Gentrification – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

Gentrification is a process of rebuilding and renewing a well-situated central urban area. As a consequence, their neighbors are displaced to peripheral areas or areas with less purchasing power.

Gentrification is the reform of the central and old-fashioned areas of the city in order to adapt to the times that the rest of the city lives. The negative consequence is that their neighbors, generally from the humble class, are displaced to other more peripheral and cheaper areas because they cannot afford the cost of this new home.

This is a process that can be experienced in any city. Downtown areas were always the first to be built, therefore, over the years and with the development and growth of cities, these areas were aging faster than other neighborhoods.

Origin of the term gentrification

The word gentrification is a neologism from the English gentleman, of Latin origin, which is the English word that was adapted to Spanish. This refers to both the upper bourgeoisie and landowners, as well as the lower and middle nobility.

Hence the meaning of gentrification, which involves the replacement of humble or lower middle class people by others with greater purchasing power. What in our times we know as upper class or upper middle class.

Causes of gentrification

The causes of this phenomenon were briefly described at the beginning of this article, it is mainly due to the aging of cities. The central areas are the first to be built, thus, over the years and the construction of new areas and neighborhoods, they become outdated and in poor condition. Therefore, due to the potential they have if they are reformed, they are renewed.

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The business perspective is also key. All agents, both public and private, carry out this process in order to obtain certain benefits. In the case of the Administration, higher income from a higher tax on real estate (IBI in Spain) and taxes associated with new premises and businesses with higher turnover. For their part, private agents will obtain economic benefits as a result of the large investment made.

The gentrification process

But what is the renewal process like? Several agents can intervene in it. The local government may facilitate, through legislation, private agents to carry out such refurbishment. These agents can buy the entire property from its owner. If the tenants were the owners, the money offered will not be enough to acquire another house in the neighborhood or similar, forcing them to emigrate to other areas. If, on the other hand, the tenants were renting, the new rent after the remodeling would be so high that it would end with the same consequences as in the previous case.

On the other hand, not only homes are the protagonists of this process, but also businesses and premises. Shopping and entertainment centers can be built to raise the cost of living in the area. As well as stores or other higher value businesses that generate the same consequences. What is clear is that this process is carried out through investment, which generates associated costs such as the migration of the resident population.


Beyond the inherent consequence of the term, which is the substitution of the popular classes for higher ones, there are other consequences such as the growth of the periphery and neighboring towns; increase in per capita income of renovated areas; coexistence between very modern buildings and other very old ones that could not be renovated; almost exclusive increase in the price of housing in large cities. All this, in addition to a certain loss of the historical and cultural heritage of the oldest cities.

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