gentrification, the rehabilitation and settlement of decaying urban areas by middle- and high-income people. Beginning in the 1970s and 80s, higher-income professionals, drawn by low-cost housing and easier access to downtown business areas, renovated deteriorating buildings in many cities, reversing what had been an outmigration of upper-income families and individuals from many urban areas. This led to the rebirth of some neighborhoods and a rise in property values, but it also caused displacement problems among poorer residents, many of them elderly and unable to afford higher rents and taxes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.