Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Green Gentrification, Social Justice, and Climate Change in the Literature: Conceptual Origins and Future Directions

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Abstract:  While global urban development is increasingly oriented towards strategies to facilitate green urbanism, potential community trade-offs are largely overlooked. This article presents the findings of a quantitative and qualitative meta-analysis of the current literature on green gentrification (the process leading the implementation of an environmental planning agenda displacing or excluding the most economically vulnerable population) in connection with climate change adaptation and mitigation across the globe. Based on specific keywords, we selected the recorded entry of 212 articles from Scopus covering the period 1977–2021. Our review focused on the historical and geographical development of the literature on urban greening and gentrification. The analysis shows that the concept of green gentrification has strong roots within the environmental justice debate in the US. In terms of intervention, most studies focused on urban parks and trees and were primarily oriented towards restoration. However, debates around the role of green facades, green roofs, or blue infrastructure (such as ponds and rivers) and other nature-based solutions as a driver for green gentrification are few and far between. Finally, we also identified a strong gap between the observation of green gentrification and potential countermeasures that respond to it. Most studies suggest that the existence of a stronger collaborative planning process within the affected communities may overcome the challenge of green gentrification. Based on our results, we identify several gaps and new research directions to design a green and just city.

Keywords:  climate change adaptation; climate justice; mitigation; social justice; urban design; urban planning



© Roberta Cucca, Michael Friesenecker, Thomas Thaler. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.