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Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Charlottesville is changing.

We know you know that. After all, it’s impossible to go anywhere in the city without passing a construction site of some sort.

But not all of the changes are as obvious as the blaze orange detour signs and backhoes.

We wanted to know more about the changes that are easier to miss over time, the changes that sometimes come up in private conversations and in public meetings as the city begins to create a new, and dramatically different, zoning ordinance.

In summer 2021, I partnered with graduate students and a professor at UVA’s School of Data Science on a capstone project that took a data-driven look at how Charlottesville’s 19 neighborhoods have changed in the past decade, from demographics to housing costs.

That project was a jumping off point for what we’re sharing with you today, starting with what we’ve learned about the city overall, as well as two of its neighborhoods: Starr Hill and Jefferson Park Avenue.

Over the next few months, we will share 17 more, one about each of Charlottesville’s neighborhoods. Through history and a variety of data visualizations, including interactive and animated graphs, the stories will illustrate some of how Charlottesville has changed over the years.

We hope that Changing Charlottesville will help our communities to better understand our past and present for the sake of the future. We hope the data and history we present helps you think through the rezoning process as it moves forward, too.

A aerial view of a boulevard with roofs of buildings
Credit: Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC/Collectbritain

A decade of data tells a story of how Charlottesville’s neighborhoods are changing

Later this fall, we’ll share an interactive dashboard so you can explore as much of the data as you’d like.

Some of what the data show is striking to see in graphs and numbers. Take, for instance, the demographics of Starr Hill, up on our site now. The neighborhood, which has a long history as a center of Black culture and activity, is now almost entirely white. With the animated graph, you can watch Starr Hill’s Black population dwindle — something you might have missed as it was actually happening.

A restaurant window shows a patron inside, a reflection of two people holding hands on the outside and logos for “Maya.”
Credit: Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC/Collectbritain

In less than a decade, more than 100 Black residents moved out of Starr Hill

In the Jefferson Park Avenue neighborhood, the amount of housing has increased, but the population has not. And there’s a reason for that.

A single-story home with a small green lawn, with a larger apartment building behind it.
Credit: Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC/Collectbritain

In Jefferson Park Avenue, UVA and the city of Charlottesville are finding ways to live together

We’ll add neighborhoods and more data features each week, so bookmark the introduction and, if someone forwarded you this email, subscribe to get updates.

This project has taken more than a year to get off the ground. It was reported by me and Evan Mitchell and edited by Angilee Shah. Andrew Shurtleff took the beautiful photos of the neighborhoods, Jonathan Kropko edited and reviewed the data, and Ashley Harper designed the look of it all.

Have feedback, or want to tell us about your neighborhood? Reply and let us know what’s on your mind.

Thanks for joining us,

Erin O’Hare, neighborhoods reporter

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I'm Collectbritain's neighborhoods reporter. I’ve never met a stranger and love to listen, so, get in touch with me here. If you’re not already subscribed to our free newsletter, you can do that here, and we’ll let you know when there’s a fresh story for you to read. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of you.