Geografie 2015, 120, 113-133

Who Are the Gentrifiers and How Do They Change Central City Neighbourhoods? Privatization, Commodification, and Gentrification in Bucharest

Liviu Chelcea, Raluca Popescu, Darie Cristea

University of Bucharest, Department of Sociology, Bucharest, Romania

Our understanding of gentrification outside of the Anglo-Saxon core is relatively undeveloped. In order to contribute to a more de-centered approach, we ask who are the gentrifiers and how do they change central city neighbourhoods in a post-socialist context? The answers are explored through a mixed-methods approach, using both quantitative and qualitative data: construction permits analysis, census tract data, field trips, and interviews with tenants, former owners, and real estate agents. Findings indicate that gentrifiers vary in nature. They include state tenants, former owners, marginal gentrifiers, political capitalists, and institutional investors. Through their actions, central neighbourhoods have gained younger, more educated, and smaller households. Beyond this case study, we emphasize the usefulness of rent gap theories, the need to study displaced households, and the potential of property rights to enrich theories of gentrification.


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