Latino Studies Gentrification
Nancy Raquel Mirabal
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 August 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 August 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0153


Over the last two decades research on gentrification has boomed. As major cities across the United States experience seismic shifts in luxury real estate, inequality, lack of affordable housing, disparate education rates, and the displacement of long-time residents, gentrification and urban studies scholars have sought to provide explanations for such rapid, intervening, and profound changes. Coined by the British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964, gentrification was a term used to understand the effects of the gentry moving into working-class and poor communities in London. Employing and complicating the uses of gentrification, a series of scholars have debated whether gentrification is a deliberate or chaotic process; a result of public policy, local politics, and/or capital. While a number of scholars have examined the contradictory and multiple definitions of class-based gentrification, only recently have they also explored the impact of race, sexuality, gender, labor, ethnicity and migration status on the workings of gentrification, challenging the idea that gentrification is a strictly economic class-based phenomenon. Fortunately, there has been an increase in works that investigate the effects of gentrification on one of the largest “minority” groups in the United States: Latina/o/xs In regards to gentrification, Latina/o/xs pose a quandary. On the one hand, as workers (documented and undocumented; multi-generational and first-born), Latina/o/xs benefit from the increase in business, construction, informal economy (i.e., domestic work, child-care, elderly care), and retail. On the other, they are the most affected by downturns in the economy. Latina/o/xs are more likely to be paid less for their labor, be employed in precarious and temporary positions, be educated in low-performing public schools, and have less resources and social capital. Combined, these factors result in Latina/o/xs being one of the most displaced communities in the United States.

General Overviews

The majority of research examining Latina/o/xs in the city can be separated into several major areas: gentrification, urbanism, space, and location. Since Latina/o/xs studies is a multi- and interdisciplinary field, with works ranging from geography and urban studies to English and performance studies, it is difficult to separate and parcel individual books into one area over the other. The strengths of these works is that they overlap and cite multiple disciplines and paradigms. At the center of much of the research is how Latina/o/xs have reconfigured the meanings and uses of space, especially in regards to territoriality, borders, policy, and migrations. Employing theoretical notions of cityscapes, landscapes, and place-making, these scholars not only examine the urban, but also the rural and suburban. Acknowledging the growth of the field, the volumes listed primarily emphasize the role of gentrification, neighborhood change on different Latina/o/x communities in the United States. Scholars such as Laura Pulido, Manuel Pastor, David Diaz, Ana Ramos Zaya, Arlene Davila, Leo Estrada, and Zaire Dinzey Flores have published extensively on Latina/o/xs, gentrification and space. The demands of brevity do not allow for a full list of their publications.

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