What Is Gentrification?

Gentrification is a process of changing the character and culture of a neighborhood through the arrival of more affluent residents and businesses. It is the transformation of a city neighborhood to a higher value. This process is often marked by skyrocketing rents and home prices, and eviction of the neighborhood’s previous residents. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders.  The effects of gentrification are complex and contradictory, and its real impact varies.

Gentrification was first popularized by the British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964, when she used the term to describe the influx of middle-class people into the working-class neighborhoods of London, displacing the former residents of those localities.

Many aspects of the gentrification process are desirable. Who wouldn’t want to see a reduced crime rate, new investments in buildings and infrastructure, and increased economic activity in their neighborhoods?

Increasing the rate of infrastructure by a huge amount falls under the category of hyperinflation. What is hyperinflation?

However, gentrification has become controversial because, historically, it has contained a significant component of discrimination against racial minorities, women and children, the poor, and the elderly. Displacement caused by gentrification can force former residents into poorer and relatively unsafe areas, with limited access to affordable housing, healthy food choices, and social networks.

Causes Of Gentrification

There can be several causes of gentrification. These include rapid job growth, tight housing markets, preference for city amenities, and increased traffic congestion.

Preference for city amenities can play a factor because certain demographic groups prefer to live in urban neighborhoods because of attractions like cultural venues, a plethora of coffee shops and restaurants, vibrant street life, various entertainment choices, and population diversity. The presence of such features can help city planners to identify which neighborhoods to gentrify.

Young families welcome the opportunity to buy reasonably priced homes in a safe community with sound infrastructure, and a wide variety of amenities and services. Local municipalities and governments also benefit from collecting higher taxes on rising property values and increased economic activity due to gentrification.

Gentrification is a process with both positives and negatives. If the government controls and monitors this process carefully, the negatives can be evaded.