Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Fiona M. Davidson

Committee Member

Jackson Cothren

Second Committee Member

Thomas Paradise

Keywords

Social sciences; Gentrification; HOPE VI; Memphis; Tennessee

Abstract

Gentrification is the manifestation of the Social change within urban residential neighborhoods as a result of uneven development in cities. These gentrification processes are a contextually dependent phenomenon, which vary both spatially and temporally when compared betwixt cities. Since the 1990s, local and state governments have developed more creative discourses for the promotion of gentrification which have overshadowed the positive outcomes of gentrification. The adoption of neoliberal policies has attacked many forms of the Keynesian welfare-state, most notably federal public housing. The United States’ Department of Urban Housing and Development’s (HUD) initiative Homeownership Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) emerged as the new federal housing policy after this shift, and the program competitively awarded rehabilitative and demolition grants to public housing authorities. The neoliberalization of public housing has placed the Social wellbeing of many residents into the hands of the market as more mixed-use housing ventures are financed and developed.

This study analyzed Census and HUD data to critically assess the relationship between gentrification and HOPE VI sites in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. The statistical models employed in this study indicate a weak relationship between gentrification and the redeveloped HOPE VI sites. Results have also shown that while the number of the original residents that return to the redeveloped sites have been low, and poverty concentration, housing prices, and college education attainment levels have seen little or no improvement at the census tract level. Furthermore, the results show that the Memphis Housing Authority’s adoption of the HOPE VI redevelopment model has only decreased affordable housing options in the city and may be contributing to increased income segregation across the city. This study serves to inform lawmakers of the true effects of their policy decisions and highlights those who are most affected.

Key Words: gentrification, HOPE VI, Memphis

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