Deconstructing Neighborhoods

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory


Once characterized by rent increases and upheaval of the poor, the term gentrification today enjoys a broader, more ambivalent definition. Contemporary scholars may retain a negative association with the term, but the visible markers of gentrification are increasingly lauded as positive signs of an improving neighborhood economy, shifting focus away from displacement and toward the experiences of the middle class “resisting” suburbia in search of cafes, galleries, and diversity (Slater 2006). Concerned that scholars were succumbing to the gravitational pull of romanticized notions of “regeneration, revitalization, and renaissance” and allowing questions of displacement to be quieted by calls for the deconcentration of poverty, Slater (2006) implored academics to rededicate themselves to critical research on gentrification (p. 738). In Claiming Neighborhood,John J. Betancur and Janet L. Smith heed that cry. However, rather than focusing solely on gentrification as though it were an isolated phenomenon, Claiming Neighborhood addresses gentrification as both process and product situated in the complex socio-political landscape that defines and controls the concept of “neighborhood.”


Book Review of: John J. Betancur and Janet L. Smith. 2016. Claiming Neighborhood: New Ways of Understanding Urban Change . Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. 247 pp. $28.00 (paperback).

Original Citation

Kristi Andrasik, Joseph W Mead; Deconstructing Neighborhoods, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 28, Issue 4, 19 September 2018, Pages 624–626,