Neighborhoods

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

How City Politics is Organized in Space in Chicago, Toronto, and London

January 22, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Zack Taylor (University of Western Toronto), Jan Doering (McGill University), and Dan Silver (University of Toronto) | Sociologists and geographers have long placed space and place at the center of their analyses. They have shown that people’s identities and attitudes are inflected by their social and physical contexts—who their neighbors are and what kind of place they live in—although they have not always extended this to politics. Studies of urban politics, on the other hand, have focused on individual characteristics such as race and gender rather than space or place. In their important study of exit polls in American big-city elections, Trounstine and Hajnal (2014) find that race overwhelms all other factors. Elections in large American cities are predominantly contests between cohesive groups defined by race. Read More

Recidivism and Neighborhood Governance

October 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

Michael Craw and Tusty ten Bensel | Prisoner re-entry and recidivism pose significant challenges for many of our most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ex-offenders face such disadvantages as weakened family and social relationships, outdated skills, stigma in the labor market, and psychological trauma from prison experience. The social isolation and economic vulnerability that ex-offenders face spills over into their neighborhoods, reinforcing neighborhood poverty and weakening local social institutions. At the same time, neighborhood poverty and other forms of disadvantage create barriers to successful re-entry and make it more likely that an ex-prisoner will re-offend. These findings lead many researchers to conclude that cycles of incarceration and re-entry reinforce neighborhood disadvantage in many communities. 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

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods

December 4, 2018 // 0 Comments

Mike Craw | Two recent experiences have led me to conclude that we need to go further in analyzing the effect of neighborhood-level institutions on racial segregation across urban neighborhoods. As a board member for the University District Development Corporation (UDDC) in Little Rock, I participated in a decision last year to extend the UDDC’s boundaries to include a neighborhood with significantly lower income and a larger nonwhite population compared to that of the University District. By including this neighborhood within the University District, the UDDC is in a position to organize responses to physical blight and crime that spillover into the University District, improving confidence of homeowners in both communities.  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

Putting Culture On The Map: Media Discourse and the Urban Growth Machine in Koreatown, Los Angeles

March 29, 2018 // 0 Comments

Brady Collins | Over the last decades, culture has become an essential ingredient in the economic development strategies of cities around the world. In this context, the development and promotion of ethnic neighborhoods—e.g. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Harlem—is a strategy for revitalizing diverse urban areas. The local newspaper is a key actor in this process: it represents and promotes a city’s cultural assets, and in doing so shapes the way readers perceive of different communities. Given the tastes and preferences of today’s young urban professionals, “hipsters”, and tourists--urban environments characterized by ethnic diversity, authentic cuisine, and unique cultural experiences--these representations have the power to attract new capital and residents to immigrant communities.  Read More