Gentrification in the U.S. New South: Evidence from two types of African American communities in Charlotte

Daniel Yonto*, Jean Claude Thill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Neighborhood development in the U.S. New South offers a rich historical diversity reflecting different growth patterns during their initial development and a longer history of African American residential experiences. Previous studies indicate certain neighborhood racial characteristics cancel conditions known to encourage gentrification, such as proximity to downtown. While recent gentrification literature has offered contradictory findings about the importance of neighborhoods with a majority African American population, a key aspect missing from this debate is how U.S. New South cities are set apart from other regions by displaying processes of industrialization, segregation, and immigration that form low-density spatial patterns of urbanization. To that end, Charlotte, NC is used as a case study to reveal how two types of African American neighborhoods near new growth centers, rim villages and streetcar suburbs, become gentrified. Our research reveals that while dynamics of economic change restructure neighborhoods in Charlotte, they also destabilize infrastructure that supports economically and socially struggling African American communities. As mid-sized U.S. New South cities continue to grow, our viewpoint argues that more thorough and geographically sensitive studies are needed to address localized impacts of gentrification on minority neighborhoods to form site specific anti-gentrification strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102475
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • African American neighborhoods
  • Gentrification
  • Mid-sized cities
  • U.S. New South


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