The Ethicality of City Governments Promoting Gentrification

Open Access
Harrop, Matthew Robert
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Macy, Thesis Supervisor
  • Charles C Snow, Honors Advisor
  • gentrification
  • stakeholder analysis
  • Kantian analysis
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • sustainability
Gentrification research has largely centered on the idea of displacement, the process of poor residents being forced to leave their homes due to the increased cost of living. The question of greatest concern has been whether or not its effects are substantial enough to categorize gentrification as a negative force in urban development. Displacement research, however, is often the result of incomplete and unrealistic experimental methods, leaving scholars arguing about whose methods result in more accurate predictions. Instead of focusing on this single aspect, scholars should examine multiple factors involved in the process. A stakeholder analysis of gentrification will allow a more comprehensive understanding of the positive and negative implications of gentrification’s effects. Among others, the following stakeholders will be analyzed: original residents, middle and upper class in-movers, city governments, the environment, schools, and business. In order to frame this approach in the appropriate ethical context necessary for a stakeholder analysis, the question at the center of this argument will be the following: Is it ethical for city governments to promote gentrification as a solution to urban deterioration? Each stakeholder will then be analyzed under two common ethical outlooks, a cost-benefit analysis and a Kantian analysis. The argument will demonstrate that each outlook may come to entirely different conclusions, allowing city governments to use the ethical outlook that best fits their agenda.