Skip to content
CityLab
Economy

How to Fight Gentrification With a Comic Book

To catch the eyes of city officials, St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood is launching a small area plan in cartoon form.
The St. Paul, Minnesota, neighborhood of Frogtown turned its small area plan into a comic book.
The St. Paul, Minnesota, neighborhood of Frogtown turned its small area plan into a comic book. Courtesy of Mychal Batson and the Frogtown Neighborhood Association

Things are changing in Frogtown. A historically working-class neighborhood of single-family homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, the colorfully named enclave just north and west of downtown has welcomed waves of residents since Scandinavian, Polish, German, and Irish immigrants settled on the swampy, frog-friendly land in the second half of the 19th century. More recently, African Americans, Latinos, Somalis, Koreans, Ethiopians, and ethnic Hmong have made the area their home.

But Frogtown is transforming again, with more affluent newcomers moving to the neighborhood, in part due to the arrival in 2014 of a light rail line that connects downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis. And a jolt of economic development activity is also on the way.