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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?
November 2, 2014, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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James Emery

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."

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Published on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Chicago Tribune
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