of Cabbagetown and how much has not changed and why Cabbagetown has been such a success from not going under gentrification.

Gentrification at its Finest

As stated above, gentrification is the overall idea of moving lower income families out of their homes for the better of upper class (wealthier) people to a more middle class/ richer feel. As such, gentrification affects an area’s demographics because this increase in middle income individuals and families often results in an overall decline in racial minorities . The history of gentrification came from a sociologist Ruth Glass around 1964 when she noticed a drastic change in lower income were replaced by wealthier people in London during this time. Over time this idea became a relationship between money and reproduction.

The process of gentrification may seem like a lot but in all reality it  is very simple. The first step is finding the right location that it said to be considered “run down.” Then people send pioneers and artist out to overlook and inspect the area to see if it is fixable and what they can do with it. Once it passes that test, the next thing is to make small adjustments to the area and raise prices of housing amenities and then finally they force people to leave their homes because of the increase of their finances.

Atlanta Places Experiencing Gentrification


Moreland Avenue Before
Moreland Avenue After

There are so many places that have already been gentrified and conformed to more upscale likings on Atlanta. Northwest Atlanta, Southwest Atlanta, South Atlanta are all places that have been affected. To be a little more specific, Moreland Avenue, which is located South Atlanta has been conformed to new conditions as seen as in the image to the right. The picture on the right shows the Moreland Avenue in 2007 when there was a single-family homes all along the strip who had a lower income and were happy with where they were, because it fit them and their price of attendance here was affordable at the time. As time passes by this street on Moreland Avenue eventually turns into what you see on the left. This image is Moreland Avenue today being under construction for higher end rentals for those wealthier people. Basically, what you can conclude from these two images is, the single-family homes that required a lower income, has been pushed out, tore down, dismantled and renovated their homes for higher rentals for people of higher incomes. Not fair, right? While this is horrific this is not just a one town thing. Like stated earlier before, Northwest and Southwest Atlanta have also experienced some gentrification. It has been stated by Shaila Dewan, A New York Times reporter, that areas in Northeast Atlanta such as Riverside, Buckhead, and Cobb County have already experienced some adaptations of gentrification, while Bankhead and Rockdale are surfacing media everywhere of new renovation projects. Another area in Atlanta that is associated with East side Atlanta, is known as the area that has the most gentrification. Places in this space include Turner Field, Georgia Dome, and Edgewood. As interesting as it is to note, Cabbagetown is located in East Side Atlanta. So, shouldn’t they be experiencing this too?


Gentrified Atlanta vs Cabbage Town Atlanta

Cabbagetown before
Cabbagetown after

It is very easy to associate Cabbagetown with the rest of East Atlanta’s gentrification problem, simply because it is located there, but in fact Cabbagetown has done little to know change within the city itself. For instance, having to visit Cabbagetown personally for a Built Environment Description, I instantly noticed the very ancient theme of the whole area. While visiting this space, and knowing absolutely nothing about it I could make some conclusions. I saw that everything in this little town did not look anything else like the rest of the gentrified “affected” Atlanta. As seen in this image on the right, this was Cabbagetown roughly around the 1880’s. As you can see it looks very ancient, and older than the houses and neighborhoods that you would see in today’s 21st century type of home. As surprising as it may sound, Cabbagetown today still looks pretty much the same. The image to the left is Cabbagetown today in the 21st century. This year was 2015 to be exact. This is the same street and the same block with the same house. With this being stated, it is clear that genterfication has not happened here.

To say that nothing has changed would be a lie, but little to nothing changed. The things that changed in this space were very small and were a change for a good cause. For instance, all different forms of art and colors were added to the space to jazz it up a bit, but no type of renovation or destruction was added to move these people out of their homes or form this town to be considered as “socially acceptable.” In contrast to other areas in Atlanta, I can say that from living in Atlanta for quite some time now I can conclude that Cabbagetown and the rest of Atlanta are very different. Cabbagetown is a unique type of difference from the rest of Atlanta. It looks like its own type of world compared to other areas and neighborhoods in Atlanta. In my opinion, I cannot associate Cabbagetown as being a part of a suburb or anything because of how unique and unbothered it is from the rest of Atlanta. The only real association of the other places in Atlanta and Cabbagetown have in common is the fact that Cabbagetown is still located East side Atlanta where gentrification is still occurring. When thinking about the rest of the cities in Atlanta I can conclude that coming together as a community can help gentrification from happening in other areas/cities in Atlanta. For instance, participate in board meetings and also do a lot of research and maybe even some protest will be beneficial. Some may ask, why Cabbagetown is so special? What’s its importance? Why aren’t they being associated with the gentrification drift? With this being stated, let’s take a look at Cabbagetown history and importance.

All About Cabbagetown


Beauty of Cabagetown today

Cabbagetown Atlanta is a very important town located Eastside Atlanta. In fact, Cabbagetown District has been documented in the United States National Register of Historic Places. It was built around the end of the Battle of Atlanta around 1981 and started out as a mill town. Cabbagetown was a very agricultural cite and was one of Atlanta’s first well-built neighborhood. Because of its importance here, it seems like gentrification will never happen here. Around the late 1990’s and early 2000s Cabbagetown became known for its art and colorful graffiti in the area. Although the houses in Cabbagetown looks the same from 137 years ago the residents who lived here have done a lot to keep the town to still have that ancient and unique appearance.

The residents here have come together as a community to prevent gentrification from happening. The people in this space took it among themselves and their community to help portray a beautiful and colorful town, with all different type of color houses street signs, and even walkways. Within this space I was also able to make a few connections as well. I noticed a diverse amount of people I the space. I saw people who were African American, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, and much more. With this being stated, From my time there, it seemed like  everyone knew each other and were happy with where they were. Walking down the bright streets of Cabbagetown everyone waved and greeted me with respect and made me feel very welcome. Its not like the rest of the places in Atlanta don’t do the same, but in fact I can hardly ever tell of place or neighborhood being diverse.  Like I mentioned earlier, this town made me feel as if I was in another world because of how happy everyone was.



In conclusion to this it is seen that there is gentrification all throughout Atlanta, but at the same time not all of Atlanta is effected by it. For instance, Cabbagetown is a town/ neighborhood in Eastside Atlanta, where majority of the gentrification happens the most. With this being stated, it is still obvious that it has not done much change to the city or its neighborhood. One reason for this is because of its importance and history to Atlanta. Not only that but how the community comes together to prevent such things from happening. It is always good to understand why some areas are being gentrified and why others aren’t. Cabbagetown is a town that I can honestly say understands their old history and knows how to benefit it and not conform.

Works Cited

Mic. “These 7 Cities Expose Exactly What Gentrification Is Doing to America.” Mic. Mic Network Inc., 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Bunn, Curtis. “10 US Cities Where Gentrification Is Happening the Fastest – Page 4 of 6.” Atlanta Black Star. N.p., 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Kahn, Michael. “Gentrification Struggles Nothing New in Atlanta.” Curbed Atlanta. Curbed Atlanta, 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Dewan, Shaila. “Gentrification Changing Face of New Atlanta.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Mar. 2006. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

“Gentrification of Atlanta.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 2017. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.

Writer, Amanda Briney Contributing. “Is Gentrification a Good Thing?” ThoughtCo. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.











Thesis : With this being stated, throughout the rest of this analysis you will learn how Cabbagetown has refused to change its customs and values of the city and how this town came together to not let this happen their neighborhood.

1st argument : Northwest Atlanta, Southwest Atlanta, South Atlanta are all places that have been affected.

-Evidence – Moreland Avenue image showing the gentrification

2nd argument : It is very easy to associate Cabbagetown with the rest of East Atlanta’s gentrification problem, simply because it is located there, but in fact Cabbagetown has done little to no change within the city itself.

– Evidence – For instance, all different forms of art and colors were added to the space to jazz it up a bit, but no type of renovation or destruction was added to move these people out of their homes or form this town to be considered as “socially acceptable.”

3rd argument : Because of its importance here, it seems like gentrification will never happen here.

– Evidence : The residents here have come together as a community to prevent gentrification from happening.


For my presentation I now know that I am going to talk about the the main arguments which are: Cabbagetown not undergoing gentrification, its comparison and contrast to other cities that have already been affected by this problem , and lastly how gentrification is most likely never going to officially affect Cabbagetown itself.

During my discussion with my classmates, they have helped me be able to include more information and research to observe if there is any other cities in East Atlanta like Cabbagetown. In other words, if there is another town in East Atlanta that has not undergone gentrification.


Annotated Bib 10

Walser, Lauren. “Three Influential African-American Architects You Should Know About | National Trust for Historic Preservation.” Three Influential African-American Architects You Should Know About | National Trust for Historic Preservation. N.p., 09 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
In this article Lauren Walser states African American Architects that everyone should know about and their contribution.  The few that she names in this article are :  Robert Taylor, Vertener Woodson Tandy,  and Paul R. Williams. She made it clear that with each of these architects they have made and gave credit when credit was due. In other words they knew where their buildings were and have originated from and continued to build off of their learnings. For some, (Robert Taylor in particular) his teaching were passed from generation to generation. He was trained from his father who was a former slave. She proved that some of his teachings ranged from libraries, residence halls, academic centers, and many more. She uses these three major architects to contrast them but to also include a comparison of all their teachings originated from Africa’s culture. This article will help me understand the actual African American architects viewpoint on the issue and how they became known to do what they love.

Annotated Bib 9

Holloway, Joseph E. “African American Architecture : A Hidden Heritage.” African American Architecture : A Hidden Heritage – N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
In this article Joseph Holloway, explained and emphasized  the importance of African American Architecture. Not only that but also how it is symbolized as a “Hidden Heritage”.  He argues that when viewing African American architects it starts to become clear that it is based off of certain specific areas. For instance he states, “material; technique, and design” are all of the areas in which African American architects has stayed the same before and after slavery, all because of African decent. He then goes on to include how many of the contributions that are being made from these particular architects still go unnoticed. Im my opinion, I agree with his explantation 100 percent. Based off of all my previous blog post it seems that only a few percentage of people actually know where majority of the architects actually originate in todays society. This article will help me qualify the different amounts of contributors to African American architects and how African architects are still being incorporated into everything.

Annotated Bib 8

Mafi, Nick. “Black Architects Who Have Shaped the World Around Us.” Architectural Digest. N.p., 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
In this article Nick Mafi discussed and incorporated the talents of a few African American architects, and how they shaped the world around us. Not only that but how they are still being used to create bigger and better things today. He also includes in this article how all of the black architects that he names has all have had teachings that has related back to Africa culture and their buildings. The four major architects that he uses in his article are :David Adjaye, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Phil Freelonand Paul Williams. In each of his descriptions about each of these architects he talks about their major buildings and how they became inspired to do what they love. With this being stated, it is clear that each of them know the low entry of African Americans in this field, but they each feel it is important to make a contribution due to their background being of African American decent. This article helped me get a better understanding of who these people actually were and why they are doing it, with such a low entry of their culture in this field.

Annotated Bib 7

Altman, Susan. “Black Achitects Have a Rich American History.” N.p., n.d. Web

In this article, Susan Altman talks about how black architects have made a huge change to our American history. Also how we tend to depend on their buildings and teachings today. Pretty much how all buildings today all have some correlation and tie back to African American architects. Susan argues that every since the plantation days (because it was the slaves who were building them) Americans have still used African American buildings and architect features to rely on new artifacts and buildings in America today. With in this article she also talks about and gives many examples of black African American people who became major architects and how people today still use their buildings to help create their own. She also uses her article in chronological order to help show the low points and high points of architecture in African American history.  This article will help show to me the different major productions of African American artifacts and how they are still being incorporated in todays artifacts.

Annotated Bib 6

Shabazz, Rashad and Muse Project. Spatializing Blackness : Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago. University of Illinois Press, 2015. New Black Studies Series. EBSCOhost,

In this article, Rashad discusses the idea of spatializing blackness. He does this by using architects in another and more creative way. He states that, “architectures of confinement, policing, surveillance, urban planning, and incarceration”, is his way of explaining the idea of spatializing blackness. He argues that this the specific gender and can have power functions of where people of African American decent live. Rasahd does research to prove how the ongoing ideal of spatializing blackness comes from black African American males and their identity in this era. This article will help show me an beneficial study that highlights the race of space, the role of containment in the sense of African American, the actual politics of mobility under conditions of their freedom, and the ways African American  men cope with and how they avoid these certain containments in architectural views. This article will also prove the reason why it is targeted against African American males and how they came to exist in the first place.

Annotated Bib Revision 5

Nelson, Louis P. “The Architectures of Black Identity: Buildings, Slavery, and Freedom in the Caribbean and the American South.” Winterthur Portfolio, vol. 45, no. 2, Summer, pp. 177-193.

In this article, Louis Nelson takes a major focus on the historic architecture in Jamaica that relates to African American culture and architecture. Louis uses many pictures in the article to visually prove to us the resemblance. He shows us how many of the architects are built and how they are similar to other culture but African American culture relates to it the most. The picture below came from this article, which shows a house from Jamaica that correlated to African American culture and architects.  He also gave many examples to prove his theory. This article helps me make many connections to the Parting Ways article because of the resemblance that both articles found in architects from African American cultures.

Annotated Bib Revision 3

McGuigan, Cathleen. “Architecture and the History of Race: The Story of the African American Record, vol. 204, no. 10, Oct. 2016, p. 21.

In this article Cathleen Mcguigan, uses her own personal experience of growing up African American to show us how it correlated to the built environment. She includes a lot of detailed information about how the African American culture was used in the built environment today, and what is not today. She provides the audience with detailed examples and situations that surfaced the Africa American community.  She also brought to my attention the fact of African American history/culture is not usually associated with the ideal “American” history.  To be more specific she made it clear by stating that the museum nowadays are not just used to describe black history, but in fact using culture to help us understand what it means. She stated, “This is a museum that uses culture to understand what it means to be an American.” This article helps provide me with knowledge from a actual primary source, due from all this information coming from her own past experiences. This also showed me that she used her past experience to connect not only being black but also a mean of just being American.