This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Promoting Social Justice and Equity in Shrinking Cities.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
Just revitalization in shrinking and shrunken cities? Observations on gentrification from New Orleans and Cincinnati, by Renia Ehrenfeucht & Marla Nelson
In the last decade, shrinking cities have begun to gentrify, leading to optimistic narratives about their recovery. Redevelopment policies, however, can exacerbate social and spatial inequities if explicit efforts do not promote social justice. Drawing on evidence from Cincinnati and New Orleans, we explore 3 components of just revitalization: avoiding displacement, connecting longtime residents to new opportunities, and reducing decline in neighborhoods that are not revitalizing. The article then examines 3 reasons these objectives have been difficult to achieve: the timing of anti-displacement policies, the mechanisms used to connect long-term residents to economic opportunities, and how cities address conditions in neighborhoods that are not growing. The analysis shows that the cities are adopting mechanisms to spread the benefits of revitalization, but without explicit policies targeting low- and moderate-income residents, neighborhoods in shrinking cities can become unaffordable and gentrification will increase inequity.