Demographics Lead Development: Sequencing the Consumption and the Production of Gentrification in 2010s New York City

Authors: Brenden Beck*, University of Florida
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Gentrification, housing, urban development, residential mobility
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

What sparks gentrification? Is it reinvestment by real estate developers or in-migration by white, middle-class residents? Understanding the temporality of gentrification is vital to developing useful social movement and policy responses to the process. If it is led by supply-side speculation, cities and community groups might develop stronger protections for current building owners. But, if gentrification is led by demand-side movements of people, cities might focus their efforts on protecting current renters. This project uses a novel measure of reinvestment, property tax assessment data, and a unique quantitative methodology, Granger analysis, to reveal the sequence of consumption and production in 2010s New York City. We analyze trends in 1,900 census tracts from 2009 to 2016 using Arellano and Bond, generalized method of moments models in a reciprocal effects design. We find that an influx of gentrifiers is a strong predictor of future real estate price appreciation, but that real estate value is not a predictor of future gentrifier in-migration. This provides strong support for the demand-side theory which emphasizes new white, middle-class residents as the leading edge of gentrification. Our findings are robust to a battery of alternate specifications and analytic techniques. Implications for social movements and policy are discussed.

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