Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Dan Immergluck

Second Advisor

Dr. Prentiss Dantzler

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Spring


This dissertation seeks to expand the scholarly conversation on neighborhood change and neighborhood displacement to include how the processes of disinvestment and decline are associated with neighborhood displacement. This three-essay dissertation intends to add necessary nuance to the neighborhood change discussion by further conceptualizing “disinvestment-induced-displacement” (DID), determining the specific processes that lead to DID, and mapping the extent to which DID occurred during the housing market's recovery from the subprime mortgage crisis.

In the first essay, I conduct a critical systematic review of recent neighborhood displacement research to better quantify the trajectory of what we know about how and why households leave neighborhoods. More specifically, I ground the analysis through the lens of disinvestment and abandonment to discern the extent to which processes of abandonment- or disinvestment-induced displacement are present in the existing literature. This research lays the foundation for a more nuanced discussion of the complex ways neighborhoods can change. Hopefully, this piece can assist in framing a meaningful policy discussion around ways to plan for the intentional and equitable redevelopment of systemically disinvested communities.

In recent years much has been written about displacement, but almost exclusively in the context of expected or potential gentrification. The second essay is an exploratory national study that seeks to further the problematization of “gentrification-centric” displacement. The study does this by quantitatively identifying specific disinvestment factors associated with a household’s decision to leave a neighborhood. The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) dataset will be used to construct the dependent variable in the multi-variate analysis. Neighborhood displacement will be measured by a household’s decision to leave the neighborhood (census tract) during the recovery period from the global subprime mortgage crisis (2013 – 2017). A linear probability model will be used in this essay in hopes of understanding whether factors like school closures, hypervacancy, and the like are associated with household exits. me

The third and final essay will take the specific disinvestment variables at various geographic levels (household, neighborhood, metro region) that were significantly associated with household exits in Essay 2 and use these variables to create a Disinvestment-Induced-Displacement (DID) index based on a methodology adapted from the Townsend Deprivation Index (Townsend, 1987). Additionally, the essay will build a working conceptualization of DID, building on previous uses of the term, situating it within the broader spectrum of neighborhood change (Seymour & Akers, 2022). The new conceptualization and measure will help frame a spatial analysis of DID, mapping the multi-variate measure results to the neighborhood level. The spatial analysis will look at the extent of DID in the Top 200 metros in the U.S. and zoom into both large and mid-sized metros to see where DID is spatially concentrated within the metro area. This essay begins by estimating the extent to which DID impacted urban areas during the housing market recovery, and then ties together regional economic dynamics and their neighborhood change implications.

There is very little known about how disinvestment as a process interacts with or contributes to other neighborhood change processes such as displacement. This dissertation is a start, but much more research is needed on the topic.