Older adult homeowners, gentrification, and aging in the right place : challenges and opportunities in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, Massachusetts
Author(s)Bob, Alex(Alex Gregory)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Devin Michelle Bunten.
MetadataShow full item record
Studies have shown that older adult homeowners living in urban neighborhoods prefer to age in their existing homes and benefit from the familiarity, attachment, and sense of belonging that comes from living in one place for an extended period. However, increases in cost of living and major changes to physical, cultural, and social character of neighborhoods may challenge older adults' desires to remain in their current residence. This study investigates whether the effects of gentrification push older adult homeowners to reconsider their decisions to age in their existing homes through interviews of 20 older adult homeowners, ages 61-91, aging in place in the Boston area - 10 from neighborhoods at an early stage of gentrification and 10 from neighborhoods experiencing more prolonged and intense gentrification. I focus on the financial, physical, and social implications of gentrification to understand whether these factors weaken older adults' desires to age in their existing homes. Financially, the burdens of gentrification for homeowners interviewed are surprisingly minimal, and there are also benefits. Changes in the physical and social characteristics of their long-term homes have negative impacts on older adult homeowners' attachment to their neighborhoods, but the convenience of dense urban neighborhoods, which provide easy access to amenities, and the support offered by community organizations, which help many older adults make up for lost social connections, mitigate these negative effects. More generally, these findings confirm that homeownership can mitigate the negative economic impacts of gentrification and that policies aimed at mitigating social isolation are especially important for older adults living in rapidly changing neighborhoods.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-95).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.