Gentrification is a process of renovation of deteriorated urban
neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents.
This is a common and controversial topic in politics and in urban
Gentrification can improve the quality of a neighborhood,
while also potentially forcing relocation of current, established
residents and businesses, causing them to move from a gentrified area,
seeking lower cost housing and stores.
Gentrification often shifts a
neighborhood’s racial/ethnic composition and average household
income by developing new, more expensive housing, businesses and
improved resources. Conversations about gentrification have
evolved, as many in the social-scientific community have questioned
the negative connotations associated with the word gentrification. One
example is that gentrification can lead to community displacement for
lower-income families in gentrifying neighborhoods, as property values
and rental costs rise; however, every neighborhood faces unique
challenges, and reasons for displacement vary. However, the
correlation between the shortage of affordable housing and subsequent
displacement that results in gentrifying neighborhoods is not a
debated fact. Displacement begins as landlords take advantage of
rising market values and evict long-time residents in order to rent or
sell to the more affluent. Some strategies to combat displacement
include low-income affordable housing and tighter housing regulations
surrounding evictions. 
The gentrification process is typically the result of increasing
attraction to an area by people with higher incomes spilling over from
neighboring cities or towns. Early "gentrifiers" may belong to
low-income artist or bohemian communities, which increase the
attractiveness and flair of a certain quarter. Further steps are
increased investments in a community and the related infrastructure by
real estate development businesses, local government, or community
activists and resulting economic development, increased attraction of
business, and lower crime rates. In addition to these potential
benefits, gentrification can lead to population migration and
1 Origin and etymology
London and Palen
2.1.4 Community networks
2.1.5 Social movements
2.2 As an economic process
2.2.1 Production-side theory
18.104.22.168 Suburbanization and rent gap
22.214.171.124 Spatial centralization and decentralization of capital
126.96.36.199 Falling profit and the cyclical movement of capital
188.8.131.52 Changes in demographic and consumption patterns
2.2.2 Consumption-side theory
2.3 Economic globalization
3.2 Social changes
3.3 Economic shifts
5 Gentrifier types
5.3 Gay community
6.1 Other methods
6.1.1 Direct action and sabotage
6.1.3 Community land trusts
6.1.4 Rent control
7.1 Inner London, England
7.2 United States
7.2.4 Philadelphia: Darien Street
7.2.5 Washington, D.C.
7.2.6 San Francisco
7.5 Cape Town, South Africa
8 Anti-gentrification protests
8.1 Movement for Justice in El Barrio
8.2 Cereal Killer Cafe protest
Google bus protests
8.4 ink! Coffee Protest (Denver, Colorado)
9 See also
12 Further reading
Origin and etymology
Symbolic gentrification in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
The term gentrification has come to refer to a multi-faceted
phenomenon that can be defined in different ways.
Historians say that gentrification took place in ancient
Rome and in
Roman Britain, where large villas were replacing small shops by the
3rd century, AD. The word gentrification derives from
gentry—which comes from the Old French word genterise, "of gentle
birth" (14th century) and "people of gentle birth" (16th century). In
Landed gentry denoted the social class, consisting of
gentlemen. British sociologist
Ruth Glass coined the term
"gentrification" in 1964 to describe the influx of middle-class people
displacing lower-class worker residents in urban neighborhoods; her
example was London, and its working-class districts such as
One by one, many of the working class neighbourhoods of
been invaded by the middle-classes—upper and lower. Shabby, modest
mews and cottages—two rooms up and two down—have been taken over,
when their leases have expired, and have become elegant, expensive
residences ... Once this process of 'gentrification' starts in a
district it goes on rapidly, until all or most of the original
working-class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character
of the district is changed.
In the US, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report
Health Effects of
Gentrification defines the real estate concept of
gentrification as "the transformation of neighborhoods from low value
to high value. This change has the potential to cause displacement of
long-time residents and businesses ... when long-time or original
neighborhood residents move from a gentrified area because of higher
rents, mortgages, and property taxes.
Gentrification is a housing,
economic, and health issue that affects a community's history and
culture and reduces social capital. It often shifts a neighborhood's
characteristics, e.g., racial-ethnic composition and household income,
by adding new stores and resources in previously run-down
Brookings Institution report Dealing with Neighborhood Change:
A Primer on
Gentrification and Policy Choices (2001), Maureen Kennedy
and Paul Leonard say that "the term 'gentrification' is both imprecise
and quite politically charged", suggesting its redefinition as "the
process by which higher income households displace lower income
residents of a neighborhood, changing the essential character and
flavour of that neighborhood", so distinguishing it from the different
socio-economic process of "neighborhood (or urban) revitalization",
although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
German geographers have a more distanced view on gentrification.
Actual gentrification is seen as a mere symbolic issue happening in a
low amount of places and blocks, the symbolic value and visibility in
public discourse being higher than actual migration trends. E.g.
Gerhard Hard assumes that urban flight is still more important than
inner city gentrification.
Volkskunde scholar Barbara Lang
introduced the term 'symbolic gentrification' with regard to the
Mythos Kreuzberg in Berlin. Lang assumes that complaints about
gentrification often come from those who have been responsible for the
process in their youth. When former students and bohemians started
raising families and earning money in better paid jobs, they become
the yuppies they claim to dislike. Especially
Berlin is a showcase
of intense debates about symbols of gentrification, while the actual
processes are much slower than in other cities. The city's
Prenzlauer Berg district is, however, a poster child of the capital's
gentrification, as this area in particular has experienced a rapid
transformation over the last two decades. This leads to mixed feelings
amidst the local population. The neologism
coined about Prenzlauer Berg. It describes the post-gentrifed milieu
of the former quartier of the alternative scene, where alleged leftist
alternative accessoires went into the mainstream. The 2013
Schwabenhass controversy in
Berlin put the blame of gentrification in
Prenzlauer Berg on well-to-do southern German immigrants and allowed
for inner German ethnic slurs, which in case of foreign immigration
would have been totally unacceptable.
American economists describe gentrification as a natural cycle: the
well-to-do prefer to live in the newest housing stock. Each decade of
a city's growth, a new ring of new housing is built. When the housing
at the center has reached the end of its useful life and is therefore
cheap, the well-to-do gentrify the neighborhood. The push outward from
the city center continues as the housing in each ring reaches the end
of its economic life. They observe that gentrification has three
interpretations: (a) "great, the value of my house is going up, (b)
coffee is more expensive, now that we have a Starbucks, and (c) my
neighbors and I can no longer afford to live here (community
London and Palen
There are several approaches that attempt to explain the roots and the
reasons behind the spread of gentrification. Bruce
London and J. John
Palen (1984) compiled a list of five explanations: (1)
demographic-ecological, (2) sociocultural, (3) political-economical,
(4) community networks, and (5) social movements.
The first theory, demographic-ecological, attempts to explain
gentrification through the analysis of demographics: population,
social organization, environment, and technology. This theory
frequently refers to the growing number of people between the ages of
25 and 35 in the 1970s, or the baby boom generation. Because the
number of people that sought housing increased, the demand for housing
increased also. The supply could not keep up with the demand;
therefore cities were "recycled" to meet such demands (
Palen, 1984). The baby boomers in pursuit of housing were very
different, demographically, from their house-hunting predecessors.
They married at an older age and had fewer children. Their children
were born later. Women, both single and married, were entering the
labor force at higher rates which led to an increase of dual
wage-earner households. These households were typically composed of
young, more affluent couples without children. Because these couples
were child-free and were not concerned with the conditions of schools
and playgrounds, they elected to live in the inner city in close
proximity to their jobs. These more affluent people usually had
white-collar, not blue-collar jobs. Since these white-collar workers
wanted to live closer to work, a neighborhood with more white-collar
jobs was more likely to be invaded; the relationship between
administrative activity and invasion was positively correlated (London
and Palen, 1984).
The second theory proposed by
London and Palen is based on a
sociocultural explanation of gentrification. This theory argues that
values, sentiments, attitudes, ideas, beliefs, and choices should be
used to explain and predict human behavior, not demographics, or
"structural units of analysis" (i.e., characteristics of populations)
London and Palen, 1984). This analysis focuses on the changing
attitudes, lifestyles, and values of the middle- and
upper-middle-class of the 1970s. They were becoming more pro-urban
than before, opting not to live in rural or even suburban areas
anymore. These new pro-urban values were becoming more salient, and
more and more people began moving into the cities.
London and Palen
refer to the first people to invade the cities as "urban pioneers".
These urban pioneers demonstrated that the inner-city was an
"appropriate" and "viable" place to live, resulting in what is called
"inner city chic" (
London and Palen, 1984). The opposing side of this
argument is that dominant, or recurring, American values determine
where people decide to live, not the changing values previously cited.
This means that people choose to live in a gentrified area to restore
it, not to alter it, because restoration is a "new way to realize old
London and Palen, 1984).
The third theoretical explanation of gentrification is
political-economic and is divided into two approaches: traditional and
Marxist. The traditional approach argues that economic and political
factors have led to the invasion of the inner-city, hence the name
political-economic. The changing political and legal climate of the
1950s and 1960s (new civil rights legislation, anti-discrimination
laws in housing and employment, and desegregation) had an
"unanticipated" role in the gentrification of neighborhoods. A
decrease in prejudice led to more blacks moving to the suburbs and
whites no longer rejected the idea of moving to the city. The
decreasing availability of suburban land and inflation in suburban
housing costs also inspired the invasion of the cities. The Marxist
approach denies the notion that the political and economic influences
on gentrification are invisible, but are intentional. This theory
claims that "powerful interest groups follow a policy of neglect of
the inner city until such time as they become aware that policy
changes could yield tremendous profits" (
London and Palen, 1984). Once
the inner city becomes a source of revenue, the powerless residents
are displaced with little or no regard from the powerful.
The community-network approach is the fourth proposed by
Palen. This views the community as an "interactive social group". Two
perspectives are noted: community lost and community saved. The
community lost perspective argues that the role of the neighborhood is
becoming more limited due to technological advances in transportation
and communication. This means that the small-scale, local community is
being replaced with more large-scale, political and social
organizations (Greer, 1962). The opposing side, the community saved
side, argues that community activity increases when neighborhoods are
gentrified because these neighborhoods are being revitalized.
The fifth and final approach is social movements. This theoretical
approach is focused on the analysis of ideologically based movements,
usually in terms of leader-follower relationships. Those who support
gentrification are encouraged by leaders (successful urban pioneers,
political-economic elites, land developers, lending institutions, and
even the Federal government in some instances) to revive the
inner-city. Those who are in opposition are the people who currently
reside in the deteriorated areas. They develop countermovements in
order to gain the power necessary to defend themselves against the
movements of the elite. An excellent example was the turned around
Chicago who fought for years against the Richard J. Daley
Young Lords led by Jose Cha Cha Jimenez. They occupied
neighborhood institutions and led massive demonstration to make people
aware. These countermovements can be unsuccessful, though. The people
who support reviving neighborhoods are also members, and their voices
are the ones that the gentrifiers tend to hear (
London and Palen,
As an economic process
Two discrete, sociological theories explain and justify gentrification
as an economic process (production-side theory) and as a social
process (consumption-side theory) that occurs when the suburban gentry
tire of the automobile-dependent urban sprawl style of life; thus,
professionals, empty nest aged parents, and recent university
graduates perceive the attractiveness of the city center—earlier
abandoned during white flight—especially if the poor community
possesses a transport hub and its architecture sustains the pedestrian
traffic that allows the proper human relations impeded by (sub)urban
Furthermore, proximity to urban amenities such as transit stops has
been shown to drive up home prices over time. A survey of Northwest
Chicago conducted between 1975 and 1991 showed that homes located
directly in the vicinity Red Line and Brown Line stops of the "L" rail
transit system saw a huge price jump during these years, compared to
only modest increases for area outside the zone. Between 1985 and 1991
in particular, homes near transit stops nearly doubled in value.
Professor Smith and Marxist sociologists explain gentrification as a
structural economic process; Humanistic Geographer,
David Ley explains
gentrification as a natural outgrowth of increased professional
employment in the central business district (CBD), and the creative
sub-class's predilection for city living. "Liberal Ideology and the
Post-Industrial City" (1980) describes and deconstructs the TEAM
committee's effort to rendering Vancouver, BC, Canada, a "livable
city". The investigators Rose, Beauregard, Mullins, Moore et al., who
base themselves upon Ley's ideas, posit that "gentrifiers and their
social and cultural characteristics [are] of crucial importance for an
understanding of gentrification"—theoretical work Chris Hamnett
criticized as insufficiently comprehensive, for not incorporating the
"supply of dwellings and the role of developers [and] speculators in
The production-side theory of urban gentrification derives from the
work of human geographer Neil Smith, explaining gentrification as an
economic process consequent to the fluctuating relationships among
capital investments and the production of urban space. He asserts that
restructuring of urban space is the visual component of a larger
social, economic, and spatial restructuring of the contemporary
capitalist economy. Smith summarizes the causes of gentrification
into five main processes: suburbanization and the emergence of rent
gap, deindustrialization, spatial centralization and decentralization
of capital, falling profit and cyclical movement of capital, and
changes in demographics and consumption patterns.
Suburbanization and rent gap
Suburban development derives from outward expansion of cities, often
driven by sought profit and the availability of cheap land. This
change in consumption causes a fall in inner city land prices, often
resulting in poor upkeep and a neglect of repair for these properties
by owners and landlords. The depressed land is then devalued, causing
rent to be significantly cheaper than the potential rent that could be
derived from the "best use" of the land while taking advantage of its
central location. From this derives the Rent-gap Theory describing
the disparity between "the actual capitalized ground rent (land price)
of a plot of land given its present use, and the potential ground rent
that might be gleaned under a 'higher and better' use."
The rent gap is fundamental to explaining gentrification as an
economic process. When the gap is sufficiently wide, real estate
developers, landlords, and other people with vested interests in the
development of land perceive the potential profit to be derived from
re-investing in inner-city properties and redeveloping them for new
tenants. Thus, the development of a rent gap creates the opportunity
for urban restructuring and gentrification.
The de-industrialization of cities in developed nations reduces the
number of blue-collar jobs available to the urban working class as
well as middle-wage jobs with the opportunity for advancement,
creating lost investment capital needed to physically maintain the
houses and buildings of the city. Abandoned industrial areas create
availability for land for the rent gap process.
Spatial centralization and decentralization of capital
De-industrialization is often integral to the growth of a divided
white collar employment, providing professional and management jobs
that follow the spatial decentralization of the expanding world
economy. However, somewhat counter-intuitively, globalization also is
accompanied by spatial centralization of urban centers, mainly from
the growth of the inner city as a base for headquarter and executive
decision-making centers. This concentration can be attributed to the
need for rapid decisions and information flow, which makes it
favorable to have executive centers in close proximity to each other.
Thus, the expanding effect of suburbanization as well as agglomeration
to city centers can coexist. These simultaneous processes can
translate to gentrification activities when professionals have a high
demand to live near their executive workplaces in order to reduce
Falling profit and the cyclical movement of capital
This section of Smith's theory attempts to describe the timing of the
process of gentrification. At the end of a period of expansion for the
economy, such as a boom in postwar suburbs, accumulation of capital
leads to a falling rate of profit. It is then favorable to seek
investment outside the industrial sphere to hold off onset of an
economic crisis. By this time, the period of expansion has inevitably
led to the creation of rent gap, providing opportunity for capital
reinvestment in this surrounding environment.
Changes in demographic and consumption patterns
Smith emphasizes that demographic and life-style changes are more of
an exhibition of the form of gentrification, rather than real factors
behind gentrification. The aging baby-boomer population, greater
participation of women in the workforce, and the changes in marriage
and childrearing norms explain the appearance that gentrification
takes, or as Smith says, "why we have proliferating quiche bars rather
than Howard Johnson's".
Gentrification in the US: The North Loop neighborhood, Minneapolis,
Minn., is the "Warehouse District" of condominia for artists and
Ornate Edwardian architecture (seen here in Sutton, United Kingdom).
In contrast to the production-side argument, the consumption-side
theory of urban gentrification posits that the "socio-cultural
characteristics and motives" of the gentrifiers are most important to
understanding the gentrification of the post-industrial city. The
changes in the structure of advanced capitalist cities with the shift
from industrial to service-based economy were coupled with the
expanding of a new middle class—one with a larger purchasing power
than ever before. As such, human geographer
David Ley posits a
rehabilitated post-industrial city influenced by a this "new middle
class". The consumption theory contends that it is the
demographics and consumption patterns of this "new middle class" that
is responsible for gentrification.
The economic and cultural changes of the world in the 1960s have been
attributed to these consumption changes. The antiauthoritarian protest
movements of the young in the U.S., especially on college campuses,
brought a new disdain for the "standardization of look-alike
suburbs," as well as fueled a movement toward empowering freedom
and establishing authenticity. In the postindustrial economy, the
expansion of middle class jobs in inner cities came at the same time
as many of the ideals of this movement. The process of gentrification
stemmed as the new middle class, often with politically progressive
ideals, was employed in the city and recognized not only the
convenient commute of a city residence, but also the appeal towards
the urban lifestyle as a means of opposing the "deception of the
This new middle class was characterized by professionals with life
pursuits expanded from traditional economistic focus.
Gentrification provided a means for the 'stylization of life' and an
expression of realized profit and social rank. Similarly, Michael
Jager contended that the consumption pattern of the new middle class
explains gentrification because of the new appeal of embracing the
historical past as well as urban lifestyle and culture. The need
of the middle class to express individualism from both the upper and
lower classes was expressed through consumption, and specifically
through the consumption of a house as an aesthetic object. Consumers'
desire for "local" products and services has been used to explain the
effects of businesses such as craft breweries on neighborhood
"This permanent tension on two fronts is evident in the architecture
of gentrification: in the external restorations of the Victoriana, the
middle classes express their candidature for the dominant classes; in
its internal renovation work this class signifies its distance from
the lower orders." p. 154
Gentrification, according to consumption theory, fulfills the desire
for a space with social meaning for the middle class as well as the
belief that it can only be found in older places because of a
dissatisfaction with contemporary urbanism.
Gentrification is integral to the new economy of centralized,
high-level services work—the "new urban economic core of banking and
service activities that come to replace the older, typically
manufacturing-oriented, core" that displaces middle-class retail
businesses so they might be "replaced by upmarket boutiques and
restaurants catering to new high-income urban élites". In the
context of globalization, the city's importance is determined by its
ability to function as a discrete socio-economic entity, given the
lesser import of national borders, resulting in de-industrialized
global cities and economic restructuring.
To wit, the American urban theorist John Friedman's seven-part theory
posits a bifurcated service industry in world cities, composed of "a
high percentage of professionals specialized in control functions
and ... a vast army of low-skilled workers engaged in ...
personal services ... [that] cater to the privileged classes, for
whose sake the world city primarily exists". The final three
hypotheses detail (i) the increased immigration of low-skill laborers
needed to support the privileged classes, (ii) the class and caste
conflict consequent to the city's inability to support the poor people
who are the service class, and (iii) the world city as a function
of social class struggle—matters expanded by
Saskia Sassen et al.
The world city's inherent socio-economic inequality illustrates the
causes of gentrification, reported in "Where Did They Go? The Decline
of Middle-Income Neighborhoods in Metropolitan America" (2006)
demonstrating geographical segregation by income in US cities, wherein
middle-income (middle class) neighborhoods decline, while poor
neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods remain stable.
As rent-gap theory would predict, one of the most visible changes the
gentrification process brings is to the infrastructure of a
neighborhood. Typically, areas to be gentrified are deteriorated and
old, though structurally sound, and often have some obscure amenity
such as a historical significance that attracts the potential
Gentry purchase and restore these houses, mostly for
single-family homes. Another phenomenon is "loft conversion," which
rehabilitates mixed-use areas, often abandoned industrial buildings or
run-down apartment buildings to housing for the incoming
gentrifiers. While this upgrade of housing value is the
superficial keynote to the gentrification process, there is a greater
number of less-visible shifts the gentry bring with them into their
new neighborhoods in the community.
Gentrification has been substantially advocated by local governments,
often in the form of 'urban restructuring' policies. Goals of these
policies include dispersing low-income residents out of the inner city
and into the suburbs as well as redeveloping the city to foster
mobility between both the central city and suburbia as residential
options. The strain on public resources that often accompanies
concentrated poverty is relaxed by the gentrification process, a
benefit of changed social makeup that is favorable for the local
state. Rehabilitation movements have been largely successful at
restoring the plentiful supply of old and deteriorated housing that is
readily available in inner cities. This rehabilitation can be seen as
a superior alternative to expansion, for the location of the central
city offers an intact infrastructure that should be taken advantage
of: streets, public transportation, and other urban facilities.
Furthermore, the changed perception of the central city that is
encouraged by gentrification can be healthy for resource-deprived
communities who have previously been largely ignored.
A change of residence that is forced upon people who lack resources to
cope has social costs. Measures protecting these marginal groups
from gentrification may reduce those.
There is also the argument that gentrification reduces the social
capital of the area it affects. Communities have strong ties to the
history and culture of their neighborhood, and causing its dispersal
can have detrimental costs. The Center for Disease Control and
Prevention has a webpage discussing adverse effects gentrification has
on health, and provides a list of policies that would inhibit
gentrification in order to prevent these impacts.
Higher incentive for property owners to increase/improve housing
Displacement through rent/price increases
Reduction in crime
Loss of affordable housing
Stabilization of declining areas
Increased property values
Unsustainable property prices
Increased consumer purchasing power at local businesses
Displacement and housing demand pressures on surrounding poor areas
Reduced vacancy rates
Community resentment and conflict
Increased local fiscal revenues
Encouragement and increased viability of further development
Secondary psychological costs of displacement
Reduced strain on local infrastructure and services
Increased cost and charges to local services
Increased social mix
Loss of social diversity (from socially disparate to rich ghettos)
Rehabilitation of property both with and without state sponsorship
Under occupancy and population loss to gentrified areas
Source: Loretta Lees, Tom Slater, and Elvin Wyly, Gentrification
Reader, p. 196. © 2008 Routledge.; Rowland Atkinson and Gary
Gentrification in a Global Context: the New Urban
Colonialism, p. 5. © 2005 Routledge.
See also: Community displacement
Displacement of lower income families as a result of gentrification
has been a major issue for decades. However, research has shown that
oftentimes the opposite is true. Low-income families in gentrifying
neighborhoods are less likely to be displaced than in non-gentrifying
neighborhoods. A common theory has been that as affluent people move
into a poorer neighborhood, housing prices increase as a result,
causing poorer people to move out of the neighborhood. Although there
is evidence showing gentrification may modestly raise real estate
prices, numerous studies show that in many circumstances, other
benefits from gentrification such as lower crime and an improved local
economy outweigh the increased housing costs—displacement tends to
decrease in gentrifying areas such as these as a
A study from 2016 found that nearly 10,000 Hispanic families have had
to move out of Pilsen in Chicago, Illinois, originally an Eastern
European neighborhood which had become predominantly Mexican by the
1970s. This has come as a result of more wealthier people moving into
Chicago itself has been going through a process of
gentrification and displacement quite rapidly in the past decade. When
young often wealthier white people move into areas historically of
color it can cause the ethnic groups common to the area to leave
because of rent hikes.
Many of the social effects of gentrification have been based on
extensive theories about how socioeconomic status of an individual's
neighborhood will shape one's behavior and future. These studies have
prompted "social mix policies" to be widely adopted by governments to
promote the process and its positive effects, such as lessening the
strain on public resources that are associated with de-concentrating
poverty. However, more specific research has shown that gentrification
does not necessarily correlate with "social mixing," and that the
effects of the new composition of a gentrified neighborhood can both
weaken as well as strengthen community cohesion.
Housing confers social status, and the changing norms that accompany
gentrification translate to a changing social hierarchy. The
process of gentrification mixes people of different socioeconomic
strata, thereby congregating a variety of expectations and social
norms. The change gentrification brings in class distinction also has
been shown to contribute to residential polarization by income,
education, household composition, and race. It conveys a social
rise that brings new standards in consumption, particularly in the
form of excess and superfluity, to the area that were not held by the
pre-existing residents. These differing norms can lead to
conflict, which potentially serves to divide changing communities.
Often this comes at a larger social cost to the original residents of
the gentrified area whose displacement is met with little concern from
the gentry or the government. Clashes that result in increased police
surveillance, for example, would more adversely affect young
minorities who are also more likely to be the original residents of
There is also evidence to support that gentrification can strengthen
and stabilize when there is a consensus about a community's
objectives. Gentrifiers with an organized presence in deteriorated
neighborhoods can demand and receive better resources. A
characteristic example is a combined community effort to win historic
district designation for the neighborhood, a phenomenon that is often
linked to gentrification activity.
Gentry can exert a peer
influence on neighbors to take action against crime, which can lead to
even more price increases in changing neighborhoods when crime rates
drop and optimism for the area's future climbs.
The economic changes that occur as a community goes through
gentrification are often favorable for local governments. Affluent
gentrifiers expand the local tax base as well as support local shops
and businesses, a large part of why the process is frequently alluded
to in urban policies. The decrease in vacancy rates and increase in
property value that accompany the process can work to stabilize a
previously struggling community, restoring interest in inner-city life
as a residential option alongside the suburbs. These changes can
create positive feedback as well, encouraging other forms of
development of the area that promote general economic growth.
Home ownership is a significant variable when it comes to economic
impacts of gentrification. People who own their homes are much more
able to gain financial benefits of gentrification than those who rent
their houses and can be displaced without much compensation.
Economic pressure and market price changes relate to the speed of
gentrification. English-speaking countries have a higher amount of
property owners and a higher mobility. German speaking countries
provide a higher share of rented property and have a much stronger
role of municipalities, cooperatives, guilds and unions offering
low-price-housing. The effect is a lower speed of gentrification and a
broader social mix. Gerhard Hard sees gentrification as a typical
1970s term with more visibility in public discourse than actual
Whether gentrification has occurred in a census tract in an urban area
in the United States during a particular 10-year period between
censuses can be determined by a method used in a study by
Governing: If the census tract in a central city had 500 or more
residents and at the time of the baseline census had median household
income and median home value in the bottom 40th percentile and at the
time of the next 10-year census the tract's educational attainment
(percentage of residents over age 25 with a bachelor's degree) was in
the top 33rd percentile; the median home value, adjusted for
inflation, had increased; and the percentage of increase in home
values in the tract was in the top 33rd percentile when compared to
the increase in other census tracts in the urban area then it was
considered to have been gentrified. The method measures the rate of
gentrification, not the degree of gentrification; thus, San Francisco,
which has a history of gentrification dating to the 1970s, show a
decreasing rate between 1990 and 2010.
19th-century Victorian terrace houses in East Melbourne, Australia.
Just as critical to the gentrification process as creating a favorable
environment is the availability of the 'gentry,' or those who will be
first-stage gentrifiers. The typical gentrifiers are affluent and have
professional-level, service industry jobs, many of which involve
self-employment. Therefore, they are willing and able to take the
investment risk in the housing market. Often they are single people or
young couples without children who lack demand for good schools.
Gentrifiers are likely searching for inexpensive housing close to the
workplace and often already reside in the inner city, sometimes for
educational reasons, and do not want to make the move to suburbia. For
this demographic, gentrification is not so much the result of a return
to the inner city but is more of a positive action to remain
The stereotypical gentrifiers also have shared consumer preferences
and favor a largely consumerist culture. This fuels the rapid
expansion of trendy restaurant, shopping, and entertainment spheres
that often accompany the gentrification process. Holcomb and
Beauregard described these groups as those who are "attracted by low
prices and toleration of an unconventional lifestyle".
An interesting find from research on those who participate and
initiate the gentrification process, the "marginal gentrifiers" as
referred to by Tim Butler, is that they become marginalized by the
expansion of the process. Research has also shown subgroups of
gentrifiers that fall outside of these stereotypes. Two important ones
are white women, typically single mothers, as well as white gay people
who are typically men.
Women increasingly obtaining higher education as well as higher paying
jobs has increased their participation in the labor force, translating
to an expansion of women who have greater opportunities to invest.
Smith suggests this group "represents a reservoir of potential
gentrifiers". The increasing number of highly educated women play
into this theory, given that residence in the inner city can give
women access to the well-paying jobs and networking, something that is
becoming increasingly common.
There are also theories that suggest the inner-city lifestyle is
important for women with children where the father does not care
equally for the child, because of the proximity to professional
childcare. This attracts single parents, specifically single
mothers, to the inner-city as opposed to suburban areas where
resources are more geographically spread out. This is often deemed as
"marginal gentrification," for the city can offer an easier solution
to combining paid and unpaid labor.
Inner city concentration increases
the efficiency of commodities parents need by minimizing time
constraints among multiple jobs, childcare, and markets.
Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York City, traditionally the largest black
community in the US.
The Glockenbach district of
Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt in Munich,
Phillip Clay's two-stage model of gentrification places artists as
prototypical stage one or "marginal" gentrifiers. The National
Endowment for the Arts did a study that linked the proportion of
employed artists to the rate of inner city gentrification across a
number of U.S. cities. Artists will typically accept the risks of
rehabilitating deteriorated property, as well as have the time, skill,
and ability to carry out these extensive renovations. David Ley
states that the artist's critique of everyday life and search for
meaning and renewal are what make them early recruits for
The identity that residence in the inner city provides is important
for the gentrifier, and this is particularly so in the artists' case.
Their cultural emancipation from the bourgeois makes the central city
an appealing alternative that distances them from the conformity and
mundaneness attributed to suburban life. They are quintessential city
people, and the city is often a functional choice as well, for city
life has advantages that include connections to customers and a closer
proximity to a downtown art scene, all of which are more likely to be
limited in a suburban setting. Ley's research cites a quote from a
Vancouver printmaker talking about the importance of inner city life
to an artist, that it has, "energy, intensity, hard to specify but
hard to do without" (1996).
Ironically, these attributes that make artists characteristic marginal
gentrifiers form the same foundations for their isolation as the
gentrification process matures. The later stages of the process
generate an influx of more affluent, "yuppie" residents. As the
bohemian character of the community grows, it appeals "not only to
committed participants, but also to sporadic consumers," and the
rising property values that accompany this migration often lead to the
eventual pushing out of the artists that began the movement in the
first place. Sharon Zukin's study of
SoHo in Manhattan, NYC was one
of the most famous cases of this phenomenon. Throughout the 1960s and
Manhattan lofts in
SoHo were converted en masse into housing
for artists and hippies, and then their sub-culture's followers.
Manuel Castells has researched the role of gay communities, especially
in San Francisco, as early gentrifiers. The film Quinceañera
depicts a similar situation in Los Angeles.
Flag Wars (Linda Goode
Bryant) shows tensions as of 2003 between white LGBT-newcomers and
a black middle-class neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio.
To counter the gentrification of their mixed-populace communities,
there are cases where residents formally organized themselves to
develop the necessary socio-political strategies required to retain
local affordable housing. The gentrification of a mixed-income
community raises housing affordability to the fore of the community's
politics. There are cities, municipalities, and counties which
have countered gentrification with inclusionary zoning (inclusionary
housing) ordinances requiring the apportionment of some new housing
for the community's original low- and moderate-income residents.
Inclusionary zoning is a new social concept in English speaking
countries; there are few reports qualifying its effective or
ineffective limitation of gentrification in the English literature.
The basis of inclusionary zoning is partial replacement as opposed to
displacement of the embedded communities. In Los Angeles,
California, inclusionary zoning apparently accelerated gentrification,
as older, unprofitable buildings were razed and replaced with mostly
high-rent housing, and a small percentage of affordable housing; the
net result was less affordable housing. German (speaking)
municipalities have a strong legal role in zoning and on the real
estate market in general and a long tradition of integrating social
aspects in planning schemes and building regulations. The German
approach uses en (milieu conservation municipal law), e.g. in Munichs
Lehel district in use since the 1960s. The concepts of socially aware
renovation and zoning of Bologna's old city in 1974 was used as role
model in the Charta of Bologna, and recognized by the Council of
Direct action and sabotage
Coffee shop attacked with paint in alleged anti-gentrification attack
in the St-Henri neighborhood of Montreal, January 2012.
When wealthy people move into low-income working-class neighborhoods,
the resulting class conflict sometimes involves vandalism and arson
targeting the property of the gentrifiers. During the dot-com boom of
the late 1990s, the gentrification of San Francisco's predominantly
Mission District led some long-term neighborhood
residents to create what they called the "Mission
Project. This group allegedly destroyed property and called for
property destruction as part of a strategy to oppose gentrification.
Their activities drew hostile responses from the
San Francisco Police
Department, real estate interests, and "work-within-the-system"
Meibion Glyndŵr (Welsh: Sons of Glyndŵr), also known as the Valley
Commandos, was a
Welsh nationalist movement violently opposed to the
Welsh culture and language. They were formed in response to
the housing crisis precipitated by large numbers of second homes being
bought by the English which had increased house prices beyond the
means of many locals. The group were responsible for setting fire to
English-owned holiday homes in
Wales from 1979 to the mid-1990s. In
the first wave of attacks, eight holiday homes were destroyed in a
month, and in 1980, Welsh Police carried out a series of raids in
Operation Tân. Within the next ten years, some 220 properties were
damaged by the campaign. Since the mid-1990s the group has been
Welsh nationalist violence has ceased. In 1989 there was
a movement that protested an influx of Swabians to
Berlin who were
deemed as gentrification drivers.
Berlin saw the
Schwabenhass and 2013
Spätzlerstreit controversies, which identified gentrification
with newcomers from the German south.
Canale delle Moline in Bologna
Zoning ordinances and other urban planning tools can be used to
recognize and support local business and industries. This can include
requiring developers to continue with a current commercial tenant or
offering development incentives for keeping existing businesses, as
well as creating and maintaining industrial zones. Designing zoning to
allow new housing near to a commercial corridor but not on top of it
increases foot traffic to local businesses without redeveloping them.
Businesses can become more stable by securing long-term commercial
Although developers may recognize value in responding to living
patterns, extensive zoning policies often prevent affordable homes
from being constructed within urban development. Due to urban density
restrictions, rezoning for residential development within urban living
areas is difficult, which forces the builder and the market into urban
sprawl and propagates the energy inefficiencies that come with
distance from urban centers. In a recent example of restrictive urban
zoning requirements, Arcadia Development Co. was prevented from
rezoning a parcel for residential development in an urban setting
within the city of Morgan Hill, California. With limitations
established in the interest of public welfare, a density restriction
was applied solely to Arcadia Development Co.'s parcel of development,
excluding any planned residential expansion.
Community land trusts
Because land speculation tends to raise property values, removing real
estate (houses, buildings, land) from the open market stabilizes
property values, and thereby prevents the economic eviction of the
community's poorer residents. The most common, formal legal mechanism
for such stability in English speaking countries is the community land
trust; moreover, many inclusionary zoning ordinances formally place
the "inclusionary" housing units in a land trust. German
municipalities and other cooperative actors have and maintain strong
roles on the real estate markets in their realm.
In jurisdictions where local or national government has these powers,
there may be rent control regulations.
Rent control restricts the rent
that can be charged, so that incumbent tenants are not forced out by
rising rents. If applicable to private landlords, it is a disincentive
to speculating with property values, reduces the incidence of
dwellings left empty, and limits availability of housing for new
residents. If the law does not restrict the rent charged for dwellings
that come onto the rental market (formerly owner-occupied or new
build), rents in an area can still increase. The cities of
southwestern Santa Monica and eastern West Hollywood in California,
United States gentrified despite—or perhaps, because of—rent
Occasionally, a housing black market develops, wherein landlords
withdraw houses and apartments from the market, making them available
only upon payment of additional key money, fees, or bribes—thus
undermining the rent control law. Many such laws allow "vacancy
decontrol", releasing a dwelling from rent control upon the tenant's
leaving—resulting in steady losses of rent-controlled housing,
ultimately rendering rent control laws ineffective in communities with
a high rate of resident turnover. In other cases social housing owned
by local authorities may be sold to tenants and then sold on. Vacancy
decontrol encourages landlords to find ways of shortening their
residents' tenure, most aggressively through landlord harassment. To
strengthen the rent control laws of New York City, housing advocates
active in rent control in New York are attempting to repeal the
vacancy decontrol clauses of rent control laws. The state of
Massachusetts abolished rent control in 1994; afterwards, rents rose,
accelerating the pace of Boston's gentrification; however, the laws
protected few apartments, and confounding factors, such as a strong
economy, had already been raising housing and rental prices.
Inner London, England
Gentrification is not a new phenomenon in Britain; in ancient
shop-free forum was developed during the Roman Republican period, and
in 2nd- and 3rd-century cities in
Roman Britain there is evidence of
small shops being replaced by large villas.
London academic Loretta Lees reported that much of
London was undergoing "super-gentrification", where "a new group
of super-wealthy professionals, working in the City of
the financial industry], is slowly imposing its mark on this Inner
London housing market, in a way that differentiates it, and them, from
traditional gentrifiers, and from the traditional urban upper
classes ... Super-gentrification is quite different from the
classical version of gentrification. It's of a higher economic order;
you need a much higher salary and bonuses to live in Barnsbury" (some
two miles north of central London).
Barnsbury was built around 1820, as a middle-class suburb, but after
the Second World War (1939–1945), people moved to the suburbs. The
upper and middle classes were fleeing from the working class residents
of London; the modern railway allowed it. At the war's end, the great
housing demand rendered
Barnsbury the place of cheap housing, where
most people shared accommodation. In the late 1950s and early 1960s,
people moving into the area had to finance house renovations with
their money, because banks rarely financed loans for Barnsbury.
Moreover, the rehabilitating spark was The 1959 Housing Purchase and
Housing Act, investing £100 million to rehabilitating old
properties and infrastructure. As a result, the principal population
influx occurred between 1961 and 1975; the UK Census reports that
"between the years of 1961 and 1981, owner-occupation increased from 7
to 19 per cent, furnished rentals declined from 14 to 7 per cent, and
unfurnished rentals declined from 61 to 6 per cent"; another
example of urban gentrification is the super-gentrification, in the
1990s, of the neighboring working-class
London Borough of Islington,
where Prime minister
Tony Blair moved upon his election in 1997.
From a market standpoint, there are two main requirements that are met
by the U.S. cities that undergo substantial effects of gentrification.
These are: an excess supply of deteriorated housing in central areas,
as well as a considerable growth in the availability of professional
jobs located in central business districts. These conditions have been
met in the U.S. largely as a result of suburbanization and other
Starting in the 1960s and 1970s, U.S. industry has created a surplus
of housing units as construction of new homes has far surpassed the
rate of national household growth. However, the market forces that are
dictated by an excess supply cannot fully explain the geographical
specificity of gentrification in the U.S., for there are many large
cities that meet this requirement and have not exhibited
gentrification. The missing link is another factor that can be
explained by particular, necessary demand forces. In U.S. cities in
the time period from 1970 to 1978, growth of the central business
district at around 20% did not dictate conditions for gentrification,
while growth at or above 33% yielded appreciably larger gentrification
activity. Succinctly, central business district growth will
activate gentrification in the presence of a surplus in the inner city
In the U.S., these conditions were generated by the economic
transition from manufacturing to post-industrial service economies.
World War II
World War II economy experienced a service revolution, which
created white-collar jobs and larger opportunities for women in the
work force, as well as an expansion in the importance of centralized
administrative and cooperate activities. This increased the demand for
inner city residences, which were readily available cheaply after much
of the movement towards central city abandonment of the 1950s. The
coupling of these movements is what became the trigger for the
expansive gentrification of U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore,
Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.
Measurement of the rate of gentrification during the period from 1990
to 2010 in 50 U.S. cities showed an increase in the rate of
gentrification from 9% in the decade of the 1990s to 20% in the decade
from 2000 to 2010 with 8% of the urban neighborhoods in the 50 cities
Cities with a rate of gentrification of ≈40% or more in the decade
from 2000 to 2010 included:
Portland, Oregon 58.1%
Washington, DC 51.9%
Minneapolis, Minnesota 50.6%
Virginia Beach 46.2%
Cities with a rate of less than 10% in the decade from 2000 to 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada 2%
El Paso 0%
Arlington, Texas 0%
Gentrification of Atlanta
Bungalows in Atlanta's
Inman Park neighborhood, United States
Atlanta has been taking place in its inner-city
neighborhoods since the 1970s. Many of Atlanta's neighborhoods
experienced the urban flight that affected other major American cities
in the 20th century, causing the decline of once upper and
upper-middle-class east side neighborhoods. In the 1970s, after
neighborhood opposition blocked two freeways from being built through
the east side, its neighborhoods such as
Inman Park and
Virginia-Highland became the starting point for the city's
gentrification wave, first becoming affordable neighborhoods
attracting young people, and by 2000 having become relatively affluent
areas attracting people from across Metro
Atlanta to their upscale
shops and restaurants. In the 1990s and 2000s, gentrification
expanded into other parts of Atlanta, spreading throughout the
historic streetcar suburbs east of Downtown and Midtown, mostly areas
that had long had black majorities such as the Old Fourth Ward,
Reynoldstown and Edgewood. On the western side of the city,
West Midtown became a vibrant neighborhood full of
residential lofts and a nexus of the arts, restaurants, and home
Gentrification by young African Americans was also taking
place in the 1990s in southwest
Atlanta neighborhoods. The
BeltLine trail construction is expected to bring further
gentrification in the neighborhoods alongside which it runs. Concerns
about displacement of existing working-class black residents by
increasing numbers of more affluent whites moving in are expressed by
Nathan McCall in his novel Them, in The
News, and in the documentary The
The city of Boston, Massachusetts, has seen several neighborhoods
undergo significant periods of urban renewal, specifically during the
1960s to the 1980s. Called "turbo-gentrification" by sociologist Alan
Wolfe, particular areas of study of the process have been done in
South End, Bay Village, and West Cambridge. In Boston's North End, the
removal of the noisy Central Artery elevated highway attracted
younger, more affluent new residents, in place of the traditional
Italian immigrant culture.
In the early 1960s, Boston's South End had a great many
characteristics of a neighborhood that is prime for gentrification.
The available housing was architecturally sound and unique row houses
in a location with high accessibility to urban transport services,
while surrounded by small squares and parks. A majority of the area
had also been designated a National Historic District.
South End became deteriorated by the 1960s. Many of the row houses had
been converted to cheap apartments, and the neighborhood was plagued
by dominant, visible poverty. The majority of the residents were
working-class individuals and families with a significant need for
public housing and other social services. The situation was recognized
by local governments as unfavorable, and in 1960 became the target of
an urban renewal effort of the city.
The construction of the
Prudential Tower complex that was finished in
1964 along the northwest border of South End was a spark for this
urban-renewal effort and the gentrification process for the area that
surrounded it. The complex increased job availability in the area, and
the cheap housing stock of South End began to attract a new wave of
residents. The next 15 years saw an influx of predominantly
affluent, young professionals who purchased and renovated houses in
South End. Unfortunately, tension characterized the relationship
between these new residents and the previous residents of the
neighborhood. Clashes in the vision for the area's future was the main
source of conflict. The previous, poorer residents, contended that
"renewal" should focus on bettering the plight of South End's poor,
while new, middle-class residents heavily favored private market
investment opportunities and shunned efforts such as subsidized
housing with the belief that they would flood the market and raise
personal security concerns.
The late 1940s was a transition for the area from primarily families
with children as residents to a population dominated by both retired
residents and transient renters. The 2–3 story brick row houses were
largely converted to low-cost lodging houses, and the neighborhood
came to be described as "blighted" and "down at heel". This
deterioration was largely blamed on the transient population.
The year 1957 began the upgrading of what was to become Bay Village,
and these changes were mainly attributed to new artists and gay men
moving to the area. These "marginal" gentrifiers made significant
efforts towards superficial beautification as well as rehabilitation
of their new homes, setting the stage for realtors to promote the
rising value of the area.
Of the homebuyers in Bay Village from 1957 to 1975, 92% had careers as
white-collar professionals. 42% of these homebuyers were
25–34 years old. The majority of them were highly educated and
moving from a previous residence in the city, suggesting ties to an
urban-based educational institution. The reasons new homebuyers gave
for their choice of residence in Bay Village was largely attributed to
its proximity to downtown, as well as an appreciation for city life
over that of suburbia (Pattison 1977).
The development and gentrification of West Cambridge began in 1960 as
the resident population began to shift away from the traditional
majority of working class Irish immigrants. The period of 1960–1975
had large shifts in homebuyer demographics comparable to that
experienced by Bay Village.
Professional occupations were
overrepresented in homebuyers during this 15-year period, as well as
the age group of 25–34 years old. Residents reported a visible
lack of social ties between new homebuyers and the original residents.
However, displacement was not cited as a problem because the primary
reason of housing sale remained the death of the sole-surviving member
of the household or the death of a spouse.
Researcher Timothy Pattison divided the gentrification process of West
Cambridge into two main stages. Stage one began with various
architects and architectural students who were attracted to the
affordability of the neighborhood. The renovations efforts these
"marginal" gentrifiers undertook seemed to spark a new interest in the
area, perhaps as word of the cheap land spread to the wider student
The Peabody Schools also served as an enticing factor for the new
gentrifiers for both stages of new homebuyers. Stage two of the
process brought more architects to the area as well as non-architect
professionals, often employed at a university institution. The buyers
in stage two cited Peabody schools and the socioeconomic mix of the
neighborhood as primary reasons for their residential choice, as well
as a desire to avoid job commutes and a disenchantment with the
Gentrification of Chicago
Chicago's gentrification rate was reported to be 16.8% in 2015.
But researchers have claimed that it has had a significant on specific
urban neighborhoods and lead to destabilization of black and Latino
communities and their shared cultural identity.
Philadelphia: Darien Street
Gentrification in Philadelphia
Gentrification Amid Urban Decline: Strategies for America's Older
Cities, by Michael Lang, reports the process and impact (social,
economic, cultural) of gentrification. In particular, it focuses
on the section of Darien Street (a north-south street running
intermittently from South to North Philadelphia) which is essentially
an alley in the populous Bella Vista neighborhood. That part of Darien
Street was a "back street", because it does not connect to any of the
city's main arteries and was unpaved for most of its existence.
In its early days, this area of Darien Street housed only Italian
families; however, after the Second World War (1939–1945), when the
municipal government spoke of building a cross-town highway, the
families moved out. Most of the houses date from 1885 (built for the
artisans and craftsmen who worked and lived in the area), but, when
the Italian Americans moved out, the community's low-rent houses went
to poor African American families. Moreover, by the early 1970s,
blighted Darien Street was at its lowest point as a community, because
the houses held little property value, many were abandoned, having
broken heaters and collapsed roofs, et cetera. Furthermore, the
houses were very small — approximately 15 feet (4.6 m)
wide and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep, each had three one-room stories
(locally known, and still currently advertised as a "Trinity" style
house) and the largest yard was 8 feet (2.4 m) deep. Despite the
decay, Darien Street remained charmed with European echoes, each house
was architecturally different, contributing to the street's community
character; children were safe, there was no car traffic. The closeness
of the houses generated a closely knit community located just to the
south of Center City, an inexpensive residential neighborhood a short
distance from the city-life amenities of Philadelphia; the city
government did not hesitate to rehabilitate it.
The gentrification began in 1977; the first house rehabilitated was a
corner property that a school teacher re-modeled and occupied. The
next years featured (mostly) white middle-class men moving into the
abandoned houses; the first displacement of original Darien Street
residents occurred in 1979. Two years later, five of seven families
had been economically evicted with inflated housing prices; the two
remaining families were renters, expecting eventual displacement. In
five years, from 1977 to 1982, the gentrification of Darien Street
reduced the original population from seven black households and one
white household, to two black households and eleven white households.
The average rent increased 488 per cent — from $85 to $500 a
month; by 1981, a house bought for $5,000 sold for $35,000. Of the
five black households displaced, three found better houses within two
blocks of their original residence, one family left Pennsylvania, and
one family moved into a public housing apartment building five blocks
from Darien Street. The benefits of the Darien Street
gentrification included increased property tax revenues and
better-quality housing. The principal detriment was residential
displacement via higher priced housing.
Washington, D.C. is one of the most studied examples
of the process, as well as one of the most extreme. The process in the
U Street Corridor
U Street Corridor and other downtown areas has recently become a major
issue, and the resulting changes have led to African-Americans
dropping from a majority to a minority of the population, as they move
out and middle-class whites and Asians have moved in.
D.C. is one of the top three cities with the most pronounced capital
flow into its "core" neighborhoods, a measurement that has been used
to detect areas experiencing gentrification. Researcher Franklin James
found that, of these core areas,
Capitol Hill was significantly
revitalized during the decade of 1960–1970, and by the end of the
decade this revitalization had extended outward in a ring around this
core area. Dennis Gale studied these 'Revitalization Areas,' which
include Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and
Capitol Hill neighborhoods,
and as compared to the rest of the district found that these areas
were experiencing a faster rate of depopulation in the 1970s than the
surrounding areas. U.S. census data show that in the Revitalization
Areas, the percent of population with four or more years of college
education rose from 24% in 1970 to 47% in 1980, as opposed to an
increase of 21% to 24% for the remaining areas of D.C. Additionally,
Gale's data show in 1970 that 73% of the residents living in the
Revitalization Areas had been residents since 1965, as opposed to only
66% of the residents living there in 1975 had been residents of the
area in 1970 as well.
The gentrification during this time period resulted in a significant
problem of displacement for marginalized D.C. residents in the
1970s. A decrease in the stock of affordable housing for needy
households as well as nonsubsidized housing for low-income workers has
had a burdensome effect on individuals and families.
As a result of gentrification, however, Washington, D.C.'s safety has
improved drastically. In the early 1990s, the city had an average of
500 homicides a year; by 2012, the rate had dropped by more than 80%
to about 100 before again seeing a 54% spike in 2015 over
2014. Many of the city's poorer residents were pushed out to
Charles County, Maryland
Charles County, Maryland and Prince George's County, Maryland. Prince
George's County saw a huge spark of violent crimes in 2008 and 2009,
but the rate has decreased since then.
Gentrification of San Francisco
A major driver of gentrification in Bay Area cities such as San
Francisco has been attributed with the Dot-Com Boom in the 1990s,
creating a strong demand for skilled tech workers from local start ups
and close by
Silicon Valley businesses leading to rising standards of
living. Private shuttle buses operated by companies such as Google
have driven up rents in areas near their stops, leading to some
protests. As a result, a large influx of new workers in the
internet and technology sector began to contribute to the
gentrification of historically poor immigrant neighborhoods such as
the Mission District. During this time
San Francisco began a
transformation eventually culminating in it becoming the most
expensive city to live in the United States.
From 1990 to 2010, 18,000 African Americans left San Francisco, while
the White, Asian, and Hispanic populations saw growth in the city.
From 2010 to 2014, the number of households making $100,000 grew while
households making less than $100,000 declined. According to
the American Community Survey, during this same period, an average of
60,000 people both migrated to
San Francisco and migrated out. The
people who left the city were more likely to be nonwhite, have lower
education levels, and have lower incomes than their counterparts who
moved into the city. In addition, there was a net annual migration of
7,500 people age 35 or under, and net out migration of over 5,000 for
people 36 or over.
Gentrification of Vancouver
As of 2011[update], gentrification in Canada has proceeded quickly in
older and denser cities such as Montreal, Toronto,
Vancouver, but has barely begun in places such as Calgary, Edmonton,
or Winnipeg, where suburban expansion is still the primary type of
growth. Since Canada did not experience the same degree of "white
flight" as in the U.S. during the 1960s and 70s, the term
"gentrification" in Canada is not synonymous with predominantly-white
people moving into the neighborhoods of people of color, as it is in
the United States. In fact in
Vancouver recent Asian
immigrants and foreign buyers are also major purchasers of downtown
housing, contributing to a major housing price spike in those cities
In Paris, most poor neighborhoods in the east have seen rising prices
and the arrival of many wealthy residents. However, the process is
mitigated by social housing and most cities tend to favor a "social
mix"; that is, having both low and high-income residents in the same
neighborhoods. But in practice, social housing does not cater to the
poorest segment of the population; most residents of social dwellings
are from the low-end of the middle class. As a result, a lot of poor
people have been forced to go first to the close suburbs (1970 to
2000) and then more and more to remote "periurban areas" where public
transport is almost nonexistent. The close suburbs (Saint-Ouen, Saint
Denis, Aubervilliers, ...) are now in the early stages of
gentrification although still poor. A lot of high-profile companies
offering well-paid jobs have moved near Saint-Denis and new
real-estate programs are underway to provide living areas close to the
On the other side, the eviction of the poorest people to periurban
areas since 2000 has been analyzed as the main cause for the rising
political far-right national front. When the poor lived in the close
suburbs, their problems were very visible to the wealthy population.
But the periurban population and its problem is mainly "invisible"
from recent presidential campaign promises. These people have labelled
themselves "les invisibles". Many of them fled both rising costs in
Paris and nearby suburbs with an insecure and ugly environment to live
in small houses in the countryside but close to the city. But they did
not factor in the huge financial and human cost of having up to four
hours of transportation every day. Since then, a lot has been invested
in the close suburbs (with new public transports set to open and urban
renewal programs) they fled, but almost nobody cares of these
"invisible" plots of land. Since the close suburbs are now mostly
inhabited by immigrants, these people have a strong resentment against
immigration: They feel everything is done for new immigrants but
nothing for the native French population.
This has been first documented in the book Plaidoyer pour une gauche
populaire by think-tank Terra-Nova which had a major influence on all
contestants in the presidential election (and at least, Sarkozy,
François Hollande, and Marine Le Pen). This electorate voted
overwhelmingly in favor of
Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen and Sarkozy while the city
centers and close suburbs voted overwhelmingly for François Hollande.
Most major metropolises in France follow the same pattern with a belt
of periurban development about 30 to 80 kilometers of the center
where a lot of poor people moved in and are now trapped by rising fuel
costs. These communities have been disrupted by the arrival of new
people and already suffered of high unemployment due to the dwindling
numbers of industrial jobs.
In smaller cities, the suburbs are still the principal place where
people live and the center is more and more akin to a commercial
estate where a lot of commercial activities take place but where few
Cape Town, South Africa
Bo-Kaap pocket of
Cape Town nestles against the slopes of Signal
Hill. It has traditionally been occupied by members of South Africa's
minority, mainly Muslim,
Cape Malay community. These descendants of
artisans and political captives, brought to the Cape as early as the
18th century as slaves and indentured workers, were housed in small
barrack-like abodes on what used to be the outskirts of town. As the
city limits increased, property in the
Bo-Kaap became very sought
after, not only for its location but also for its picturesque
cobble-streets and narrow avenues. Increasingly, this close-knit
community is "facing a slow dissolution of its distinctive character
as wealthy outsiders move into the suburb to snap up homes in the City
Bowl at cut-rate prices". Inter-community conflict has also
arisen as some residents object to the sale of buildings and the
resultant eviction of long-term residents.
Design street in Milan's Zona Tortona.
In Italy, similarly to other countries around the world, the
phenomenon of gentrification is proceeding in the largest cities, such
as Milan, Turin,
Genoa and Rome.
In Milan, gentrification is changing the look of some semi-central
neighborhoods, just outside the inner ring road (called Cerchia dei
Bastioni), particularly of former working class and industrial areas.
One of the most well known cases is the neighborhood of Isola. Despite
its position, this area has been for a long time considered as a
suburb since it has been an isolated part of the city, due to the
physical barriers such as the railways and the Naviglio Martesana. In
the 1950s, a new business district was built not far from this area,
but Isola remained a distant and low-class area. In the 2000s vigorous
efforts to make Isola as a symbolic place of the
Milan of the future
were carried out and, with this aim, the Porta Garibaldi-Isola
districts became attractors for stylists and artists.
Moreover, in the second half of the same decade, a massive urban
rebranding project, known as Progetto Porta Nuova, started and the
neighborhood of Isola, despite the compliances residents have
had, has been one of the regenerated areas, with the Bosco
Verticale and the new Giardini di Porta Nuova.
Another semi-central district that has undergone this phenomenon in
Milan is Zona Tortona. Former industrial area situated behind Porta
Genova station, Zona Tortona is nowadays the mecca of Italian design
and annually hosts some of the most important events of the
Fuorisalone during which more than 150 expositors, such as
Superstudio, take part. In Zona Tortona, some of important
landmarks, related to culture, design and arts, are located such as
Fondazione Pomodoro, the Armani/Silos, Spazio A and MUDEC.
Going towards the outskirts of the city, other gentrified areas of
Milan are Lambrate-Ventura (where others events of the Fuorisalone are
hosted), Bicocca and
Bovisa (in which universities have
contributed to the gentrification of the areas), Sesto San Giovanni,
Via Sammartini, and the so-called NoLo district (which means Nord di
In Poland, gentrification is proceeding mostly in the big cities like
Warsaw, Łódź, Cracow, Silesian Metropolis, Poznań, Wrocław. The
reason of this is both de-industrialisation and poor condition of
The biggest European ongoing gentrification process has been occurring
Łódź from the beginning of 2010s. Huge unemployment (24% in
1990s) caused by the downfall of the garment industry created both
economic and social problems. Moreover, vast majority of industrial
and housing facilities had been constructed in the late 19th century
and the renovation was neglected after WWII.
rebuilt the industrial district into the New City Center. This
included re-purposing buildings including the former electrical power
and heating station into the
Łódź Fabryczna railway station and the
EC1 Science Museum.
There are other significant gentrifications in Poland, such as:
Cracow – the Jewish district Kazimierz, gentrification financed
mostly by private investors.
Poznań – build up
Law Department of
Adam Mickiewicz University
Adam Mickiewicz University in
the post military facility.
Wrocław – Nadodrze and Nowe Żerniki districts; residential area
drown upon the modernism concepts.
Wałbrzych, Julia coal mine – adaptation post-industrial buildings
to art and cultural facilities.
Praga Północ district.
Nowadays the Polish government has started National Revitalization
Plan which ensures financial support to municipal gentrification
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio is an immigrant-led, organized
group of tenants who resist against gentrification in East Harlem, New
York. This movement has 954 members and 95 building communities.
On 8 April 2006, the MJB gathered people to protest in the New York
City Hall against an investment bank in the
United Kingdom that
purchased 47 buildings and 1,137 homes in East Harlem. News of these
protests reached England, Scotland, France and Spain. MJB made a call
to action that everyone, internationally, should fight against
gentrification. This movement gained international traction and also
became known as the International Campaign Against
Cereal Killer Cafe protest
On 26 September 2015, a cereal cafe in East
London called Cereal
Killer Cafe was attacked by a large group of anti-gentrification
protestors. These protestors carried with them a pig's head and
torches, stating that they were tired of unaffordable luxury flats
going into their neighborhoods. These protestors were alleged to
primarily be "middle-class academics," who were upset by the lack of
community and culture that they once saw in East London.
Middle-class academics" in East
London are also known as early
gentrifiers, who moved to their neighborhoods because they were known
to be cheap and "edgy," characteristics of an area that they see the
upper class as destroying through gentrification. People targeted
Cereal Killer Cafe during their protest because of an alleged news
article stating one of the brothers who has ownership over the cafe
said marking up prices was necessary as a business in the area. After
the attack on the cafe, people on Twitter were upset that protestors
targeted a small business as demonstration as opposed to a larger
Google bus protests
Google bus protests occurred in late 2013 in the
San Francisco Bay
Area in the United States, protesting against
Google shuttle buses
that take tech employees to and from their homes in the Bay Area to
workplaces in Silicon Valley. Protestors said the buses were symbolic
of the gentrification occurring in the city, rising rent prices, and
the displacement of small businesses. This protest gained global
attention and also inspired anti-gentrification movements in East
ink! Coffee Protest (Denver, Colorado)
On November 22, 2017, ink! Coffee, a small coffee shop, placed a
Sandwich board sign on the sidewalk outside one of
Denver locations in the historic Five Points, Denver
neighborhood. The sign said “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood
since 2014” on one side and "Nothing says gentrification like being
able to order a cortado” on the other side.
Ink's ad ignited outrage and garnered national attention when a
picture of the sign was shared on social media by a prominent Denver
writer, Ru Johnson. The picture of the sign quickly went viral
accumulating critical comments and negative reviews. Ink! responded to
the social media outrage with a public apology followed by a lengthier
apology from its founder, Keith Herbert. Ink's public apology deemed
the sign a bad joke causing even more outrage on social media.
The ad design was created by a Five Points,
Denver firm named
Cultivator Advertising & Design. The advertising firm responded to
the public's dismay by issuing an ill-received social media apology,
"An Open Letter to Our Neighbors".
Clean up effort by the City of
Denver at ink! Coffee in Five Points,
Denver. The coffee shop was vandalized following the debut of a
controversial ad campaign.
The night following the debut of ink's controversial ad campaign their
Denver location was vandalized. A window was broken and
the words "WHITE COFFEE" among others were spray-painted onto the
front of the building. Protest organizers gathered at the coffee shop
daily following the controversy. The coffee shop was closed for
business the entire holiday weekend following the scandal.
Denver community demonstration in response to
gentrification sidewalk ad created by ink! Coffee.
At least 200 people attended a protest and boycott event on November
25, 2017 outside of ink!'s Five Points location. News of the
controversy was covered by media outlets
Urban decay, the reverse process
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Wikiquote has quotations related to: Gentrification
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gentrification.
Look up gentrification in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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