Gentrification

Can We Bring Culture into the Large-Scale Study of Gentrification? Assessing the Possibilities Using Geodemographic Marketing Data

September 15, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Mahesh Somashekhar (University of Illinois at Chicago) | Many people think that gentrification leads to displacement, but academic research shows that is not always the case. Many impoverished households in gentrifying neighborhoods try and stay put because they hope to take advantage of the new amenities that gentrification brings, like new grocery stores or city parks. Even more, people in poverty move around a lot – due to eviction, unstable family arrangements, the struggle to find work – so it is hard to determine whether an impoverished person moving out of a gentrifying neighborhood is really moving due to displacement or for another reason. Read More

Place Attachment Fosters Collective Action in Rapidly Changing Urban Neighborhoods

September 9, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Andrew Foell (Washington University in St. Louis) and Kirk A. Foster(East Carolina University) | Urban “redevelopment” has been a buzzword for decades – from the post-war urban renewal programs that forced many low-income African Americans from their neighborhoods to modern gentrification fueled by a middle- and upper middle-class push to reduce commute times. Such redevelopment efforts, historically, have been done absent of the residents themselves who must live with the consequences. The result is often social and cultural displacement of longtime residents. Atlanta’s West End neighborhood is a good example, particularly because of its significant place in African American history and culture and recent target of economic investment. Increased development interests spurred by the Atlanta BeltLine, a roughly $5-billion-dollar green infrastructure initiative, has heightened neighborhood concerns over issues of gentrification, resident displacement, and equitable development. With potential to be a vehicle for positive community change, the BeltLine is also emblematic of a historic legacy of racialized neighborhood disinvestment and urban renewal. Read More

The Diverse Perspectives of Symbolic Displacement: Unpacking Gentrification in an Urban Chinatown

August 23, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Laureen D. Hom (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona) | Throughout my fieldwork in Los Angeles Chinatown, I was fortunate to meet many different stakeholders to try to understand how gentrification was impacting the neighborhood. As I visited different community organizations and attended public meetings, community leaders shared their different experiences being a part of Chinatown, which led to very diverse, and often conflicting, perspectives of gentrification. At one meeting held at the local elementary school, I was introduced to a city planner, and we casually talked about our observations about gentrification in Los Angeles. As we were ending our conversation, he briefly mentioned to me how they were not just looking at demographic shifts and property value changes, but were trying to “capture the sentiment” of communities. This fleeting comment stuck with me as I realized that he may have been doing that right now at this event as he briefly spoke with almost all the different community leaders. This resonated with me throughout my fieldwork as I learned more about the community – and continues as I visit Chinatown today. When I walk through the neighborhood, my understanding of an apartment complex, the public library, or shopping plaza has completely transformed from what I thought a few years ago. I associated it with certain people and their stories, that shaped my understanding and attachment to these places. Read More

Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities

June 24, 2019 // 4 Comments

Jessica Trounstine has recently published Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities (Cambridge). A fascinating empirical examination of how local governments have used the distribution of public goods and land use control to increase the wealth of white property owners at the expense of people of color and the poor. This post by Trounstine discusses the core argument of the book and some potential solutions. Her post is followed by several reactions to the book from notable scholars of local and urban politics. Read More

Changing Neighborhoods and U.S. Arts Institutions

January 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

Justin Reeves Meyer | Arts institutions, defined as organizations that support art production and consumption space (such as performing arts complexes and museums), have been a popular neighborhood amenity in a variety of cities across the United States. They are believed to improve the livability of neighborhoods and to help attract human capital (highly educated and/or wealthy residents) to their locales. But what effect do they have on differently changing neighborhoods? Do new arts institutions help stabilize neighborhoods losing residents? Do they exacerbate the displacement of vulnerable populations in gentrifying neighborhoods? My research, presented in the UAR article "Changing neighborhoods and the effect of U.S. arts institutions on human capital and displacement between 2000 and 2010,” offers evidence and some answers to these questions. Read More

Gendered Gentrification in Hong Kong: The Role of Women in Shaping One of the Most Unaffordable Urban Housing Markets

August 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

Minting Ye and Igor Vojnovic | In a recent Urban Affairs Review article we explore how women have been impacting the social and physical upgrading of neighborhoods in one of the most competitive property markets in the world. In 2016, the most expensive apartment in Asia sold in Hong Kong for US$117 million, breaking the old record that was set in that city a year earlier. At the other end of the market spectrum, purchasing an entry-level apartment is also costly, with units as small as 163 square feet selling for $500,000. Being one of the most expensive global real estate markets ensures that space is at a premium. Micro-apartments ranging between 28 square feet to 40 square feet—a fraction of the size of a parking spot—are available across the city. Read More

Light-rail Investment in Seattle: Gentrification Pressures and Trends in Neighborhood Ethnoracial Composition

July 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

Chris Hess | Public infrastructure has always shaped patterns of metropolitan growth and residential segregation. Street-car lines, followed by highways, created important corridors from cities out into the so-called “Crabgrass Frontier” (Jackson 1985). New access to undeveloped suburban areas combined with government-insured mortgages with low down-payments generated vast opportunities for housing construction. However, through much of the 20th century “redlining”, discriminatory housing covenants, and exclusionary zoning maintained a system of residential stratification preventing racial and ethnic minorities from moving outward to burgeoning suburbs. Consequently, many urban neighborhoods became racially-segregated, faced disinvestment due to housing policy favoring lending to suburban contexts, and experienced increasing “mismatch” from suburban employment growth. Read More

Racial/Ethnic Transition and Hierarchy Among Ascending Neighborhoods

May 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

Ann Owens and Jennifer Candipan | When neighborhoods’ socioeconomic status (SES) improves, does their racial/ethnic composition change? Is socioeconomic change also a process of racial/ethnic transition from minority to white? Often when minority neighborhoods are experiencing socioeconomic increases, residents and anti-gentrification activists perceive such a threat—that higher-income, mainly white newcomers will “invade” the neighborhood, potentially displacing residents and altering the neighborhood’s racial/ethnic makeup. Read More

Coffee Shops and Street Stops: Policing Gentrifying Neighborhoods

November 9, 2017 // 1 Comment

Ayobami Laniyonu | Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the concept of gentrification and how it has radically transformed neighborhoods and communities throughout America. Generally speaking, gentrification describes the transformation of areas of a city: from areas previously characterized by inadequate public services, low levels of private investment, and occupancy by poor or working class residents, to zones characterized by expanded public services, more private investment, and occupancy by well-educated, middle and upper class residents. Read More

Is ‘Gaytrification’ a Real Phenomena?

August 10, 2017 // 1 Comment

City leaders have often suggested attracting gays to neighborhoods within their cities as a remedy for urban blight. A 2013 Slate column discusses the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp who explicitly suggested that city leaders try to attract gays to Detroit to spur gentrification of decaying areas. The research literature suggests a few reasons why gays may act as “urban pioneers” who revitalize run-down areas close to downtowns. One proposed reason is that gays and lesbians may be willing to invest and reside in run-down areas to create welcoming communities in the presence of perceived discrimination elsewhere. In creating these enclaves, gays and lesbians renovate the aging housing stock and provide additional amenities to the region.

Read More