Gentrification and the artistic dividend: The role of the arts in neighborhood change

Carl Grodach, Nicole Foster, James Murdoch III

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Problem, research strategy, and findings: There is a conflict between recent creative placemaking policies intended to promote positive neighborhood development through the arts and the fact that the arts have long been cited as contributing to gentrification and the displacement of lower-income residents. Unfortunately, we do not have data to demonstrate widespread evidence of either outcome. We address the dearth of comprehensive research and inform neighborhood planning efforts by statistically testing how two different groups of arts activities - the fine arts and commercial arts industries - are associated with conditions indicative of revitalization and gentrification in 100 large U.S. metropolitan areas. We find that different arts activities are associated with different types and levels of neighborhood change. Commercial arts industries show the strongest association with gentrification in rapidly changing areas, while the fine arts are associated with stable, slow-growth neighborhoods. Takeaway for practice: This research can help planners to more effectively incorporate the arts into neighborhood planning efforts and to anticipate the potential for different outcomes in their arts development strategies, including gentrification-related displacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • arts
  • cultural industries
  • gentrifi - cation
  • neighborhood planning
  • revitalization

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