Urban Development and Change in an Age of Inequality

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Urban Development and Change in an Age of Inequality

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We are living in an age of inequality. Western countries have seen rapidly rising income inequality in the past 40 years. US cities have been on the frontlines as many of the policies that have exacerbated inequality like government austerity, and the slashing of social services have made their debut in cities like New York before becoming national trends. The enactment of these policies correlates with the spatial restructuring of US metro area as well. Indicative of the rise in income inequality, the 1980s saw the emergence of extreme concentrated poverty in many Black neighborhoods in large central cities. At the same time, neighborhoods in many of these same cities started to see a return of private capital after decades of disinvestment. Termed "gentrification," this process represented a reversal of long-standing trends of disinvestment in the urban core. At the same time, this recapitalization has been extremely uneven. Given this background, my dissertation explores the changing structure of US metro areas and neighborhoods in the context of growing income inequality in three different ways. Chapter Two examines the extent to which US metro areas are experiencing a "great inversion" in terms of affluence moving to the urban core and poverty moving to the suburbs. Chapter three explores how the growth in income inequality is affecting the income distribution of neighborhoods in large US metro areas. Chapter four examines one potential mechanism contributing to urban restructuring and inversion – the construction of new market-rate housing in the urban core and how that may be affecting rents in Minneapolis, MN.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2021. Major: Public Affairs. Advisor: Edward Goetz. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 195 pages.

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Damiano, Anthony. (2021). Urban Development and Change in an Age of Inequality. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/224534.

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