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How Machine Learning and AI Can Predict Gentrification

New research from the Urban Studies journal uses London as a test site to show how machine learning can predict which neighborhoods will gentrify next.
Signs advertise newly built houses for sale in West London.
Signs advertise newly built houses for sale in West London.Toby Melville/Reuters

Concern about gentrification has grown in the past decade as the affluent and educated have surged back into cities. But can the pace and pattern of future gentrification be predicted? New research by a team of data scientists and geographers says so.

The research, conducted by Jonathan Reades, Jordan De Souza, and Phil Hubbard of Kings College London and published in the Urban Studies journal, uses an artificial intelligence technique called machine learning that essentially trains computer models to learn from past data to predict future patterns. In this case, the research team used data on past gentrification in London to predict where it will next occur.