Who Gets Hurt by Gentrification?

San Francisco HomeProfiling some of New York’s newly mixed neighborhoods, Justin Davidson notes that the “link between a neighborhood’s economic fortunes and the number of people being forced to move away, while anecdotally obvious, is difficult to document”:

In 2005, Lance Freeman, a professor of urban planning at Columbia, examined national housing statistics to see whether low-income residents move more often once their neighborhoods start to gentrify. His conclusion was that they don’t. Mobility, he suggested, is a fact of American life, and he could find no evidence to suggest that gentrification intensifies it.

Instead, it appears that many low-income renters stay put even as their rents go up. … [Freeman] doesn’t doubt that displacement occurs, but he describes it as an inevitable consequence of capitalism. “If we are going to allow housing to be a market commodity, then we have to live with the downsides, even though we can blunt the negative effects to some extent. It’s pretty hard to get around that.”

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