Alyssa Morgan

Gentrification: Both Sides of the Story

After reading, “Is Gentrification A Dirty Word?”  I became more interested in gentrification and wanted to explore it more deeply.  As Smith (1996) states in the text that gentrification basically understood as a threat to resident’s housing, community and rent prices (p. 30).  Yet, I still have a few issues to work out pertaining to gentrification.  There must be good things about it, right?  Or why else would it still be going on?  Then again, rape and child abuse continue to be prevalent and they certainly are some of the worst things that one can be forced to experience.  So my question is, what part or parts of gentrification are good and bad for long-time residents vs. newcomers?  So I have decided to do some research to find out more about both sides of the story.  So this is my perspective, hopefully taking into account both sides, of gentrification.

What is gentrification?   

    "gentrify": convert (a working-class or inner-city district etc.) into an area of middle-class residence. gentrification/gentrifier- Oxford English Dictionary (1993). (

"gentrify, -fied, -fying": to convert (an aging area in a city) into a more affluent middle-class neighborhood, as by remodeling dwellings, resulting in increased property values and in displacement of the poor. gentrification - Webster's Dictionary (

Gentrification is bad for long-time residents because:

q       It increases homelessness – for displaced residents because it is financially hard and sometimes impossible to find new housing and pay for moving.

q       It may upset children – children who are displaced have to change schools, which can negatively impact their performance in school, not to mention their emotional well being and sense of stableness.

q       Overcrowding – this can result because families are forced to sometimes “double-up”.

q       Displaced elderly – have to leave their homes and communities they were familiar with and felt safe in.

q       Moving costs – relocating is expensive both emotionally and financially, especially because it is often into inferior housing.

q       More time and Money – has to be used by the displaced people to travel to and from work.

q       Loss of job or job change – due to having to move.

 q       Emotional stress- displaced persons may experience negative emotional effects such as stress, anxiety and depression due to the forced and 

     unwanted changes in their lives due to gentrification.

Note: Some of these ideas were adapted from a website at 

Sociologist Ruth Glass (1964) describes how harmful gentrification is when it is at work within one’s community.

"One by one, many of the working-class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle-classes - upper and lower. Shabby, modest mews and cottages - two rooms up and two down - have been taken over, when their leases have expired, and have become elegant, expensive residences....Once this process of 'gentrification' starts in a district it goes on rapidly until all or most of the original working-class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed." ( 

This information makes one wonder what could possibly be good about gentrification.  I just stated who loses, but now I will move on to discuss who benefits from gentrification.  

Gentrification is good because:

q       It slows suburban sprawl and environmental degradation.

q       Reduction of crime in the area.

q       Property tax revenues increase.

q       Jobs- more available jobs in the area due to new businesses.

q       Better looking neighborhood.

Note: some of these suggestions and opinions were taken from websites[i]

Basically gentrification seems to be good for the resident’s who get to stay and enjoy it once it’s done but not good for those who are pushed out of their homes because they can no longer afford to stay.

More Sites on Gentrification


Works Cited

.Smith, N. (1996).  Is gentrification a dirty word?  The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City.  (p.30-47).  New York, Routledge. A great website that offers aesthetically pleasing information about gentrification. Found   2-8-02.

(   A website that contains several quotes from person’s discussing gentrification

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