Gentrification

Mapping Racial Capital: Gentrification, Race and Value in Three Chicago Neighborhoods

By Jesse Mumm (DePaul University) and Carolina Sternberg (DePaul University) | “Every one of you that comes into this neighborhood, it ups our property rate ten thousand dollars,” one Black woman on the West Side of Chicago tells two white newcomers walking by where she sits on her front porch. How is gentrification racial? In our new UAR article, we look at race and gentrification in three Chicago neighborhoods: Garfield Park, Pilsen and Humboldt Park, where we map changes in demographics, property value, and material conditions. Garfield Park lies at the heart of the supermajority Black West Side; Pilsen has been called the cultural center of Mexican Chicago, and Humboldt Park hosts Paseo Boricua—the Puerto Rican Promenade. We know that gentrification is not always linear, and its multiple causes not universal, but enacted through urban phenomena as disparate as toxic loans, planned gallery districts, and subway restoration. Yet this does not diminish their meanings as racial projects, and our findings here destabilize the notion that material improvement in the built environment largely determines increases in property values. While urban scholars generally recognize today that abandonment and disinvestment were socially produced and politically organized racial projects of midcentury capitalism, we owe the same critical assessment to gentrification – the major urban racial project of the present day. Read More

April 14, 2022 // 0 Comments

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

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

September 15, 2021 // 0 Comments

Place Attachment Fosters Collective Action in Rapidly Changing Urban Neighborhoods

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

September 9, 2021 // 0 Comments

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

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

August 23, 2021 // 1 Comment