A New Approach to Gentrification: Using the case of Hartford to discover the reasons certain cities have not gentrified.
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Public Policy and Law
Abigail Fisher Williamson
This thesis presents a new way of looking at and studying gentrification in light of the significant differences of opinion on the subject still found in scholarship roughly 50 years after it first appeared in scholarly literature. Understanding why gentrification does not occur may provide the broadly accepted insights into the phenomenon that studies so far have failed to provide. To initiate this new direction in the literature, I examine the case of Hartford, Connecticut, an old former industrial town that has not gentrified despite having a strong presence of service industry employment and many wealthy suburbs within its metropolitan region. Using the city’s own plans of development and local media articles, this thesis looks at Hartford’s development history from 1955 to 2011 for evidence as to why Hartford has not gentrified. Based on the evidence I obtained, it appears that Hartford’s uniquely extreme subordination to its suburbs, both politically and economically, has impeded gentrification by diminishing any benefits that could accrue to Hartford during times of economic growth. In addition, it appears that the rent-gap has yet to form in Hartford and that rehabilitation in the city has always been economically difficult. Lastly, Hartford’s near-total devastation during the recession of the early 1990’s cut short what may have been a time of gentrification, set the city back decades economically and required it to completely rethink its economic place in the world. In the aftermath of this setback the city can be seen to more clearly desire gentrification and its actions in Downtown may one day lead to observable gentrification occurring in Hartford.
Boyle, Matthew, "A New Approach to Gentrification: Using the case of Hartford to discover the reasons certain cities have not gentrified.". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2019.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/764
Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.