The arts have long played a role in debates around gentrification and displacement, yet their roles and impacts as change agents are not clear-cut. According to the standard account, artists facilitate gentrification and ultimately engender the displacement of lower income households, but more recent research complicates the accepted narrative. This article seeks to untangle the relationship between the arts, gentrification and displacement through a statistical study of neighbourhood-level arts industry activity within large US regions. The findings indicate that the standard arts-led gentrification narrative is too generalised or simply no longer applicable to contemporary arts-gentrification processes. Rather, the arts have multiple, even conflicting relationships with gentrification and displacement that depend on context and type of art. These results have important implications for how we study the role of the arts in neighbourhood change and for how governments approach the arts and creative industries in urban policy.
- creative economy
- cultural industries