Debunking the One-Size-Fits-All Gentrification Model

Not all gentrification is alike. New research show just how different gentrification is in St. Louis as compared to Seattle or San Francisco.
February 28, 2014, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Prof. Todd Swanstrom shares news of his research with Hank Webber that complicates the conventional thinking about how gentrification moves through neighborhoods and cities.

“Most of the research on gentrification has been conducted in strong market metros, like Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle,” explains Prof. Swanstrom, so “Hank Webber (Washington University) and I recently conducted research on upwardly trending neighborhoods in the St. Louis metropolitan area. What we found does not fit the gentrification model.”

“We found that rebound neighborhoods in St. Louis come in many different types and no neighborhood fits the classic gentrification model well.”

Examples include:

  • “The suburb of Maplewood, for example, has modest brick-frame housing stock but it has revitalized by creating a funky pedestrian friendly retail street with a local brew pub as an anchor.”
  • “…Botanical Heights which has the world-famous Missouri Botanical Gardens as its anchor. One of the keys to revitalization here was the creation by activist parents of a public charter Montessori School.” 
  • And in Central West End, widely considered the most successful rebound neighborhood in St. Louis, “[the] area is still remarkably diverse both racially and economically – with large numbers of African Americans, Asians and poor people still living in the area.”
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Published on Monday, February 24, 2014 in Legacy Cities
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