Question: What characteristics of city redevelopment exacerbate or alleviate the burden of displacement for low-income residents?
Background: While urban renewal is typically viewed as the positive result of a revitalized city economy, it can also result in the displacement of low-income residents. Because the cost of living increases for all residents, but income does not increase for all residents, some are forced to move to lower-cost neighborhoods, which are further and further from desirable residential areas of the city. The causes of gentrification are varied: business growth, migration of high-income professionals and inadequate supply of housing at different income levels are a few. The landscape is substantially different, however, from city to city.
In Portland, Oregon, which has the highest rates of gentrification in the United States, 58% of low-income neighborhoods have been occupied by middle-class professionals since 2000. But Dallas, while also having gentrified in the last decade, has experienced not only lower rates of gentrification, but also a more positive perspective toward it, with some praising the redevelopment for adding to the culture of the city. This is not to say that cities such as Dallas do not express caution that populations might one day be displaced, but their attitude toward urban renewal is certainly different in the present.
The situation is even more varied on the international scale. In Nairobi, for example, city redevelopment frequently involves slum eviction. In Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, around 2,000 residents were evicted in 2004 to make way for road construction. Similar evictions have taken place in other Nairobi locations as well as other cities throughout Kenya. They are justified by a variety of means, including some for the development of new housing.
What commonalities exist between domestic resident displacement in US cities versus international locations? How does the overall speed of the country’s industrialization come into play? The goal of this project is to describe gentrification from a generalized standpoint, and then zoom in to individual cities to explain their individual situations more specifically. Once the contributing factors to gentrification are well-understood, then solution-focused initiatives can be undertaken.
- Select three cities from different countries. Code press releases, scholarly work, and social media for opinions and analysis of factors contributing to resident displacement and gentrification. Identify many possible key characteristics.
- Expand to twenty or more cities, and set up regression equations with % of tracts gentrifying and % of residents displaced as dependent variables, and the the identified key characteristics as independent variables.
- Interpret results, continue to re-work equation based on goodness-of-fit and usefulness of findings.
Marcuse, Peter. 1985. “Gentrification, Abandonment, and Displacement: Connections, Causes, and Policy Responses in New York City.” Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 28: 195.
Wile, Rob. 2015. “Portland Is the Most Gentrified City of the Century.” Fusion. Accessed May 7. http://fusion.net/story/44321/portland-is-the-most-gentrified-city-of-the-century/.
“Gentrification Rolls On in Dallas, But Will It Grow Up?” 2015. The Huffington Post. Accessed May 7. http://social.huffingtonpost.com/ginger-mcknightchavers/gentrification-rolls-on-i_b_5697768.html.
Mohindra, Katia S., and Ted Schrecker. 2013. “From Bulldozing to Housing Rights: Reducing Vulnerability and Improving Health in African Slums.” Global Health Promotion 20 (1 suppl): 64–69. doi:10.1177/1757975912462425.