Developing and Ground-Truthing Multi-Scalar Approaches to Mapping Gentrification

Daniel Yonto*, Claire Schuch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Gentrification scholars have produced one of the most dynamic literatures in geography. Yet, an underexplored feature is the different outcomes that arise based on the spatial scale and index variables employed. A disconnect also exists between qualitative and quantitative gentrification studies, with qualitative studies viewing gentrification as more dire, suggesting it is experienced differently by individuals ‘on the ground’ than quantitative data show. Responding to a demand for gentrification analysis at a smaller spatial scale, our mixed-methods study compares gentrification measures using demographic data mapped at the census tract level and physical building data mapped at the tax parcel scale. Secondly, using a ground-truthing approach, local experts offered feedback on which approach is better at pinpointing the location of gentrification trends on the ground and how the maps could inform policy and planning. Results reveal that a more complex index at a finer spatial scale are deemed more reflective of the on-the-ground reality according to local stakeholders. Findings also demonstrate that mapping gentrification at a finer spatial resolution removes the arbitrary nature of boundaries imposed by census tracts. Our results contribute to discussions about which variables to use in a gentrification index, as experts stressed combining demographic and physical factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-368
Number of pages17
JournalPapers in Applied Geography
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Gentrification
  • mixed-methods
  • neighborhood change
  • spatial scale
  • urban geography


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