The restoration and upgrading of deteriorated urban property by middle-class or affluent people, often resulting in displacement of lower-income people.
Local authorities typically facilitate the process by extending home-improvement loans or grants as part of a policy-driven urban renewal program. Loans and/or grants are repaid by tax revenues, including increased return on the renovated properties and surrounding businesses. The original inhabitants move out as leases end, houses are sold, or landlords harass their tenants into moving. Gentrification often involves a change of tenure from rent (leasehold) to private ownership (freehold).
The result of gentrification is a distinctive lifestyle; whereas, a gentrified neighborhood becomes the spatial expression of a new middle-class habitat at the expense of prior, lower-income residents who consequently lose their access to the city’s goods and services upon which they depend. Those former residents leave the gentrified neighborhood by various forms of displacement, including forcible evictions, or by their inability to pay for higher rents and other costs in the gentrified zone.
“Gentrification” derives from the English term for the land-owning class (gentry) residing outside of the urban center. The phenomenon of migrating social classes with capital migrating to the city center resembles a migration of the gentry into the city.