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Gentrification

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  • Gentrification is a sociological term that has entered the mainstream. We will examine the meaning of the word gentrification, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Gentrification is the process by which a poor or deteriorating neighborhood is bought out and renovated by people of a higher socio-economic status. Whether gentrification is considered an improvement in a neighborhood depends on your point of view. Gentrification improves the property values in a given neighborhood, and may cause the revitalization of a dying area with the addition of families and those who have money to spend on local businesses. However, people of a lower economic status who live in an area that undergoes gentrification may be priced out of their own homes by new tax assessments on more valuable properties, or by landlords who wish to sell the property out from under the renters. Gentrification shrinks the amount of property available to low income earners, and breaks up communities that may in their own way have been sociologically stable. The word gentrification was coined by Ruth Glass, a British sociologist, in 1964. Originally, gentrification referred to the process of making a person more refined, like a gentleman. The verb form is gentrify, related words are gentrifies, gentrified, gentrifying.

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    Examples

    Gentrification is presented as a problem — residents who rent their homes may find their rents rising and longtime residents may find familiar local stores and services priced out of the neighborhood — to which the two candidates for mayor in Atlanta are proposing what they think of as solutions. (The Washington Examiner)

    The sign outside Ink Coffee was supposed to be a joke: “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014,” read the sidewalk board, displayed in a rapidly changing part of Denver once full of black and Latino families. (The New York Times)

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