Gentrification is the buying and renovating of houses and stores in urban neighborhoods, which results in increased property values and displacing lower-income families and small businesses.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gentrification )〕 This is a common and widespread controversial topic in urban planning.〔Chris Hamnett: ''The blind men and the elephant: the explanation of gentrification.'' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 1991, v. 16, p. 173–189., (French (''Les aveugles et l'éléphant: l'explication de la gentrification.'' ) In: ''Strates.'' Nr.9, 1996-97, Crises et mutations des territoires)〕
It refers to shifts in an urban community lifestyle and an increasing share of wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values.〔Lees, Loretta, Tom Slater, and Elvin K. Wyly. Gentrification. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2008. Print. Defines gentrification as "the transformation of a working-class or vacant area of the central city to a middle class residential and/or commercial use".〕
Gentrification is typically the result of increased interest in a certain environment. Early "gentrifiers" may belong to low income artists or boheme communities, which increase the attractiveness and flair of a certain quarter. Further steps are increased investments in a community by real estate development businesses, local government, or community activists and more economic development, increased attraction of business and lower crime rates. In addition to these potential benefits, gentrification can lead to population migration.
In a community undergoing gentrification, the average income increases. Poorer pre-gentrification residents who are unable to pay increased rents or property taxes may find it necessary to relocate.
==Origin and etymology==
Gentrification is a multi-faceted phenomenon that can be defined in different ways.〔Freeman, ''There Goes the 'Hood'' (2006), p. 3. "The significant gaps in our understanding of gentrification persists despite a voluminous literature developed over several decades that perhaps reflects chaotic nature of gentrification as a concept (Beauregard 1986). As such it means different things, under different circumstances, to different people. This chaos results from the different manifestations of gentrification and its differing ways of impacting people in its wake."〕
Historians say that gentrification took place in ancient Rome and in Roman Britain, where large villas were replacing small shops by the 3rd century, AD.〔 The word ''gentrification'' derives from ''gentry''—which comes from the Old French word ''genterise'', "of gentle birth" (14th century) and "people of gentle birth" (16th century). In England, ''Landed gentry'' denoted the social class, consisting of gentlemen.〔''The Oxford Dictionary of Etymology'' (1966) C. T. Onions, G. W. S. Friedrichsen, R. W. Burchfield, eds.p.394〕 British sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term "gentrification" in 1964 to describe the influx of middle-class people displacing lower-class worker residents in urban neighborhoods; her example was London, and its working-class districts such as Islington:
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report ''Health Effects of Gentrification'' defines the real estate concept of ''gentrification''〔''Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary'' (1996) p. 798〕 as "the transformation of neighborhoods from low value to high value. This change has the potential to cause displacement of long-time residents and businesses ... when long-time or original neighborhood residents move from a gentrified area because of higher rents, mortgages, and property taxes. Gentrification is a housing, economic, and health issue that affects a community's history and culture and reduces social capital. It often shifts a neighbourhood's characteristics, e.g., racial-ethnic composition and household income, by adding new stores and resources in previously run-down neighbourhoods."〔
In the Brookings Institution report ''Dealing with Neighbourhood Change: A Primer on Gentrification and Policy Choices'' (2001), Maureen Kennedy and Paul Leonard say that "the term 'gentrification' is both imprecise and quite politically charged", suggesting its redefinition as "the process by which higher income households displace lower income residents of a neighborhood, changing the essential character and flavour of that neighbourhood", so distinguishing it from the different socio-economic process of "neighborhood (or urban) revitalization", although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
German geographers have a more distanced view on gentrification. Actual gentrification is seen as a mere symbolic issue happening in a low amount of places and blocks, the symbolic value and visibility in public discourse being higher than actual migration trends. E.g. Gerhard Hard assumes that urban flight is still more important than innercity gentrification.〔
Volkskunde scholar Barbara Lang introduced the term 'symbolic gentrification' with regard to the ''Mythos Kreuzberg'' in Berlin.〔Barbara Lang: ''Mythos Kreuzberg: Ethnographie eines Stadtteils (1961–1995).'' Campus Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-593-36106-X.〕 Lang assumes that complaints about gentrification often come from those who have been responsible for the process in their youth. When former students and bohemians started raising famililies and earning money in better paid jobs, they become the yuppies they claim to dislike.〔 Especially Berlin is a showcase of intense debates about symbols of gentrification, while the actual processes are much slower than in other cities.〔Péter Niedermüller: ''Soziale Brennpunkte sehen?'' In: ''Berliner Blätter.'' Ausgabe 32, LIT Verlag, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-6996-2.〕 The city's Prenzlauer Berg district is, however, a poster child of the capital's gentrification, as this area in particular has experienced a rapid transformation over the last two decades. This leads to mixed feelings amidst the local population.〔http://wonego.de/articles/living-in-berlin-citys-ongoing-gentrification/〕
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