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Mapping Gentrification: A Methodology for Measuring Neighborhood Change


Local Data for Local Action

Volume 26 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Mapping Gentrification: A Methodology for Measuring Neighborhood Change

Serena Smith
Owais Gilani
Vanessa Massaro
Caroline McGann
Gavin Moore
Bucknell University

Michael Kane
Yale University

The effects of gentrification are well studied, with varied findings. Studies debating and nuancing gentrification’s effects have subsequently entailed variation on how the phenomena should be defined. The variance in definitions can create different calculations and potentially muddy findings on its effects. Having a well-defined methodology for calculating gentrification is essential to ensuring a deeper understanding of the phenomena and its effects. This article seeks to establish such a methodology that relies exclusively on publicly available data. This article overviews the definitions used in several peerreviewed articles to identify 12 different methods for calculating gentrification. The authors created an interactive tool that classifies census tracts as gentrifying (, nongentrifying, and nongentrifiable in metropolitan areas in the United States. Through a case study of Pittsburgh, the authors offer insights into which definition of gentrification best fits a qualitative understanding of the city. This article leaves readers with a methodology and tool for defining and mapping gentrification across the United States, making it easy to compare the results across different definitions. This tool and application offer a way for researchers, activists, and policymakers to compare various definitions in a particular geography to ensure consistent findings in studies across the United States.

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