For many on the left, gentrification remains a dirty word, synonymous — or at least closely associated — with racism, oligarchic developers, neoliberalism, and even genocide. Fortunately, not all gentrification-watchers are so dystopic. Less excitable observers harbor reasonable concerns about poor residents forced to resettle in blighted areas, unscrupulous landlords, and the disruption of familiar neighborhoods.
A just-released working paper from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve could shake up the conversation. Several previous studies have already cast doubt on the conventional wisdom that gentrification causes widespread displacement of poor, longtime residents. “The Effects of Gentrification on Well Being and Opportunity of Original Resident Adults and Their Children” goes further by recasting gentrification as a potential force for income integration and social mobility.
Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. She is the author of, most recently, The New Brooklyn. This piece was adapted from City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.
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