Sociology Index


Urban gentrification is a process of change in the social and economic condition of neighborhoods, where poorer original residents are replaced by newcomers from middle class and professional groups. Urban Gentrification is frequently discussed in urban sociology. Urban Gentrification has gained attention over the last century, as sociologists attempted to explain the influx of middle-class people to cities and neighborhoods and the displacement of lower-class working residents. Urban gentrification causes demographic transition, like increase in the median income, reduction in household size, and a decline in the proportion of particular groups. Urban Gentrification occurs when wealthier people buy or rent property in low-income or working class neighborhoods, driving up property values and rent.

While it brings money into urban areas, it often comes at the expense of poorer, pre-gentrification residents who cannot afford increased rents and property taxes. Urban gentrification brings change in an urban area associated with the movement of more affluent individuals into a lower-class area.

Urban gentrification, greentrification, gated communities, and studentification coexist. Exploring the concept of urban gentrification from an urban perspective will be useful in order to better understand how the term and concept 'urban gentrification' can appropriately be applied to non-metropolitan areas and rural social research.

U.S. regions vary in general pattern of urban gentrification: cities in the South and Midwest exhibited urban gentrification over the period 1990-2000, whereas urban gentrification was characteristic only of the Northeast over the period 1980-1990. Finally, urban gentrification is accompanied by increases in the number of households, as well as changes in residential demographic composition. Urban Gentrification “has become shorthand for an urban neighborhood where muggings are down and espresso is roasted,” wrote Times reporter Andrea Elliot.

Urban Gentrification Abstracts

Gentrification: Concept Commonalities and Conflicts in Urban Studies and Implications for Immerging Rural Studies. Michelich, Kathy, Annual meeting of the Rural Sociologiy Society. Abstract: 'Urban Gentrification' refers to the physical, economic, and cultural phenomenon when lower income, working-class communities are transformed into more affluent communities as a result of the in-migration of higher-income residents. Gentrification has been a subject of extensive interest but also of considerable debate among those studying social interaction in urban areas for over forty years. Rural areas have been, and continue to be, impacted by gentrification although the studies are newer and far less extensive. This paper examines the basic concept of urban gentrification. Contrasting the urban definitions of urban gentrification and the complexities presented in urban literature with recent rural studies on the concept will provide a measure of how rural sociologists are using the term and what parts of the concept of urban gentrification are being explored in non-metropolitan settings. Based on the literature review, differences of urban gentrification and rural gentrification will be noted and further research proposed. 

For gentrification? - Tim Butler. Abstract: I argue that gentrification, despite the many arguments over its continuing validity as a concept, retains its key importance in understanding processes of class change. For some it is a process of colonising the city, for others a manifestation of belonging; for some the concept can be used as a radical critique of neoliberalism. Urban gentrification needs to decouple itself from its association with the deindustrialisation of metropolitan centres such as London and from its associations with working-class displacement. The concept of urban gentrification functions as an important way of understanding the mediations between global processes and flows. With the decline of social class as providing an overall explanation of cultural, social, and spatial behavior, this notion of urban gentrification as a form of elective belonging has considerable potential for uniting geographical and sociological approaches to agency and structure.

Displacement or Succession? - Residential Mobility in Urban Gentrifying Neighborhoods - Lance Freeman, Columbia University.
This article examines the extent to which urban gentrification in U.S. neighborhoods is associated with displacement by comparing mobility and displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods with mobility and displacement in Mobility similar neighborhoods that did not undergo urban gentrification. The results suggest that displacement and higher mobility play minor if any roles as forces of change in urban gentrification of neighborhoods. Demographic change in urban gentrification of neighborhoods appears to be a consequence of lower rates of intra neighborhood mobility and the relative affluence of in-movers.

Postrecession Urban Gentrification in New York City - Jason Hackworth, University of Toronto. Although multiple authors have identified changes to urban gentrification since the early 1990s recession, there is not yet a composite sketch of the process in its contemporary form. The author synthesizes the growing body of literature on postrecession urban gentrification. The literature points to four fundamental changes in the way that urban gentrification works.

Urban Renewal to Gentrification: Artists, Cultural Capital and the Remaking of the Central City - Aaron Shkuda. Dissertation Abstract: While scholars have explored the contemporary state of gentrification and its consequences, few have examined its historical roots. Urban Gentrification was not simply the result of an inevitable movement of capital from areas of high value to low, nor was it the unavoidable consequence of the dislike of certain groups for suburban living. Urban Gentrification relied on the labor and creativity of artists, the success and popularity of New York art, the city’s deindustrialization and a political climate that favored residential development at a time of perceived crisis. Urban Gentrification occurred because artists created a new type of housing, the loft, in buildings that industries abandoned. The increased demand for lofts encouraged real estate investment and, ultimately, a city policy that allowed for urban gentrification of other loft areas throughout the city.

The Determinants of Gentrification - Jed Kolko, Public Policy Institute of California.
Abstract: This paper assesses why lower-income urban neighborhoods gentrify. Over the period 1980-2000, urban gentrification was more likely in Census tracts that are closer to the city center and have older housing stock, consistent with theoretical predictions from classic urban models and with other recent empirical evidence on gentrification. First, neighboring tract income is shown to contribute to urban gentrification. Second, the reasons for urban gentrification are shown to vary across cities: proximity to the city center and an older housing stock contribute more to tract-level urban gentrification in metropolitan areas.

Urban gentrification: Evaluating alternative indicators - George Galster & Stephen Peacock.
Abstract: The study seeks to ascertain whether the operational definition of “gentrification” has an impact on the apparent extent, location and causal factors associated with the phenomenon. Four alternative definitional criteria are specified, based on areal changes in: proportion black, proportion college-educated, real incomes and real property values. The stringency of the given change needed to qualify as gentrification is also varied. Census tract changes from 1970–80 in Philadelphia are analyzed. Results indicate great sensitivity in the number and location of “gentrified” tracts to the definition chosen and stringency applied. Even more importantly, the 1970 characteristics of tracts which statistically explain their subsequent gentrication vary dramatically across these definitions.

Urban renewal, gentrification and health equity: a realist perspective
Roshanak Mehdipanah, Giulia Marra, Giulia Melis, Elena Gelormino.
Abstract: This paper seeks to better understand when, why and how health inequities arise from urban renewal interventions resulting in gentrification. A literature search was done to identify theoretical models of how urban renewal programs can result in gentrification, which in turn could have negative impacts on health. Urban renewal programs that resulted in gentrification tended to have negative health effects primarily in residents that were low-income. Urban renewal policies that were inclusive of populations that are vulnerable, from the beginning were less likely to result in gentrification and more likely to positively impact health through physical and social improvements. Research has shown urban renewal policies have significant impacts on populations that are vulnerable and those that result in gentrification can result in negative health consequences for this population.