It's a tricky task, but Governing magazine has undertaken it: Quantifying which parts of major U.S. cities have gentrified the most since the turn of the century. Why is it tricky? "[N]o universally accepted definition of gentrification exists." Still... Boston was one of the cities that Governing looked at for its recent report, and the areas that it discovered had gentrified the most will surprise absolutely no one who has been paying attention.
The criteria for determining gentrification in the first place included growth in home values and in the number of residents with college degrees. From Governing: "To be eligible to gentrify, a tract's median household income and median home value needed to fall within the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area [in 2000]. Tracts considered to have gentrified recorded increases in the top third percentile for both inflation-adjusted median home values and percentage of adults with bachelors' degrees."
Is the South End Blighted? Boston Mulls '60s-Era Designation
BRA On the West End Demolition in the 1950s: Our Bad
The tracts that gentrified the most fell within six Boston neighborhoods: Jamaica Plain, Fenway, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, and the South End. The South End in general appears to have led the way in gentrification since 2000 (there is an interactive map in the analysis that makes things very clear). As for huge chunks of the city such as Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Allston, and Brighton, those did not meet "the initial criteria for gentrification," according to Governing, because they were too affluent or too educated (or both) to begin with. Like we said: tricky.
· Boston Gentrification Maps and Data [Governing]
· Our Fun With Cartography archive [Curbed Boston]
[Photo by d'n'c via Flickr]