The Equity Factor

8 Pictures That Capture How Cities Changed in 2014

We asked our readers to send us photos of the change they observed in their neighborhoods. Here’s what we got.

The 400 block of K Street in Northwest Washington, D.C., got quite a bit taller in 2014. (Photo by Payton Chung)

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Remember when we asked you to send us photos of the changes you saw happening in your city? Well, we’ve gone through the pictures and arrived at a small collection that we believe helps tell the story of cities in 2014. The big takeaway is growth: Our readers saw signs of growth everywhere and when they weren’t seeing growth, they were observing hauntingly beautiful architecture in need of that energy.

Fittingly, the photo above was taken in the Mount Vernon section of Washington, D.C., which this year became the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood. The image, with its comically divergent building heights, hints at some of the tension inherent in the transformations happening in communities across the United States. Unlikely neighbors must learn to co-exist, and we must take joy in the heterogeneity.

Scroll down to see other photos that tell the story of 2014.

More street art everywhere! Once a talisman of neglect, the once-subversive form was co-opted by organizations like Tallahassee Downtown to promote urban revitalization.

The shipping container trend made landfall. Everywhere from Brooklyn (pictured here) to Nashville and St. Louis, we shopped in them, dined in them and planned floating cities made out of them.

We got used to sleek, glassy facades popping up on once humble blocks. Especially in gentrifying areas like Shaw in Washington, D.C., higher-end in-fill housing transformed neighborhoods in 2014.

As cities like Philadelphia, shown in this picture, continued to struggle with large inventories of abandoned homes, we saw tens of thousands of them meet the wrecking ball in 2014. In Philly, the demolitions became ubiquitous to the point that neighbors on one block teamed up with artists to hold a funeral for one fallen home.

Photo by Bradley Dakake

People-friendly streets officially became a thing cities care about. Civic organizations teamed up with city council members and transportation officials to close off lanes to cars to make room for parklets and of course, people. Triangles Plaza in Philly’s Grays Ferry neighborhood, shown here, became a hot spot last summer.

Photo by Raina Regan

Even as the foreclosure crisis moves into the rearview mirror for many communities, cities like Indianapolis, pictured here, continued to puzzle over how to handle vacant homes.

Photo by Edquina Washington

Small cities like York, Pa., saw population numbers tick up as young people and immigrants flocked there.

Photo by Liz McEwen

The millennials aren’t so young anymore. With more young adults rejecting the notion that you have to move to the ‘burbs once you have kids, urban neighborhoods like Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine (pictured here) are becoming home to a growing number of young families, and guess what, the kids are alright.

The Equity Factor is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

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