Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Not Applicable

Advisor Role

Not Applicable


Over the past two decades, the literature regarding gentrification has become extensive. More recently, a smaller body of research has emerged. This research, which takes a more theoretical approach, accepts some of the views of earlier literature, but places an emphasis on explaining the underlying causes of gentrification, rather than describing its instances. The purpose of this thesis has been to consider recent literature on gentrification in terms of whether a relationship exists between contemporary demographic and societal changes and the process of gentrification. This has been accomplished by using three methods. The first method involves the computation of growth coefficients. These coefficients, or rates of change, show the percentage of positive or negative growth for each variable in each centre, over time. The second method uses two sets of location quotients. These quotients compare the concentration of each variable in core neighbourhoods relative to the defined outer city, and CMA, during the given time period. Finally, the third method makes use of location quotients computed for each variable and census tract. This method not only gives a more detailed picture of change in the inner city itself, but is also instrumental in the identification of outliers, or extreme cases. Thus, by analysing patterns of change in core neighbourhoods in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg over a fifteen year time period, and by utilizing several well known gentrifying variables, the results show that although some aspects of the known characteristics of gentrification and the theory discussed in this thesis may be confirmed, it is clear that some aspects may not. In terms of the results of this thesis, only the findings for young males, male professionals, individuals with university degrees, and to a limited extent female professionals, can lend support to the well known characteristics or definition of gentrification. Other aspects which include working females, and small families are clearly decreasing, and therefore can not be seen to support the evidence for gentrification. With regard to the females, it is clear that since young working women are fairly evenly dispersed throughout the entire CMA, and that the proportion of professional women is decreasing in core neighbourhoods, the link between these women and the gentrification process can not be supported. Overall, the results for this thesis indicate that the inner city is being shaped by a number of complex forces and trends, and by 1986 some of the well known contributors to the process of gentrification do not seem to be as predominant as they may have been in the past. Moreover, while the inner city is an attractive locational choice to some, it is not able to compete as well for housing demand as some of the more peripheral areas can.

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