Gentrification and the Housing Affordability Crisis

Authors: David Lukens*, Clark University
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Gentrification, Redevelopment, Housing Policy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Washington 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper reviews the history of gentrification research, its conceptual expansion and its critics. As gentrification theory has grown, the clarity it offers has been contested (Maloutas 2012, Ghertner 2015, Bernt 2015). I argue that this lack of clarity about gentrification is the result of gentrification theory’s internal logic and a failure of gentrification scholars to test the relationship of underlying economic dynamics and gentrification processes in way that maintains the concept’s analytical validity. While gentrification scholarship has provided a wealth of knowledge about manifestations of economic restructuring and inequality in the urban form, the underlying logic and political commitments of gentrification theory result in a failure to offer solutions to crises of housing affordability that have expanded far beyond an urban anomaly. I argue for a more holistic understanding of housing markets and housing provision systems that incorporates but moves beyond the process of gentrification as a description for most neighborhood change.

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