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Quantifying Urban Inequality: An Investigation of the Wicked Problems of Gentrification

  • Trigg, Kate
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Gentrification, a process conceived to result in displacement of lower-income urban residents, is difficult to measure quantitatively due to its qualitative, social impacts. Additionally, the phenomenon is a wicked problem, with no decisive definition or a set list of causes. Whereas researchers have instigated attempts to numerically measure gentrification, there is a lack of a systematic and universal approach to evaluate the concept. To investigate this issue, an iterative process took place using gentrification theory and explorative work. A test index was created using the inner boroughs of the UK’s capital, London, aiming to use data which should be available within all cities. Indicators for the index based on the two main theories of gentrification were attained for three different time periods from governmental and census records, creating a longitudinal study to establish how an area has changed, and whether gentrification has occurred. The technique presents evidence of increasing socio-economic status within many of London’s inner  boroughs, with evidence of rising employment rates, house prices and managerial role residents. The highest scoring boroughs were areas considered to be undergoing super-gentrification. From the index, the next borough to super-gentrify will be Hammersmith & Fulham. For first time gentrifying boroughs, their index changes sit within the middle of the borough rankings. It is believed that further analysis and advancements are required on the index to ensure prevention of data misuse, conclusive results, and further consideration of cultural, political or social changes, however new contributions have been made within this topic from considering gentrification from a wicked problem viewpoint.

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