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Essay on Gentrification

For years now, various counties have experienced Gentrification, which has affected multiple neighbourhoods resulting from the influx in their incomes. Various scholars have defined Gentrification in different ways, which, from their points of definition, appear to be building a similar argument. One unanimously agreed definition of Gentrification is when wealthy individuals move to urban areas initially inhabited by poor people, changing everything, like bringing in new businesses and changing the modes of housing which in the long run displaces the inhabitants. Some other acceptable arguments on the definition of Gentrification include the process of replacing original inhabitants or even changing their characters. Gentrification comes hand in hand with the development of estates with increased prices that typically favour middle and high-class earners. As much as various scholars have argued in support of Gentrification due to its positive impacts, it is still a problem worth addressing. Understanding all these dynamics requires the fundamental knowledge of Gentrification right from its origin, development, forces driving it, and the impact it has on the neighbourhoods experiencing it. A significant issue arising from Gentrification is whether its benefits outweigh the negative consequences and whether countries should embrace it fully as part of urban policy.

Origin of Gentrification

The history of Gentrification is well traced right from when it was first used by a British sociologist called Ruth Glass in the 1960s. Ruth first used the term gentrification as she was referring to the displacement that faced the working class inhabitants of London due to the emergence of new-class newcomers. From her point of view on using the term, Gentrification has unanimously been accepted as the displacement of one social class by another higher social class from their residence due to increased property value. Additionally, since then, it has been accepted as a way of neighbourhood change. Some major countries that have experienced the impacts of Gentrification include the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Su (2022) gives an interesting explanation of how Gentrification came into existence. He argues based on the increased value of time on the skilled individuals’ side, which made them relocate to the cities. From such a massive relocation of skilled workers, the prices of amenities like rent increased to counter the increasing demand. Interestingly enough, such an increase in amenities prices further attracted the skilled workers as those low-skilled relocated to other areas since the increased costs of such amenities could not favour them.

Driving Factors

There are various factors that, for some time, have been seen as the drivers of the existence of Gentrification. First, all fingers are pointed out at racism. Thurber & Krings (2021) argued that racism which had a stake in economic, political, and social relations, influenced the rise of Gentrification. Their argument was based on the racist rule that needed everyone to stay in areas where they could be easily traced by their colonizers and even dictated where they could stay. All these rules restricted the opportunities of individuals to favour the whites, who were considered high class and superior to the black. Such advantages made it easy for them to displace the blacks from the cities who were considerably seen as poor.

The second factor is the increased demand for amenities like skilled workers or working-class housing. Thurber & Krings (2021) supported such a factor by arguing that those of high social class who were now increasing in numbers would opt for houses in the gentrifying areas, which they could still afford despite the hiked prices of the amenities. As cited by the two scholars, those who mainly opted for the gentrifying areas were the more educated, the rich, whites, and the working class, thereby displacing the poor that initially were residents of such places. The increased prices of amenities like housing favoured those of the high course but never preferred the low style. Consequently, the low class became displaced by those who could manage the hiked amenities.

Positive impacts of Gentrification

One of the expected benefits of Gentrification cited by various scholars is its ability to transform and change the neighbourhood’s properties to be of a higher value. Additionally, Gentrification reduced the chances of exposing the residents to poverty. Such an argument is supported by Lin et al. (2021), who, from their research, found out that there is a significant decrease in the percentage of poverty rate in gentrified neighbourhoods. Finding a three per cent decrease in poverty in the research indicated that Gentrification is critical in reducing poverty levels. From the basis of the reduced poverty level, the living conditions of the neighbourhoods that are gentrified are likely to be improved.

Secondly, Gentrification leads to urban development. Wrona (2020), in his explanation, is in support of the idea that Gentrification brings about urban development. In his arguments, urban policies should be brought to board to run such developmental activities to achieve the outcomes. In supporting the idea, he gave an example of a case of suburbanization in the United States propelled by the relocation of middle-class individuals into the area. Additionally, Gentrification leads to replacing older buildings with new ones, resulting in contemporary and modern housing, a form of development.

Next, Gentrification leads to increased education levels in schools, followed by an increased number of youth professions (Lee & Galen, 2021). When it comes to the relationship between Gentrification and academics, the working class, the neighbourhood residents, are replaced by the wealthier individuals who, in most cases, are professionals in their various areas. As a result of the impacts the gentrified communities have on the students’ lives, there is an increase in the number of student enrollment in the gentrified neighbourhoods. Gentrification is linked to improved social exchange and interaction, like commercial development. Additionally, economic opportunities are enhanced through Gentrification as the values of multiple products in the gentrifying areas are also increased.

Negative Impacts

The negative impact of Gentrification is so intense that it makes it a big problem to handle. First, the results are broadly categorized into five groups, namely, economic, social, health, civic, and cultural consequences.

Economic Impacts

The significant economic impact that Gentrification mainly revolves around is increased property value which leads to the raising of the tax rates (Richardson et al., 2019). Additionally, it brings about a shortage of affordable houses, not forgetting the reduction in affordability of the amenities. To begin with, Gentrification brings about increased property taxes in various ways. First, the increased property value due to Gentrification automatically leads to increased property taxes. Secondly, the increased demand for houses by the incoming middle and high-class individuals in the gentrifying area leads to increased prices for housing, which alternatively increases the tax rate to stabilize the demand and supply principle. Such a consequence of an increased tax rate is unfavourable to the existing residents and directly affects the upcoming generation (Thurber & Krings, 2021)

The unavailability of affordable housing due to Gentrification is built in various ways. First, in the gentrifying area, the landowners would instead opt for increasing the rents of their houses due to the increased values of properties and taxes. Doing so would unlikely favour the low class while maintaining such raised rents. They would therefore sort for cheap houses which may not accommodate the high number of the low-class, thus insufficient affordable housing. When Gentrification and homelessness co-occur, the displaced residents might not find a place to stay (Thurber & Krings, 2021).

Social Impacts

Socially, Gentrification has a high chance of destroying social relations and networks and even causes tension. In explaining how Gentrification destroys social networks, Thurber & Krings (2021) argued that it eliminates the low-income residents who mainly rely on interpersonal relations for survival and friendship. In such cases, the individuals displaced from their residences have disrupted interpersonal relations with those around them. Such disruption is dangerous as it affects the children’s academic life of the displaced individuals, which also cuts off their relations with their friends at school.

When it comes to Gentrification creating social tension, it majorly arises from the racism and division resulting from social classes. The low-class individuals are made to believe they are lesser than the middle and high-class individuals whom Gentrification favours. Tension would likely arise due to the segregation and discrimination in such areas, interrupting social wellbeing. Socially, Gentrification is considered an enemy of good social relations.

Cultural Impacts

The two main cultural problems that arise from Gentrification are that it brings about changes in place identity and disrupts the attachment that exists with a deterioration of the sense of belonging. Changes in identity come from the re-branding and relocations that exist due to the Gentrification of neighbourhoods, as cited in Thurber & Krings (2021). Such re-branding in Gentrification brings about the rise of wealthier demographics. Additionally, the historical meanings and names of various cities and streets are changed, which changes the identity of such areas of Gentrification. Such an occurrence is unacceptable as it erases various historical cultures and identities that may have been created for an extended period.

When it comes to the disruption of place attachment and deterioration of the existing sense of belonging, the cultural ties between the existing communities are broken in the events where Gentrification occurs. Notably, displaced individuals may face the challenges of broken attachments to their original places, as remaining individuals may get fewer comforts (Thurber & Krings, 2021). Displacing an individual from original places makes them lose the attachment they had with such areas and further lose their sense of belonging.

Civic Impacts

Gentrification’s most common civic impacts are the destruction of political influence and marginalizing of civic life (Thurber et al., 2021). First, on the issue of interference of political influence by Gentrification, it arises from the disruptions resulting from the destruction of the neighbourhood association. Neighbourhood associations will weaken the political strengths in gentrified areas when the incoming residents are destroyed. Additionally, Gentrification makes it hard for the original existing residents to campaign for their political ideas as it only favours the new residents politically due to their social classes. Notably, Gentrification leads to the loss of power by the displaced residents to the new residents who would only fight for their interests.

When it comes to Gentrification, marginalizing civic life occurs when the long-term residents are displaced from their areas. As Thurber & Krings (2021) explain, the displacement of long-term residents leads to the loss of political powers, leading to mistrust. Moreover, such displacements come hand in hand with civic withdrawal by the original residents. As displaced individuals seek new areas, they may face problems coping with differences in political marginalization in their new areas.

Heath impacts

The two major health problems associated with Gentrification include mental problems and worsening the physical health of individuals in such areas. Mentally, Gentrification brings about stress and depression to old residents. Such mental issues are developed by increased price rates of amenities against their constant wages, which frustrates them on how to survive (Anguelovski et al., 2020). Concerning this, children from Gentrifying areas forced to relocate face stress and depression. As a result of racism and segregation in cases of Gentrification, residents go through depression as they view themselves as lesser beings compared to the other new social classes.

In the relationship between physical health problems and Gentrification, individuals residing in the gentrifying areas are exposed to problems arising from the increased rate of construction. Such a problem includes exposure to diseases like asthma and even lack of sleep due to construction. Health-wise, Gentrification leads to increased prices of fruits being unaffordable to low-class individuals and, as a result, exposure to diseases due to a lack of a balanced diet.

It is true to argue that the negative effect of Gentrification outweighs its benefits, just as seen by the problem it brings. From this, a suggestion arguing that Gentrification should be abolished may be acceptable to protect various aspects of life it affects. It indeed has some good impacts it has Just as seen above, like improving urban development, such advantages mostly favour the economic aspect of life. For balanced well-being, life’s social, political, economic, and health aspects should be considered. Doing so, it comes out that Gentrification affects all these aspects of life, giving all the reasons for its abolition in the interest of people’s wellbeing.

In conclusion, various strategies should be used to abolish this worrying problem of Gentrification. The first strategy is empowering community organizations to be strong and capable of resisting all forms of Gentrification. Secondly, various practical and effective policies should be implemented. Policies like including long-term residents in local development planning will help destroy social class differences and give them a sense of belonging. Lastly, encouraging community developments will ensure that no room for Gentrification exists. By doing so, the worrying problems associated with Gentrification will have been dealt with to completion.


Anguelovski, I., Triguero-Mas, M., Connolly, J. J., Kotsila, P., Shokry, G., Pérez Del Pulgar, C., … & Cole, H. (2020). Gentrification and health in two global cities: a call to identify impacts for socially-vulnerable residents. Cities & health4(1), 40-49.

Lee, R. J., & Newman, G. (2021). The relationship between vacant properties and neighborhood gentrification. Land Use Policy101, 105185.

Lin, L., Di, L., Zhang, C., Guo, L., & Di, Y. (2021). Remote Sensing of Urban Poverty and Gentrification. Remote Sensing13(20), 4022.

Richardson, J., Mitchell, B., & Franco, J. (2019). Shifting neighborhoods: Gentrification and cultural displacement in American cities.

Su, Y. (2022). The rising value of time and the origin of urban Gentrification. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy14(1), 402-39.

Thurber, A., & Krings, A. (2021). Gentrification.

Thurber, A., Krings, A., Martinez, L. S., & Ohmer, M. (2021). Resisting Gentrification: The theoretical and practice contributions of social work. Journal of Social Work21(1), 26-45.

Wrona, A. (2020). Gentrification as part of urban development. Biblioteka Regionalisty, (20).


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