Are Single Family Teardowns a Sign of Suburban Gentrification?

Luxury condos are often identified as the culprit in urban gentrification, but could it be that teardowns of single family homes that give way to much larger single family homes is a driver of suburban gentrification?

1 minute read

November 2, 2014, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


McMansion Sign

James Emery / Flickr

Mary Ellen Podmolik reports on the research of Suzanne Lanyi Charles, an assistant professor of architecture at Boston's Northeastern University. Charles "single-family home redevelopment — better known as teardowns — in suburban Cook County from 2000 to 2010," for evidence that the mansionization of Chicago's suburbs was a driver of gentrification.

Podmolik describes the research as a work in progress, with a large question asking to be answered: "So are the suburbs going the way of some neighborhoods, getting big, pretty houses at the expense of more moderate abodes and pushing out residents?"

Charles is still unsure of the answer to the question, as evidenced by this quote from the article: "I'm not entirely convinced this is gentrification…If you look that the new house is three times as expensive, you'd think the household coming in would have a considerably higher income. By one definition, that's a form of gentrification. But I've heard examples in Norridge of people who grew up in Norridge and wanted to stay there."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Chicago Tribune

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.