Sociology Index


Urban gentrification is a process of change in the social and economic condition of urban neighborhoods where poorer original residents are replaced by newcomers from middle class and professional groups.

Urban gentrification brings change in an urban area associated with the movement of more affluent individuals into a lower-class area. Urban gentrification causes demographic shifts like increase in the median income, reduction in household size, and a decline in the proportion of particular groups.

Gentrification: Concept Commonalities and Conflicts in Urban Studies and Implications for Immerging Rural Studies. Michelich, Kathy, Annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society
Abstract: '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 will examine the basic concept of gentrification. Exploring the concept of gentrification from an urban perspective will be useful in order to better understand how the term and concept can appropriately be applied to non-metropolitan areas and rural social research. Contrasting the urban definitions of 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 gentrification are being explored in non-metropolitan settings. Based on the literature review, differences of urban and rural gentrification will be noted and further research proposed.

Displacement or Succession? - Residential Mobility in Gentrifying Neighborhoods
Lance Freeman, Columbia University, Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 40, No. 4, 463-491 (2005)
This article examines the extent to which gentrification in U.S. neighborhoods is associated with displacement by comparing mobility and displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods with mobility and displacement in similar neighborhoods that did not undergo gentrification. The results suggest that displacement and higher mobility play minor if any roles as forces of change in gentrification of neighborhoods. Demographic change in gentrification of neighborhoods appears to be a consequence of lower rates of intra neighborhood mobility and the relative affluence of in-movers.

Postrecession Gentrification in New York City - Jason Hackworth, University of Toronto
Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 37, No. 6, 815-843 (2002)
Although multiple authors have identified changes to 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 gentrification and explores its manifestation in three New York City neighborhoods. The literature points to four fundamental changes in the way that gentrification works. First, corporate developers are now more common initial gentrifiers than before. Second, the state, at various levels, is fueling the process more directly than in the past. Third, anti-gentrification social movements have been marginalized within the urban political sphere.

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. 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. Artists, politicians, entrepreneurs and investors created the process that we know today as gentrification in New York’s SoHo (SOuth of HOuston) neighborhood in the late 1960s and 1970s. These groups shaped a new form of urban development where declining industrial areas were converted into new use without costly urban renewal projects. Yet, this process relied on the migration of low-income minority workers away from the city. 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. 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 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, 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 work on gentrification.
The paper makes three contributions. First, neighboring tract income is shown to contribute to gentrification, providing evidence of positive inter-neighborhood spillovers. Second, the reasons for gentrification are shown to vary across cities: proximity to the city center and an older housing stock contribute more to tract-level gentrification in metropolitan areas. Accordingly, U.S. regions vary in how well their cities fit the general pattern of gentrification: cities in the South and Midwest exhibited gentrification over the period 1990-2000, whereas gentrification was characteristic only of the Northeast over the period 1980-1990. Finally, gentrification is accompanied by increases in the number of households and a growing housing stock, as well as changes in residential demographic composition.

For gentrification? - Tim Butler
Abstract: In this paper 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 whilst for others this very critique is an exemplar of the hegemonising tendencies amongst (often radical) North American urban scholars. I argue that the concept has grown somewhat middle-aged and overendowed with its own history. In particular, gentrification needs to decouple itself from its original association with the deindustrialisation of metropolitan centres such as London and from its associations with working-class displacement. Recently, gentrification has occurred across the spatial scale in second-order cities and in hitherto suburban locations as well as in the countryside. Processes such as greentrification, gated communities, and studentification often coexist in quite close proximity to each other; the influence London exerts over the southern half of England is a good example of this. I argue that the concept of gentrification functions as an important way of understanding the mediations between global processes and flows, on the one hand, and the construction of identities in particular localities, on the other. With the decline of social class as providing an overall explanation of cultural, social, and spatial behaviour, this notion of gentrification as a form of elective belonging has considerable potential for uniting geographical and sociological approaches to agency and structure.