Breaking Down and Building Up: Gentrification, Its drivers, and Urban Health Inequality

Helen V S Cole, Roshanak Mehdipanah, Pedro Gullón, Margarita Triguero-Mas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Many neighborhoods which have been unjustly impacted by histories of uneven urban development, resulting in socioeconomic and racial segregation, are now at risk for gentrification. As urban renewal projects lead to improvements in the long-neglected built environments of such neighborhoods, accompanying gentrification processes may lead to the displacement of or exclusion of underprivileged residents from benefiting from new amenities and improvements. In addition, gentrification processes may be instigated by various drivers. We aimed to discuss the implications of specific types of gentrification, by driver, for health equity.

RECENT FINDINGS: Several recent articles find differential effects of gentrification on the health of underprivileged residents of gentrifying neighborhoods compared to those with greater privilege (where sociodemographic dimensions such as race or socioeconomic status are used as a proxy for privilege). Generally, studies show that gentrification may be beneficial for the health of more privileged residents while harming or not benefiting the health of underprivileged residents. Very recent articles have begun to test hypothesized pathways by which urban renewal indicators, gentrification, and health equity are linked. Few public health articles to date are designed to detect distinct impacts of specific drivers of gentrification. Using a case example, we hypothesize how distinct drivers of gentrification-specifically, retail gentrification, environmental gentrification, climate gentrification, studentification, tourism gentrification, and health care gentrification-may imply specific pathways toward reduced health equity. Finally, we discuss the challenges faced by researchers in assessing the health impacts of gentrification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Change
  • Urban Health
  • Urban Renewal


Dive into the research topics of 'Breaking Down and Building Up: Gentrification, Its drivers, and Urban Health Inequality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this