This term is used in relation to changes that take place in certain urban areas. The phenomenon of gentrification occurs when there are public or private investments in degraded areas of a city and these investments produce an increase in the cost of the land.
This circumstance makes, in turn, certain social groups are attracted to a new situation and decide to move to the new space. In this way, one speaks of gentrification when a marginalized area becomes a prosperous area.
General characteristics of the phenomenon
This transformative reality is generally applied in cities. However, they also occur in some small towns, such as in the Mexican “Povos Mágicos” program, where small towns have received investment in tourism and have been significantly revalued. gentrification
It is a series of global changes in one area. Thus, the new investments lead to an increase in land prices, a new profile of residents and an economic activity that is completely different from the original. At the same time, residents of these degraded areas are forced to move from them because their economic conditions are not adapted to the new socioeconomic status of the region.
In general, these areas involved are geographically well located (usually close to the urban core) and have a potential for economic growth for some reason, for example, because there are buildings with some historical value.
From a sociological point of view there are two opposing positions on gentrification
There are those who argue that these changes are positive for the city, as they restore slums. Other sociologists argue that gentrification is a clear example of the classic class struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed (the humbler social classes move from their own neighborhood as a consequence of the urban transformation process).
They started talking about gentrification in the 1960s by some British sociologists, who noted that some working-class neighborhoods in the city of London were becoming upper-middle-class residential areas.
To describe this new phenomenon, the English word gentrification was used, which comes from the term gentry, a class traditionally linked to the nobility, which in Portuguese and Spanish would be the ancient nobility.