This dissertation is composed of three essays written with the aim of understanding the relationship between HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) and gentrification.
In the first essay, I develop a standardized method, Spatial Gentrification Index (SGI), to measure the degree of gentrification across the 250 top-populated Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) for the periods of 1990-2000 and 2000-2010. In order to improve measurement, I use the factor analysis to address the intercorrelations among the key possible determinants of gentrification. The results show that racial turnover is an aspect of the gentrification process, and affluent groups—particularly the White population—receive the most benefits from gentrification. Also, gentrifiers are characterized by white members of a young professional who has different attitudes and behaviors from ordinary middle-class residents. In particular, “gentrifiers,” who are pioneers in revitalizing abandoned neighborhoods, appear to lead gentrification from 1990-2000. During 2000-2010, the ability of original residents and in-movers to afford housing costs in neighborhoods becomes significant, and more redevelopment of existing, blighted neighborhoods occurs with the influx of private or public capital.
In the second essay, I examine the relationship between HOPE VI and gentrification among 97 MSAs. Using multiple regression, this study investigates how the implementation of HOPE VI influences on the degree of gentrification in terms of change in SGI. The results indicate that HOPE VI itself generally has the impact of reducing gentrification, although the impact of previous gentrification is larger than in places without HOPE VI. The implementation of HOPE VI facilitates more poor and minority households to live in neighborhoods than areas with no experience with HOPE VI. These findings suggest that future redevelopment programs should build sustainable communities for all income levels (mixed-income community) through the comprehensive approach to mitigate gentrification and to protect low-income households. Also, the importance of the provision of affordable housing should be addressed in future redevelopment programs.
In the third essay, I explore how the effect of HOPE VI on gentrification varies across MSAs. As HOPE VI only provides the seed capital and outlines the requirements necessary to approach the problems of severely distressed public housing sites, various degrees of gentrification are observed depending on the way HOPE VI was implemented by individual PHAs in that MSAs. This result indicates that the impact of HOPE VI varies across MSAs. In the San Francisco MSA, HOPE VI has the impact of increasing gentrification, while HOPE VI in the New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington D.C. MSAs decreases gentrification. Further, HOPE VI has no impact on gentrification in the Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia MSAs. Thus, policy makers and city officials should understand which factors make the neighborhoods become socially mixed and mitigate a negative impact of gentrification on the low-income households. Also, further research is necessary to understand the local variations that cause on-the-ground differences.