Definition of Gentrification
(noun) The planned or unplanned process by which wealthy or affluent individuals in the middle class displace poorer individuals in traditionally working class or poor neighborhoods by purchasing property and upgrading it through renovation and modernization.
Example of Gentrification
- In a large metropolitan city, white-collar workers move into a blue-collar neighborhood to take advantage of lower property costs and proximity to developing industries. The new residents with disposable income repaint houses, build pools, and add on garages thus driving up property values and taxes which forces older residents to move out of the neighborhood due to economic restraints.
- American English – /jen-truh-fuh-kAY-shuhn/
- British English – /jen-trif-i-kAY-shuhn/
- Plural: gentrifications
- Term coined by Ruth Glass in London: Aspects of Change (1964) in reference to the arrival of gentry—an historic term connoting individuals with high status and wealth—to the Islington area of London in the 1960s.
- Loretta Lees coined the term super-gentrification in “Super-Gentrification: The Case of Brooklyn Heights, New York City” (2003) to describe areas “that have become the focus of intense investment and conspicuous consumption by a new generation of super-rich ‘financifiers’ fed by fortunes from the global finance and corporate service industries” (Lees 2003:2487). Lees describes areas gentrified by the middle class, being re-gentrified by the upper class.
- While typically associated with large urban areas, gentrification also occurs in rural areas. Called rural gentrification, the process typically occurs within commuting range of urban areas or in areas with employment or higher education opportunities and in cultural or tourist areas.
- Gentrification can lead to anomie and a loss of fictive ties for displaced individuals. Displaced people often incur increased commuting costs and times due to relocating farther from their workplace.
- Gentrification changes the character and cultural diversity of an area, often due to the destruction of aging buildings that are cheaper to replace than renovate.
- A type of urban renewal.
- Type: familification
- Also called:
- urban gentrification
- urban recycling
- An area is (adjective) gentrified through gentrification by a (noun) gentrifier who (verb) gentrifies.
- “Concern with identity means taking seriously the importance of fashion in gentrification: gentrifiers and suburbanites are members of different status groups, using housing as status symbols to define and claim membership of those groups. Displacees are just as concerned with the maintenance of their identity, but do not have access to the same amount of resources as gentrifiers. Because the solution to the gentrifiers’ identity crisis takes place at the expense of the displacee, gentrification takes on a synecdochal quality: the concerns expressed in struggles over gentrification exemplify the general concern with identity in conditions of modernity, which should be understood as the subjective experience of everyday life within a capitalist mode of production. The context within which these struggles over status take place is nonetheless class-constituted and class laden. Gentrification and the struggles it engenders should be interpreted as a form of hegemonic practice. Ultimately, it is this that makes gentrification ‘gentrification'” (Redfern 2003:2351).
- “Like suburbanisation, gentrification in Europe and the United States is a process which has often worked to the benefit of white people at the expense of ethnic minorities” (Macionis and Plummer 2012:846).
- “The results suggest that when municipal-led gentrification programs privilege families, they are based on prior beliefs about the economic and social roles that families play in neighborhoods. Thus, we should expect policies that emphasize familification—the process of neighborhood change by families moving in—to be an increasingly common approach in cities where the nuclear family is symbolically significant in the local culture” (Goodsell 2013:862).
- Word origin of “gentrification” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Atkinson, Rowland, and Gary Bridge, eds. 2005. Gentrification in a Global Context: The New Urban Colonialism. London: Routledge.
- Bellush, Jewel. 1967. Urban Renewal: People, Politics, and Planning: A Reader on the Political Controversies and Sociological Realities of Revitalizing the American City. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
- Brown-Saracino, Japonica, ed. 2010. The Gentrification Debates: A Reader. London: Routledge.
- Corburn, Jason. 2009. Toward the Healthy City People, Places, and the Politics of Urban Planning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Caro, Robert A. 1974. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf.
- Freeman, Lance. 2006. There Goes the ‘Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Fyfe, Nicholas R., and Judith T. Kenny, eds. 2005. The Urban Geography Reader. London: Routledge.
- Jacobs, Jane. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House.
- Katz, Michael B. 2001. The Price of Citizenship: Redefining American The Welfare State. New York: Metropolitan Books.
- Lang, Robert E., and Rebecca R. Sohmer. 2000. “Legacy of the Housing Act of 1949: The Past, Present, and Future of Federal Housing and Urban Policy.” Housing Policy Debate 11(2):291–98. doi:10.1080/10511482.2000.9521369.
- Laska, Shirley Bradway, and Daphne Spain. 1980. Back to the City: Issues in Neighborhood Renovation.
- Lees, Loretta, Elvin K. Wyly, and Tom Slater, eds. 2010. The Gentrification Reader. London: Routledge.
- Martinez, Miranda J. 2010. Power at the Roots: Gentrification, Community Gardens, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
- Smith, Neil, and Peter Williams. 1986. Gentrification of the City. London: Allen & Unwin.
- Sorkin, Michael. 2009. Twenty Minutes in Manhattan. London: Reaktion.
- Wilson, James, and George Kelling. 1982. “Broken Windows.” Atlantic Monthly 249(3):29–36, 38.
- 50 Years of Gentrification – A Timeline: nextcity.org
- Gentrification – The Controversal Topic of Gentrification and Its Impact on the Urban Core: geography.about.com
- Gentrification – “Website regarding the urban geography process of gentrification”: sites.google.com
- 7th Street
- The Atlanta Way
- The Domino Effect
- East Side Showdown
- El Barrio Tours
- Gut Renovation
- Hell’s Kitchen: A New York Neighborhood
- Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home
- My Brooklyn
- Save the Farm
- The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities
- We Will Not Be Moved
- bedroom community
- urban renewal
- urban sociology
- white flight
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Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
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Cite the Definition of Gentrification
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “gentrification.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/gentrification/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
gentrification. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/gentrification/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “gentrification.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/gentrification/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“gentrification.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/gentrification/>.