Urban neighborhoods have undergone property disinvestment, a decreasing population, and a general economic decline. Atlanta, the fourth-fastest gentrifying city in the United States exemplifies this trend. The purpose of this grounded theory study is to understand how discourse about gentrification helps a community address its goal of regeneration. We used Habermas’ critical hermeneutic lens to investigate the perceptions of 20 resident leaders and stakeholders in a community that was undergoing the process of gentrification. Our findings illustrate that this community is fraught with systematically distorted communication that used communicative action for emancipation. The four theoretical codes: gentrification (a collision between politics and economics), systematically distorted communication, regeneration, and strategies (communicative action as emancipatory), were used to represent how power and language intersected within economic and political discourse. Through an identification of elements of communicative action for neighborhoods that are undergoing gentrification, this study provides guidance for development of stakeholder community action plans.
Gentrification, Urban Redevelopment, Regeneration, Grounded Theory, Habermas, Communicative Action
We would like to acknowledge the Partnership for Southern Equity for their support of this study.
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Recommended APA Citation
Isaac, C., Bernstein, A., & Behar-Horenstein, L. (2020). From Gentrification to Regeneration: A Grounded Theory Study of Community Leadership in Southwest Atlanta. The Qualitative Report, 25(9), 3369-3390. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2020.4256