This research was conducted by Carl Grodach at Queensland University of Technology, Australia and Nicole Foster and James Murdoch III at the University of Texas Arlington, USA


The fine arts, such as the performing arts, museums and art schools have long been considered to have a positive association with neighbourhood revitalisation. This study found that in fact it is the commercial arts (which include film, music and design-based industries), not the fine arts, that have the strongest link with revitalisation and gentrification. This research can help planners to more effectively anticipate the potential for different outcomes in their arts development strategies. 

Gentrification and revitalisation are complex processes

This study reflects the change in the status of places rather than the changes in specific populations. It statistically tested how the two different groups of artistic activities (fine arts and commercial arts industries) were associated with gentrification and revitalisation in 100 US cities with a population greater than 500,000. The authors used census data based on zip codes to make their comparisons between the cities. 

Gentrification and revitalisation vary in local contexts, and there are potentially some overlapping processes at work

These processes are ‘revitalisation’ (growth in income, employment rates, housing values, and proportion of residents not living in poverty), ‘upscaling’ (growth in the number of residents in employment, decline in those on benefits, and increases in white, educated and management-employed residents) and ‘build-out’ (neighbourhoods that are becoming denser, with a higher proportion of new homeowners and higher incomes). This study shows how the commercial arts have a greater impact on these three factors, and that overall the fine arts are associated with stable, slow-growth in neighbourhoods.

This summary is by Sheridan Humphreys, King’s Knowledge Exchange Associate

Title Gentrification and the Artistic Dividend: The Role of the Arts in Neighborhood Change
Author(s) Grodach, C., Foster, N. & Mudoch, J. III
Publication date 2014
Source Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol 80, Iss 1, pp 21-35
Open Access Link
Author email