2004 volume 36(7) pages 1151 – 1172

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Newman K, Ashton P, 2004, "Neoliberal urban policy and new paths of neighborhood change in the American inner city" Environment and Planning A 36(7) 1151 – 1172

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Neoliberal urban policy and new paths of neighborhood change in the American inner city

Kathe Newman, Philip Ashton

Received 18 September 2003; in revised form 23 December 2003

Abstract. In this paper, we examine a new form of neighborhood change that appeared towards the end of the 1990s and early 2000s and explore its causes, processes, and effects. We suggest that a neoliberal policy regime focused on revitalizing cities through deconcentrating poverty and increasing low-income and moderate-income home-ownership has created a new funding and decision environment for the redevelopment of select inner-urban neighborhoods. The results have been an emerging process of neighborhood reinvestment marked by land-use and social transformations driven not by rent-seeking private developers but primarily by local political actors and community development organizations struggling in resource-poor environments. This neighborhood change process promotes benefits for those with a vested interest in neighborhood and urban revitalization and for a small group of moderate-income, minority homebuyers. The effect of these revitalization efforts on very-low-income residents who have lived in these neighborhoods through a period of severe disinvestment is uncertain. Despite the rhetoric of neighborhood revitalization, the reality of this reinvestment looks more like a new process of gentrification than a process of community-controlled redevelopment.

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