Rutledge M. Dennis
Gentrification refers to the process in which members of a highly educated, professional class move into formerly working- or lower-class city districts, populated largely by members of minority groups. The term gentrification derives from the European concept of “gentry” and the “gentry class” and suggests, historically, a class whose manners, tastes, and sense of leisure, refinement, and gentility mirrored and emulated the values and habits of the aristocracy. Contemporary discussions of gentrification take on added importance because of the American ambivalence toward cities as centers of cultural, political, and economic life. If, as Georg Simmel suggests, cities are the greatest representation of societal culture and civilization, they also represent heightened diversity, crowds, noises, anonymity, and a loss of privacy. For these reasons, members of the middle and upper classes have historically sought refuge beyond city boundaries for more space and to engage in activities with members of their own class. ...