Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Studies and Public Affairs


Maxine Goodman levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Mikelbank, Brian A.

Subject Headings

Geography, Urban Planning


This dissertation is composed of three essays. The three essays have different topics, research questions, methods, and conclusions. The first essay focused on how to identify gentrified areas. This dissertation employed census tract data of the urbanized areas within 12 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States of America to identify gentrified census tracts. To discern gentrified census tracts, this dissertation created the Gentrification Index which is composed of Neighborhood Transformation Index and Displacement Index. Among 12,803 total census tracts, 11,690 census tracts (91.31%) have been identified as no gentrification, 843 (6.58%) census tracts have been recognized as somewhat gentrified, and 270 (2.11%) census tracts have been verified as gentrified census tracts. The second essay asked whether or not gentrification process is different depending on the regional context. Therefore, this dissertation hypothesized that the urbanized areas that are in Rustbelt, Legacy cities, and Shrinking cities (RLS) in six MSAs are explained better by the production-based approach. On the other hand, it is hypothesized that the urbanized areas that have reputations regarding the robust Economics, diverse Cultures, and Technology hubs (ECT) in six MSAs are explained better by the consumption-based approach. Therefore, this dissertation examined the hypotheses through structural equation modeling. As a result, the consumption-based approach explained gentrification process in both ECT and RLS MSAs, but the production-based approach did not reveal the critical argument that capital investment causes the low-income family displacement in both ECT and RLS MSAs. The third essay investigated income group dynamics in gentrified census tracts that were found in the first essay. Hierarchical cluster analysis and Principal Component Analysis were used to identify unique groups of income class distribution for the time periods 2000 and 2010. This dissertation concluded that both locational patterns of gentrification and characteristics of gentrifiers have shifted. some of the trademark attributes of gentrified areas might not accurately describe the gentrification process, as this research makes clear. Furthermore, there may not be a particular indicator that separates gentrified areas from non-gentrified ones. What it meant to be gentrified – even regarding low-income displacement and income dynamics – needs to be reconsidered.