Gentrification no longer an inner-city phenomenon in Aussie cities

Gentrification no longer an 'inner–city phenomenon' in Aussie cities
Gentrification in Sydney, New South Wales. Credit: University of Queensland

The innermost suburbs of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are not seeing a change in gentrification according to new research from The University of Queensland. Instead, the highest levels of urban renewal are occurring within a band located five to 15 kilometers from the cities' central business districts (CBDs).

UQ planning researcher Dr. Dorina Pojani said this contradicted urban geography theories that framed gentrification as an inner-city phenomenon.

"The inner CBD suburbs in all three cities are relatively stable and affluent at this point." Dr. Pojani said.

"There are no noticeable changes, with median house prices surpassing one million dollars, and median incomes substantially higher than average. Gentrifiers are unable to access the in the and therefore need to relocate outside the CBD bubble."

The researchers looked at common demographic metrics including increasing household incomes, educational attainment, home ownership and white collar occupations as well as decreasing age and growing population density.

These indicators were combined with data from multiple sources, including the Australian census, Google Maps and local council data repositories.

Gentrification no longer an 'inner–city phenomenon' in Aussie cities
Gentrification in Melbourne, Victoria. Credit: University of Queensland

The findings challenge anti-gentrification sentiments or even protests, which in all three cities originate from inner-city suburbs.

"It is clear that community backlash has not stemmed from poor and vulnerable groups fearing displacement," Dr. Pojani said.

"Rather, it may be considered as a manifestation of the NIMBY—Not In My Backyard—syndrome, promulgated by local homeowners—once themselves gentrifiers. It may be the case that inner-city communities react to more visible developments in the urban core, which take the form of high-rise, luxury and commerce. Resistance to inner-city redevelopment may also be a reaction to Australia's liberal approaches to city planning, which have enabled private developers to build with minimal community participation."

Dr. Pojani and her co-authors believe a new, broader vision for urban housing is needed.

Gentrification no longer an 'inner–city phenomenon' in Aussie cities
Gentrification in Brisbane, Queensland. Credit: University of Queensland

"As the state capitals continue to experience a major housing affordability crisis, governments need to introduce an integrated package of housing policies rather than attempt to 'patch' gentrification clusters on an ad hoc basis," she said.

"A dysfunctional housing system, which produces inequalities and gentrification waves, harms Australian society at large. The country risks being divided into two classes—the 'housing haves,' and the 'housing have nots,' and no one wants that."

The research is published in Australian Planner.

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More information: Claudia Pegler et al. Gentrification in Australia's largest cities: a bird's-eye view, Australian Planner (2020). DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2020.1775666
Citation: Gentrification no longer an inner-city phenomenon in Aussie cities (2020, July 17) retrieved 24 May 2022 from
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