Gentrification is a process of changing the character of a neighbourhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in politics and in urban planning. Gentrification often increases the economic value of a ,neighbourhood but can force out low-income residents due to the increased cost of rent and higher cost of goods.
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.
The gentrification process is typically the result of increasing attraction to an area by people with higher incomes spilling over from neighboring cities, towns, or neighborhoods.
Origin and etymology
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 England, Landed gentry denoted the social class, consisting of gentlemen. Although the term was already used in English in the 1950s—for instance by Sidney Perutz and in Warren's Weed—British sociologist Ruth Glass was first to use "gentrification" in its current sense. She used it 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 Islington:
In the US, the 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 neighborhoods."
Scholars and pundits have applied a variety of definitions to gentrification since 1964, some oriented around gentrifiers, others oriented around the displaced, and some a combination of both.
Kennedy & Leonard (2001) say in their Brookings Institution report 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 number of places and blocks, the symbolic value and visibility in public discourse being higher than actual migration trends. Gerhard Hard, for instance, 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 start 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 Bionade-Biedermeier was 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 Swabians from southwest Germany saw the widespread use of inter-German ethnic slurs which would have been deemed unacceptable if used against foreigners.
American economists describe gentrification as a natural cycle: the well-to-do prefer to live in the newest housing stock.
There are several approaches that attempt to explain the roots and the reasons behind the spread of gentrification.
The first theory, demographic-ecological, attempts to explain gentrification through the analysis of demographics: population, social organization, environment, and technology.
The second theory proposed by London and Palen is based on a sociocultural explanation of gentrification.
The third theoretical explanation of gentrification is political-economic and is divided into two approaches: traditional and Marxist.
The community-network approach is the fourth proposed by London and Palen.
The fifth and final approach is social movements.
Two discrete sociological theories explain and justify gentrification: one as an economic process (production-side theory); the other and as a social process (consumption-side theory). Both occur when the suburban gentry tire of the automobile-dependent urban sprawl style of life. These professionals, empty nest aged parents, and recent university graduates perceive attractiveness in 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 sprawl.
Furthermore, proximity to urban amenities such as transit stops has been shown to drive up home prices over time.
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. Ley (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 process".
The 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.
Suburban development derives from outward expansion of cities, often driven by sought profit and the availability of cheap land.
The rent gap is fundamental to explaining gentrification as an economic process.
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.
Although gentrification may be known as “process of renovating deteriorated urban neighborhoods”, many will say that this process actually demolishes historical aspects of neighborhoods, raises residential prices too high for current residents to continue living there, and even negatively impacts the food industry by transforming the local eateries into cafes or a restaurants chain.
Gentrification and deindustrialization may also help clean up neighborhoods such as those on the waterfront in Gowanus, New York; however, this clean up tends to draw the attention to commercialized developments which then build and essentially take of the nature of the waterfront. This urbanization creates a tourist attraction and raises value of living in the area to the point where locals have no choice but to move elsewhere.
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 decision-making time.
This section of Smith's theory attempts to describe the timing of the process of gentrification.
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".
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 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.
This new middle class was characterized by professionals with life pursuits expanded from traditional economistic focus.
These effects are becoming more widespread due to governments changing zoning and liquor laws in industrial areas to allow buildings to be used for artist studios and tasting rooms.
"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."
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 Booza, Cutsinger & Galster (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.
Gentrification is linked to a shift in the role of the state from providing social welfare to providing business services and amenities. Gentrification has been substantially advocated by local governments, often in the form of 'urban restructuring' policies.
Rehabilitation movements have been largely successful at restoring the plentiful supply of old and deteriorated housing that is readily available in inner cities.
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.
Urban spaces previously deemed "dangerous" and "unlivable" by high-income people have suddenly become desirable through urbanization, movement within and between cities, and the continuation of settler enclosure.
There is also the argument that gentrification reduces the social capital of the area it affects.
The displacement of low-income residents is commonly referenced as a negative aspect of gentrification by its opponents. Residents of a gentrifying community may fear displacement by evictions or the increased costs of area real estate. This displacement can threaten to change an inner city working-class area into a “bourgeois playground”.
Displacement of lower-income families as a result of gentrification has been a major issue for decades.
Amongst the various issues concerning displacement and gentrification, the disregard for homeless individuals is highly apparent.
City officials identified lack of affordable housing as the lead cause of homelessness. Gentrification as a whole is forcing the underprivileged to fight for limited housing thus continuing the cycle of homelessness.
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 the area. 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. As a former employee of St. Mark's Bookshop, the closing of which is a symbol of New York's going under the process, Margarita Salina wrote "Post-gentrification is what happens when even the gentrifiers can't afford to live in the neighborhood they've gentrified."
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.
There is also evidence to support that gentrification can strengthen and stabilize when there is a consensus about a community's objectives.
The economic changes that occur as a community goes through gentrification are often favorable for local governments.
Home ownership is a significant variable when it comes to economic impacts of gentrification.
Economic pressure and market price changes relate to the speed of gentrification.
Voting is an individual-level decision that needs to occur in order for newly elected officials to make changes to neighborhoods, especially ones undergoing gentrification.
The social interaction within neighborhoods helps foster greater voter turnout overall.
The increased rate of gentrification has a negative correlation to voter turnout during its mid to late stages because new residents sometimes refuse to interact with other neighbors, especially when friendships are already established within neighborhoods.
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.
Scholars have also identified census indicators that can be used to reveal that gentrification is taking place in a given area, including a drop in the number of children per household, increased education among residents, the number of non-traditional types of households, and a general upwards shift in income.
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 stereotypical gentrifiers also have shared consumer preferences and favor a largely consumerist culture.
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.
Research shows how one reason wealthy, upper-class individuals and families hold some responsibility in the causation of gentrification due to their social mobility. Wealthier families were more likely to have more financial freedom to move into urban areas, oftentimes choosing to do so for their work.
Jackelyn Hwang and Jeffrey Lin prove in their research that another reason for the influx of upper-class individuals to urban areas is due to the "increase in demand for college-educated workers". It is because of this demand that wealthier individuals with college degrees needed to move into urban cities for work, increasing prices in housing as the demand has grown.
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.
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.
Phillip Clay's two-stage model of gentrification places artists as prototypical stage one or "marginal" gentrifiers.
The identity that residence in the inner city provides is important for the gentrifier, and this is particularly so in the artists' case.
Ironically, these attributes that make artists characteristic marginal gentrifiers form the same foundations for their isolation as the gentrification process matures.
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 bourgeois (affluent) White LGBT-newcomers and a Black middle-class neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. In Washington, D.C. Black and other ethnic minority mixed-income community residents accused both the affluent majority-White LGBTQ+ community and the closely linked Hipster subculture of Cultural Displacement (or destruction of cultural heritage) under the guise of progressive inclusion and tolerance.
While much of this information may be true, the LGBTQ+ community felt the need to create their own communities in racial minority dominated areas because of the oppression they faced in heterosexual dominated areas. In Chicago—with neighborhoods like Boystown, a now predominantly wealthy, LGBTQ+ area—these places only came to be because of the isolation of the gay community. As pushback against a city that did not want them there in the first place, the LGBTQ+ community created enclaves. Another example, Buenos Aires, shows that predominantly LGBTQ+ areas were only able to exist when the government allowed that area to be gentrified.
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.
Most economists don't think government anti gentrification measures make cities better off.
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 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.
Meibion Glyndŵr (Welsh: Glyndŵr), also known as the Valley Commandos, was a Welsh nationalist movement violently opposed to the loss of 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 inactive and 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.
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 leases.
Although developers may recognize value in responding to living patterns, extensive zoning policies often prevent affordable homes from being constructed within urban development.
Because land speculation tends to cause volatility in property values, removing real estate (houses, buildings, land) from the open market freezes 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 control.
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.
Gentrification is not a new phenomenon in Britain; in ancient Rome the 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 is being 'made over' by an urban centred middle class. In the post war era, upwardly mobile social classes tended to leave the city. Now, led by a new middle class, they are reconstructing much of inner London as a place both in which to work and live” (Butler, 1999, p. 77). King's College London academic Loretta Lees reported that much of Inner London was undergoing "super-gentrification", where "a new group of super-wealthy professionals, working in the City of London [i.e. 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 neighbourhood, but after the Second World War (1939–1945), many 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 a 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 lived until his election in 1997. The conversion of older houses into flats emerged in the 1980s as developers saw the profits to be made. By the end of the 1980s, conversions were the single largest source of new dwellings in London.
By the 1970s, investors in Toronto started buying up city houses—turning them into temporary rooming houses to make rental income until the desired price in the housing market for selling off the properties was reached (so that the rooming houses could be replaced with high income-oriented new housing)—a gentrification process called "blockbusting."
As of 2011, gentrification in Canada has proceeded quickly in older and denser cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Vancouver, but has barely begun in places such as Calgary, Edmonton, or Winnipeg, where suburban expansion is still the primary type of growth.
Canada's unique history and official multiculturalism policy has resulted in a different strain of gentrification than that of the United States.
In Quebec City. The Saint Roch district in the city's lower town was previously predominantly working class and had gone through a period of decline.
In Paris, most poor neighborhoods in the east have seen rising prices and the arrival of many wealthy residents.
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.
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 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.
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 people live.
Gentrification in South Africa has been categorized into two waves for two different periods of time. Visser and Kotze find that the first wave occurred in the 1980s to the Post-Apartheid period, the second wave occurred during and after the 2000s. Both of these trends of gentrification has been analyzed and reviewed by scholars in different lenses. One view which Atkinson uses is that gentrification is purely the reflection of middle-class values on to a working-class neighborhood. The second view is the wider view is suggested by Visser and Kotze which views gentrification with inclusions of rural locations, infill housing, and luxury residency development. While Kotze and Visser find that gentrification has been under a provocative lens by media all over the world, South Africa's gentrification process was harder to identify because of the need to differentiate between gentrification and the change of conditions from the Apartheid.
Furthermore, the authors note that the pre-conditions for gentrification where events like Tertiary Decentralization (suburbanization of the service industry) and Capital Flight (disinvestment) were occurring, which caused scholars to ignore the subject of gentrification due to the normality of the process. Additionally, Kotze and Visser found that as state-run programs and private redevelopment programs began to focus on the pursuit of "global competitiveness" and well-rounded prosperity, it hid the underlying foundations of gentrification under the guise of redevelopment. As a result, the effect is similar to what Teppo and Millstein coins as the pursuit to moralize the narrative to legitimize the benefit to all people. This concurrently created an effect where Visser and Kotze conclude that the perceived gentrification was only the fact that the target market was people commonly associated with gentrification. As Visser and Kotze states, "It appears as if apartheid red-lining on racial grounds has been replaced by a financially exclusive property market that entrenches prosperity and privilege."
Generally, Atkinson observes that when looking at scholarly discourse for the gentrification and rapid urbanization of South Africa, the main focus is not on the smaller towns of South Africa.
Then, by surveying the recent newcomers to the area, Atkinson's research found that there is confidence for local economic growth which further indicated shifts to middle-class values, therefore, gentrification. This research also demonstrated growth in "modernizers" which demonstrate the general belief of gentrification where there is value for architectural heritage as well as urban development. 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."
Historically, Garside notes that due to the Apartheid, the inner cities of Cape Town was cleared of non-white communities. But because of the Group Areas Act, some certain locations were controlled for such communities. Specifically, Woodstock has been a racially mixed community with a compilation of British settlers, Afrikaners, Eastern European Jews, Portuguese immigrants from Angola and Mozambique, and the colored Capetonians. For generations, these groups lived in this area characterizing it be a working-class neighborhood. But as the times changed and restrictions were relaxed, Teppo and Millstein observes that the community became more and more “gray” as in a combination between white and mixed communities.
Then this progression continues to which Garside finds that an exaggeration as more middle-income groups moved into the area.
The 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.
In another specific case, Millstein and Teppo discovered that working-class residents would become embattled with their landlords.
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.Rigenerazione%20urbana%20e%20rica]]  Moreover, in the second half of the same decade, a massive urban rebranding project, known as Progetto Porta Nuova sola, 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.
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 Loreto).
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 residential areas.
The biggest European ongoing gentrification process has been occurring in 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. Łódź authorities 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 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.
- Warsaw, Praga Północ district.
Nowadays the Polish government has started National Revitalization Plan which ensures financial support to municipal gentrification programs.
Central Moscow rapidly gentrified following the change from the Communist central-planning policies of the Soviet era to the market economy and pro-development policies of the post-Soviet Russian government.
From a market standpoint, there are two main requirements that are met by the U.S. cities that undergo substantial effects of gentrification.
The first wave came in the 1960s and early 1970s, led by governments trying to reduce the disinvestment that was taking place in inner-city urban areas. Additionally, 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.
The missing link is another factor that can be explained by particular, necessary demand forces.
In the U.S., the conditions for gentrification were generated by the economic transition from manufacturing to post-industrial service economies. The post-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.
The third wave of gentrification occurred in most major cities in the late 1990s and was driven by large-scale developments, public-private partnerships, and government policies. 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 being affected.
Cities with a rate of gentrification of ≈40% or more in the decade from 2000 to 2010 included:
- Portland, Oregon 58.1%
- Washington, D.C. 51.9%
- Minneapolis 50.6%
- Seattle 50%
- Atlanta 46.2%
- Virginia Beach 46.2%
- Denver 42.1%
- Austin 39.7%
Cities with a rate of less than 10% in the decade from 2000 to 2010 included:
- Memphis 8.8%
- Tucson 8.3%
- Tulsa 7%
- Cleveland 6.7%
- Detroit 2.8%
- Las Vegas 2%
- El Paso 0%
- Arlington, Texas 0%
Gentrification in 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, Kirkwood, Reynoldstown and Edgewood. On the western side of the city, once-industrial West Midtown became a vibrant neighborhood full of residential lofts and a nexus of the arts, restaurants, and home furnishings. 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 author Nathan McCall in his novel Them, in The Atlanta Progressive News, and in the documentary The Atlanta Way.
The city of Boston 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.
The South End became deteriorated by the 1960s.
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 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.
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.
The Peabody Schools also served as an enticing factor for the new gentrifiers for both stages of new homebuyers.
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 led to destabilization of black and Latino communities and their shared cultural identity.
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.
Gentrification in 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 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.
Washington 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.
The gentrification during this time period resulted in a significant problem of displacement for marginalized city 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's safety has improved drastically.
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 startups and nearby 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 contributing 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 in which 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.
In one of the first instances of the term “gentrification” being applied to a U.S. city, a 1979 article states "A renaissance in New York City?
In a 2017 review of the book Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, a New York Times writer stated that “bemoaning the changes that have plagued New York in recent years — the proliferation of $20 million apartments, the banks now on every corner visualizing the centrality of money to the city’s consciousness, the substitution of culinary virtue for a broader civic morality — has been an avocation for many people living in and around Manhattan for well over a decade.”
New York City is a common example of gentrification, especially when it comes to discussions about rising rents and low-income residents moving out.
The onset of AIDS in the LGBTQ+ community was a determining factor in the rapid gentrification of many homes and communities in many different neighborhoods of Manhattan.
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio is an immigrant-led, organized group of tenants who resist against gentrification in East Harlem, New York.
On 26 September 2015, a cereal cafe in East London called Cereal Killer Cafe was attacked by a large group of anti-gentrification protestors.
The San Francisco tech bus protests occurred in late 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States, protesting against tech shuttle buses that take 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 London.
On November 22, 2017, ink!
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 night following the debut of ink's controversial ad campaign their Five Points, 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.
On March 3, 2018, an anarchist group vandalized coffee shops, luxury automobiles, and restaurants on Locke Street in Hamilton, Ontario. The attack was linked to an anarchist group in the city known as The Tower, that aimed to highlight issues of gentrification in Hamilton through vandalizing new businesses. On March 7, The Tower's free community library was vandalized by what the group referred to as "far-right goons". Investigation followed, with arrests related to the Locke Street vandalism being made by Hamilton police in April and June 2018.