Gentrification Definition & Explanation

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.

  • At this time, gentrification’s spatial boundaries considerably grew as formerly underdeveloped areas, including New York City’s Lower East Side, were suddenly the focus of significant, high-end real estate development.
  • In a July 2019 paper, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the U.S.
  • Rent stabilization is a controversial policy tool that originated in the 20th century and is designed to control rent prices.
  • 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”.
  • This electorate voted overwhelmingly in favor of Marine Le Pen and Sarkozy while the city centers and close suburbs voted overwhelmingly for François Hollande.

The basis of inclusionary zoning is partial replacement as opposed to displacement of the embedded communities. 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. Sharon Zukin’s study of SoHo in Manhattan, NYC was one of the most famous cases of this phenomenon. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Manhattan lofts in SoHo were converted en masse into housing for artists and hippies, and then their sub-culture’s followers.

Reasons for gentrification

Gentrification has been viewed by city planners and architects less as a theoretical problem than as a chance to reevaluate important facets of urban design and urban development strategy. In nearly every case, gentrification leads to population migration and declining crime rates. While gentrification occurs gentrification meaning in towns and cities across the United States, perhaps the starkest examples of how its effects can be a “problem” can be seen in Washington, D.C., and the California Bay Area. Robert Longley is a U.S. government and history expert with over 30 years of experience in municipal government and urban planning.

The second category include Kasman’s definition “the reduction of residential and retail space affordable to low-income residents”. The final category includes Rose, who describes gentrification as a process “in which members of the ‘new middle class’ move into and physically and culturally reshape working-class inner city neighbourhoods”. But as more people move out of the city, the shift takes place that in the places where wealthy people are likely to live, especially the specific neighborhoods, rent prices grow which makes the central city cost cheaper. This is the main cause of gentrification and it is closely tied to monetary value, capitalism, and economics of a city. One argument is the supply-side and demand-side factors that have been more favorable to the person that pays the most value for a property. This could be attributed to the decrease in inner-city housing and the growth of suburbs which was the case after the industrial era in England and America.

However, some view the fear of displacement, which dominates the debate about gentrification, as hindering discussion about genuine progressive approaches to distribute the benefits of urban redevelopment strategies. Gentrification is the rebuild of a specific deteriorated region or neighborhood into a more affluent and well-developed neighborhood. It has been controversial over the past few decades because not everyone agrees that gentrification has had a positive influence on people.

Gentrification Examples

In the Bay Area of California—the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose—the rapid replacement of old blue-collar industries and jobs with technology, medical, and financial services firms has largely displaced the pre-existing residents. To maximize their profits, developers built ever more units on ever less property to the point that the Bay Area is now the second densest urban area in America after Los Angeles. As the original lower-income population is replaced by upper- and middle-income residents, the political power structure of the gentrifying neighborhood can also change.

gentrification meaning

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. 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. Smith emphasizes that demographic and life-style changes are more of an exhibition of the form of gentrification, rather than real factors behind gentrification.

Why Gentrification Is Controversial

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 London. The biggest European ongoing gentrification process has been occurring in Łódź from the beginning of the 2010s. Huge unemployment (24% in the 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. This included re-purposing buildings including the former electrical power and heating station into the Łódź Fabryczna railway station and the EC1 Science Museum.

Looking back, in 1964, Ruth Glass introduced the word ‘gentrification’—a modification of the word ‘gentry,’ which referred to the upper class in Britain. She coined the term to describe ‘1964 London.’ The middle-class hurriedly occupied these areas, displacing the area’s former residents. Rent stabilization is a controversial policy tool that originated in the 20th century and is designed to control rent prices. Tight housing market dynamics play a critical role in causing gentrification and can vary from one location to the next.

In the United Kingdom, the gentry are the highest class of people aside from royalty. When you add -fication (the suffix that means “making”), you see how gentrification means “making something suitable for a higher class of people,” usually the middle class . When a neighborhood goes through gentrification, buildings get makeovers, new businesses open, and many people who’ve lived there their entire lives must leave because everything gets more expensive. But in the wake of and concurrent with Smith’s supply-side theory, other academics have reexamined the demand-side features of gentrification using a materialist perspective.

gentrification meaning

Lastly, Atkinson’s study found that the gentrification effects of growth can be accredited to the increase in unique or scarce skills to the municipality which revived interest in the growth of the local area. This gentrification of the area would then negative impact the poorer demographics where the increase in housing would displace and exclude them from receiving benefits. In conclusion, after studying the small town of Aberdeen, Atkinson finds that “Paradoxically, it is possible that gentrification could promote economic growth and employment while simultaneously increasing class inequality.”

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 of a plot of land given its present use, and the potential ground rent that might be gleaned under a ‘higher and better’ use.” As a neighborhood gentrifies, the economic opportunity that it represents increases. More people move into the area to take advantage of those opportunities, and then the desirability of that area increases even more. Old shops, restaurants, and other neighborhood features may be driven out by storefronts that cater to new residents. Rising costs of living and a changing landscape for jobs mean that the benefits gentrification brings to an area are often distributed unequally.

Numerous cities around the world experience the phenomenon of gentrification, which can have a direct impact on housing market dynamics. In most major cities, some neighborhoods that were previously less than desirable have morphed into vibrant districts with plush condominiums and offices, new coffee shops and restaurants, expensive retail storefronts, and various entertainment choices. The Fair Housing Act can be used as litigation against gentrification because the urban development process of higher-income individuals into lower-income neighborhoods leads to displacement.


Today, practically all historic gayborhoods have become less LGBTQ+ centric mainly due to the modern effects of gentrification. The rising cost to live in gayborhoods and government use of eminent domain have displaced many LGBTQ+ people and closed many LGBTQ+ centric businesses. 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.

In recent years, however, an array of proposals have been developed as a way to continue the gentrification of the city in a way that integrates and respects the rights of all citizens. 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.

Displacement of Old Businesses – Most mom-and-pop businesses get replaced by shopping malls and chain stores. Banglatown now resembles multicultural London, but the various attempts to gentrify the region have left the Bangladeshi business owners unsure of future prospects. The Black tax is a financial responsibility carried by upwardly mobile family members to aid less financially fortunate relatives. An oft-cited study of the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy highlights some of the factors that contribute to gentrification. The coffee shop was vandalized following the debut of a controversial ad campaign. Cracow – the Jewish district Kazimierz, gentrification financed mostly by private investors.

This was an opening gesture in what would become an ongoing debate about gentrification and the effect of tech companies on the city — a debate that played out in arguments over homeless camps, votes to stop development and countless more protests. Homeownership rates are being contributed by changes in income and family structures, internally, but also outside factors like gentrification and mortgage lending. As gentrification began to take hold in the 1990s, the buildings made way for new development. In some areas, gentrification projects have caused displacement of poverty-stricken residents. Political action is often the community’s response, either to promote the gentrification or oppose economic eviction.

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.

During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, the gentrification of San Francisco’s predominantly working class Mission District led some long-term neighborhood residents to create what they called the “Mission Yuppie Eradication 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” housing activists. Gentrification has been substantially advocated by local governments, often in the form of ‘urban restructuring’ policies.

Deixe um comentário

O seu endereço de e-mail não será publicado. Campos obrigatórios são marcados com *