T-learning # Idiom
Speak Like a Native

the SoHo effect

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) cultural gentrification of an area

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

The SoHo effect is a term used to describe artist-led gentrification. Homes occupied by artists turn an area into a safe residential neighbourhood for affluent people to move into. But with rising demand, prices begin to rise, making the area unaffordable for the artists who lived in the neighbourhood in the first place. Many "arty" neighbourhoolds suddenly sprang up in SoHo, New York, in the 70s and early 80s .

The name "SoHo" refers to the area being "South of Houston Street", and was also a reference to Soho, an area in London’s West End. It was coined by Chester Rapkin, an urban planner and author of The South Houston Industrial Area study, also known as the "Rapkin Report". This began a naming convention that became a model for the names of emerging and re-purposed neighborhoods in New York such as TriBeCa for "Triangle Below Canal Street", DUMBO ("Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass"), NoHo ("North of Houston Street"), Nolita ("North of Little Italy") and NoMad ("North of Madison Square"), among others.

French translation

l’effet SoHo


Examples in context

‘Is affordable artist live/work housing the new normal ?

In cities across the U.S., one of the most potent forces for urban renewal is the intrepid, resourceful, indefatigable artist. A building full of them, in fact. But for the artists, there isn’t always a happy ending. In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this. In search of inexpensive spaces in which work, artists seek out underutilized buildings—often, old warehouses or other industrial structures in sketchy neighborhoods—with low rents, zero amenities, and lots of room to make messes and masterpieces. In exchange, they’re left alone.


The neighborhood becomes a go-to hot spot of creativity and vitality. Restaurants, bars and coffee shops move in next door to feed and water the artists and the visitors, art collectors and other creatives who explore the area. Property values begin to rise. Eventually, the artists are priced out of the community they helped create. So they find another run-down building in an iffy neighborhood and start again. The story even has a name : The SoHo Effect.’

rapidgrowthmedia.com, 14 Jan. 2017


’The Real Deal : Nonprofit may spare KC artists the ’SoHo effect’

The arts have been a precipitant for economic development in urban neighborhoods in Kansas City and other metro areas throughout the country.
But unfortunate consequences of that have included escalating rents and property values that ultimately force out the artists lofts and galleries that made neighborhoods cool in the first place.
Call it gentrification or the ’SoHo effect,’ the phenomenon already is at play in the Crossroads Arts District, where the $40.7 million ARTerra apartment high-rise...’

Breaking Property News, 23 March 2017


Everyday usage

The article investigates how to avoid the SoHo effect in Baltimore.

Following the SoHo effect, in San Francisco, the area South of Market Street is called SoMa. The part of town North of the Panhandle is known as NoPa.

b) economic impoverishment of an area

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c) intensive building in an area

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