Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Legacy Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Lauria, Mickey

Committee Member

Sperry , Stephen

Committee Member

Nocks , Barry

Abstract

The American urban backdrop has seen an ebb and flow of investment and abandonment in the central city. The movement of the population from city to suburb and vice versa is often associated with access to lower rents, but is also driven by consumer demand. As redevelopment occurs in the once declining urban areas, economic development brings in a new middle class and the private and public services necessary to accommodate them. Inevitably, as new people move in current residents may be forced out. Addressing this issue is complicated by understanding what makes a neighborhood or a particular population prone to the type of redevelopment that results in displacement, commonly known as gentrification. Much theory and multiple case studies have been written about the characteristics of both production and demand and how they relate to the displaced population, the neighborhood in question, and the new middle class.
Through a case study approach of Asheville, N.C. this study explores how gentrification theory may be better understood through the application of geographical information systems (GIS). This project serves as a mechanism to attempt to identify and understand the use of indicators proposed in the literature and through case studies as a tool to detect the progression of gentrification. This study assists in understanding and use of GIS technology on gentrification, a very complicated theoretical concept. It seems the methodology is feasible given the more complex task of identifying a complete set of variables in a specific spatial and temporal context. These findings are then used to discuss the implication of gentrification and the prescribed models on Asheville specifically and on planning professionals in general.

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