Skip to main content

Cityscape: Volume 18 Number 3 | Forewarned: The Use of Neighborhood Early Warning Systems for Gentrification and Displacement


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Volume 18, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Forewarned: The Use of Neighborhood Early Warning Systems for Gentrification and Displacement

Karen Chapple
Miriam Zuk
University of California, Berkeley

The 1980s saw the emergence of neighborhood early warning systems that use indicators to assess patterns of neighborhood change. In more recent years, new systems and analyses are measuring the risk of gentrification and displacement. Using information from a dozen interviews with developers and users and from a survey conducted in one region, we show that policymakers, community residents, and other stakeholders are actively using these early warning systems strategically, tactically, and for empowerment. Although the extent to which the analyses have actually caused policy shifts is unknown, the early warning systems clearly have influenced the urban debate about housing and neighborhood change. The durability of these efforts, however, remains an outstanding question. Cities have not yet sought to develop these tools and strategies for more equitable, inclusive neighborhood change, yet city government is a logical home for early warning systems, especially given new technological capabilities.

Previous Article   |   Next Article