reassessing residential preferences for redevelopment

While scholars argue that redevelopment and gentrification result in large part from the unique preferences of middle-class residents moving to neighborhoods after decades of flight, almost all of this evidence is extrapolated from the behavior of residents already living in redeveloped neighborhoods. I argue that understanding the consequences of redevelopment, particularly urban policies advocating redevelopment, requires measuring the preferences for redeveloped neighborhoods among the larger population. Using data from a representative sample of Chicago metropolitan area adults, I find that homeowners and renters differ in their patterns of preferences for redeveloped neighborhoods: city or suburban residence is more important for homeowners while race is a much stronger factor among renters. This reassessment of preference patterns suggests important long-term implications should be considered as researchers and policy-makers debate redevelopment policies, particularly since policies might fall short of intended goals to attract investment and alleviate racial segregation.

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