Mapping Rural Gentrification—Lani Chang


Rural gentrification is increasingly recognized as a significant problem for Western amenity towns in the U.S. as a result of rapid in-migration fueled by the desire for closer access to these amenities, expanded telework from the pandemic, and broader nation-wide socioeconomic trends. Corresponding social, economic, and political impacts include rising housing prices, forced out-migration of the middle class, crowding and associated impacts to natural resources, socio-economic inequality, and cultural classes between old and new residents.

Wanting to understand how these impacts occurred spatially, I decided to use GIS to better visualize and communicate the impacts of rural gentrification. Focusing on ski towns along the I-70 corridor in Colorado, I used county and municipal-level housing and population data to track changes over 10-15 year periods. This was a start in mapping the impacts, but this project demonstrates the potential to show spatial correlations of rural gentrification, as well as a need for more research and data to fully understand and address the issue.