Submission Date


Document Type




Faculty Mentor

Ann Karreth


Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

When does a public good become harmful? And who does it harm? To tackle these questions I take a detailed look at how public transportation affects housing prices. Public transportation is a common good utilized by people of all different socioeconomic levels, but scholars have found that the presence of a new public transportation stop can be a catalyst for gentrification, raising housing prices and displacing previous residents. While this positive relationship between housing prices and public transportation is well documented, there is a lack of literature on how gentrification, caused by public transportation, affects neighborhood-housing prices across race. In order to understand this relationship I looked at three poor white neighborhoods. One in Atlanta, GA, one in Chicago, IL and one in Philadelphia, PA that had a new transportation site extended to it. Using census data, housing prices, and transportation ratings I looked at how these poor white neighborhoods experienced gentrification in comparison to surrounding black neighborhoods. Using these three cases studies, I find that neighborhoods that are 35 percent white or more will gentrify faster than neighborhoods with majority black residents. When neighborhoods around a city center begin to gentrify affluent home buyers feel safer purchasing urban housing in neighborhoods where the residency is majority white.

Open Access

Available to all.