3. Jargon Watch: Columbusing in real estate. Columbusing has long been used to poke fun at people "discovering" something that has existed for years whether it's a type of ethnic food or a style of music. In real estate, Columbusing is often used in gentrification stories in which people move into the neighborhood and act as if they invented it. The term is generally pejorative. These days, no one wants to be (Christopher) Columbus.
One issue that comes up in conjunction with the Columbusing of neighborhoods is the rebranding of neighborhoods by the people and developers who move in. A case in point is the recent controversy over Quarry Yards in Atlanta and what constitutes "Old Atlanta" versus "New Atlanta." Some say "New Atlanta" is a way of positioning the city for white and wealthy young Millennials.
Similarly in Denver, playwright Bobby Lefebre's new work "Northside" shines the spotlight on the gentrification of Denver's neighborhoods and the struggles that can erupt as people are displaced or priced out. He takes on the issue of neighborhood name changes as proof of Columbusing. As he puts it: "What is the creation of monikers like 'Lo-Hi' and 'RiNo' but a message that says: 'Thank you, but this is ours now.'"
How can developers position their projects without being accused of Columbusing? Share your thoughts by replying to this email to be included in an upcoming story on this ongoing concern.