Gentrification Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Gentrification is essential to understand when looking at housing affordability, poor neighborhoods, low-income families, and the segregation between lower and upper-class people

Over time, many affluent people have taken advantage of affordable housing, resulting in many discrepancies between families within different demographics. This disproportionately affects communities of color and has become a hot topic in the world of homeownership, eviction, zoning, renters, and leases. 

You need to know everything about gentrifying, how neighborhood change affects people, and how Gentrification has impacted different social groups, depending on their economic status.

What Is the Definition of Gentrification? 

Gentrification is the renovation of run-down urban neighborhoods stemming from an influx of more affluent residents. This is a common trend in once lower-class neighborhoods or working-class areas that have developed a reputation as “hip” or “cool” neighborhoods to live in. 

Once this happens, property values and rents tend to go up, forcing many original neighborhood inhabitants out. In other cases, it can lead to increased community pride and safety in a previously run-down area where people could not afford to live comfortably before — but there are always some downsides for displaced people. 

The term “gentrification” itself was coined in 1964 by sociologist Ruth Glass to describe what was happening in London’s North Kensington Estate: rich people moving into low-income neighborhoods. This is because they could afford the cost of living there and make life more difficult for those who already lived there by bringing higher taxes, increased rent prices, and other issues resulting from increasing gentrification rates.

While many people associate gentrification with the displacement of poor minorities from inner cities, researchers have found this to be only one aspect of what they term the “gentrification processes.” Gentrification can also increase opportunities for some low-income residents and poor communities through job creation and reallocation in labor markets. 

These positive outcomes may depend on the period; for example, during a recession, such benefits may become harmful if low-quality jobs require long commutes between housing and work locations. 

Gentrification may not be your cup of tea, but you can still use the word to describe what’s happening in your neighborhood. If people are moving into an area where they’re pricing out long-time residents or small businesses, that’s gentrification!

Where Has Gentrification Happened? 

Gentrification is a global phenomenon occurring in cities and neighborhoods around the world. In the United States, Gentrification has been happening since the 1970s; in Britain, it began in earnest during the 1980s, while Australia saw its first instances of Gentrification in the 1990s.

In the United States, it started in New York City and slowly spread to other urban areas like San Francisco, Washington DC, and Seattle. 

London saw its first signs of Gentrification in 1981 when Brixton was redeveloped as a middle-class area with a heavy police presence.

 In Australia, Sydney’s Surry Hills neighborhood began seeing higher rents in 1989 when a new light rail line opened nearby.

Some of the most popular places where Gentrification has been observed include these British and American cities: 

  • Brooklyn
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • London
  • Denver
  • San Francisco
  • New York City
  • The Bay Area

What Are the Effects of Gentrification? 

Gentrification can create some good, but it’s effects are overwhelmingly negative.

As wealthier residents move into a neighborhood, long-term residents may be priced out of their homes and displaced from their communities. When this happens, lower-income residents who cannot afford to live in the newly gentrified area are pushed farther away from jobs and city services (like hospitals). This can also remove mom-and-pop stores from neighborhoods, disrupt communities, and make it more difficult for lower-income people to find affordable housing in their cities.

If you are renting a property in an area that is experiencing gentrification, chances are that rent prices will increase. This is because landlords tend to take advantage of their higher property values by raising tenants’ rent.

Gentrification also often comes with higher crime rates than before the influx of new residents began, even though crime decreases overall. This is a result of economic development brought by gentrification efforts. It remains high enough that some people are deterred from moving back into their old neighborhoods once those areas become safer again.

Similar Terms to Gentrification

Some sociologists use other terms to describe Gentrification, such as “privatization” or “yuppification.” Privatization is when a public space is taken over by private interests. Yuppification refers to the process of a neighborhood becoming more upscale. 

Another similar term is “regentrification,” which means that original residents were able to stay in their homes and communities during and after gentrification occurred. Regentrification is a term used to describe the process of gentrification in which the original residents can remain in their homes and communities during and after gentrification occurs. 

While this may sound like a positive outcome of gentrification for some communities, it’s important to note that regentrification is not always a result of gentrification — it might occur as part of an overall economic revitalization effort rather than as an actual replacement process.


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Gentrification – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |

GENTRIFICATION | Cambridge English Dictionary

Gentrification Definition & Meaning |