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Tenants' protection, controlling ownership and development, and community empowerment can help to mitigate displacement due to the gentrification of neighbourhoods


Ghaffari L, Klein JL, Baudin WA.  Toward a socially acceptable gentrification: A review of strategies and practices against displacement  Geography Compass. 2018; 12(2): e12355.

Review question

•    How can we help low-income residents stay in neighbourhoods that are undergoing gentrification?


      Gentrification is a process where people from a higher socio-economic class move into a lower-income neighbourhood. One negative effect of gentrification is a rise in living costs and property values. This often forces current low-income residents, including many older adults, to move out of the neighbourhood. To address this issue, it is important to identify socially acceptable strategies that can help low-income residents stay in neighbourhoods being gentrified.

How the review was done

      A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 1980 to 2016 was conducted. Studies that focused specifically on strategies that prevent displacement during gentrification were included in the review.

      About 800 studies were identified in searches, and 64 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.

      The authors did not acknowledge any funding sources for this review.

What the researchers found

      The review found three categories of strategies that could prevent or minimize the displacement of low-income residents.

      The first category covers tenants’ protection measures, which protect current residents by preventing drastic rent increases and sudden evictions, or by helping them buy homes.

      The second category focuses on controlling the ownership and development of property in the neighbourhood. For example, regulations could be changed to make it easier for public or non-profit organizations to buy land to provide affordable housing.

      The last category of strategies aims to empower the community. These include initiatives that teach current residents about their rights as tenants, or financial skills like asset building. These also include actions like consulting the community during decision-making processes.

      The review identified six driving forces that influence the success of these strategies: political will, community participation in planning processes, community solidarity, political activism, public-private-community partnerships, and having multiple financial resources for programs for low-income residents.


      This review found many socially acceptable strategies that can prevent low-income residents from being forced out of neighbourhoods being gentrified. Most of these involve changing regulations and policies or encouraging community participation in decision-making processes.

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DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

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