Chart of the Day: Hamline-Midway vs. Dayton, Ohio vs. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Here’s yet another chart from Scott Shaffer’s Twitter feed, which is chock full of tasty bits of data visualization. It shows Saint Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood (pop. 12,519) compared to two rather arbitrary endpoints, the city of Dayton, Ohio (pop. 141,749) and the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (pop. 32,926, where I used to live).

Here you go, according to three key metrics:

Shaffer’s point, which he makes on Twitter, is that Hamline-Midway looks a lot more like Dayton than Williamsburg. He writes that “Hamline Midway in St. Paul (which CURA designates as gentrifying) looks more like a declining rust belt town than a hot urban neighborhood.”

The chart and a must-read lengthy essay by Shaffer’s Seward Redesign colleague Renee Spillum expounding the comparison, were made in reaction to the a study released this month by CURA which offers a qualitative analysis of gentrification in the Twin Cities.

It’s a hot button topic, to be sure, and I could spend hours writing about it without making much progress on understanding what to do about urban inequality. (I’ve done this before.) Let’s just say that gentrification is a concept that holds different meanings to different people.

Still, I like the charts! Check out the report along with Spillum’s response on the CURA website.

8 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Hamline-Midway vs. Dayton, Ohio vs. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

  1. Scott

    That response is classic Renee. She is a combination of kind, thoughtful, practical, and forward thinking, all infused with a never ending desire to see justice done. The Midway neighborhood is lucky to have such an advocate.

  2. Josh

    I think the most interesting was the increase in the number of people living in poverty in Hamline-Midway. If the area is simultaneously gentrifying AND increasing the number in poverty could it possibly suggest the number of affordable housing units have increased?

    Or course it could just be that people are slipping into poverty as well but I would be curious to know more.

  3. Will

    The median rent in Williamsburg is under $1,400? Does it include the public housing? Seems…low.

  4. RW

    My grandparents lived in midway for 30 years

    I wonder if median income slightly dipped because of all the old people living on retirement income

    It would be interesting to see the age demographics. Based on anecdotal observation I would guess the majority of home owners in Midway are 65+

    1. Alf

      As a Midway resident, I don’t think your observations are up to date. There are a ton of young families in the Midway right now. I don’t think more than 1-2 of the homeowners on our block are over 65.

      Didn’t the PPL building open around 2015? I think if there’s been a rise in the percentage of low-income residents, it probably has to do with affordable housing being built–which is fine with me, because house prices have been rising, so it’s best to get more affordable housing in the mix now before increasingly wealthy homeowners accumulate the kind of NIMBY momentum that keeps lower-priced or subsidized apartments out of more affluent neighborhoods.

      I don’t really think the Midway is on a trajectory toward either Williamsburg or Dayton. I don’t see it getting gobbled up by wealthy hipsters (at least not imminently), but it is very well served by a ton of amenities, which are not in danger of disappearing.

  5. karen


    Always appreciate this overviews – I had missed the Hamline Midway discussion

    Why does Payne Avenue always strike me as a more vibrant local business street even, tho I suspect economics are similar to Hamline Midway.

    LRT seems to be getting more big projects near it, not sure about the smaller scale stuff.

  6. karen

    I think two other things get conflated with gentrification in our discussions- 1) losing traditional, more smaller scale building stock and 2) income equality in the city.

    Even fairly well-off neighborhoods seem to dislike the corporatization and modernization of their city neighborhoods. Even well off people who gladly shop at the Whole Foods at Snelby – seem to be morning the loss of the traditional building that Ogaras is in, even if bar comes back, people seem to know the new building will not have appeal and character – which is interesting because it is the old traditional buildings at the corner being remodeled, combined with some modern density, that really turned that area around. Students want places to live and so, so much of Dinky town has turned over soulless housing that has commercial space filled with chains. See Uptown.

    Of course some of that is gentrification, but most of it is taking already fairly well-off areas and upscaling and modernizing them, densifying them – making them more like the downtowns.

    And then there is income inequality, which exists and is going to be reflected in our built environment.

Comments are closed.