Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Roberto Pedace

Reader 2

Sean Flynn

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© 2015 Grace H Xue

Abstract

Since 2000, gentrification has accelerated in many U.S. metropolitan areas. Nearly 20 percent of US cities have experienced this phenomenon. It has been the cause of painful conflicts in many American cities, often along racial and economic fault lines. Neighborhood change is often viewed as a miscarriage of social justice, in which wealthy, usually white, newcomers are congratulated for "improving" a neighborhood whose poor, while minority residents are displaced by skyrocketing rents and economic change. Though, there hasn’t been much agreement on the causes of gentrification, the government is often blamed for its policy decisions made in regards to urban revitalization.

This paper examines the extent to which gentrification in four U.S. metropolitan areas, Washington D.C., Portland, Minneapolis and Philadelphia is associated with local government urban revitalization policies. In my study, I examine the neighborhoods that were affected by government revitalization efforts. Then I analyze data from the U.S. Census Bureau comparing the neighborhoods that gentrified with those that didn’t using a set of gentrification criteria. The results suggest that government policies is not the main driving force behind gentrification. In addition, these policies do not significantly improve conditions in non-gentrified tracts. Overall, neighborhoods that experienced gentrification experience tremendous neighborhood improvements.

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