Among urban policy-focused academics, few issues today are as distressing and contentious as gentrification. Much of the focus in public debate has been on the newly upscale neighborhoods in major U.S. cities, like New York’s Chelsea, East Village, or Williamsburg; San Francisco’s Portero Hill and Mission District; Chicago’s Wicker Park; or Boston’s South End.
But for all of this ferment, urban poverty remains deep and concentrated. Just how often do high-poverty neighborhoods really transform, with dramatic reductions in poverty rates? The answer will be essential for understanding who benefits from neighborhood change and who is left behind.