The theory of gentrification and the rent gap (Smith 1979), suggests there has been a great deal of pressure for change in some parts of the city. This paper argues that history matters to how gentrification unfolds in Boston and this explains the pressures that have led to change in that Boston’s gentrifying neighborhoods.
Smith (1979, 538) states that after a period of sustained deterioration, many cities in America are experiencing gentrification of certain central city neighborhoods. He states that the initial signs of revival in the 1950s grew in 1960s and by 1970s had caused widespread gentrification that affected most of the older cities in the country. The earlier issues of sustained deterioration acted that occurred in American cities over time shows a historical aspect that influenced the changes in terms of gentrification in the country. The signs of revival that were recorded in the American cities between the 1950s and the 1960s represent the pressures that led to the cities’ gentrifying neighborhoods.
Lewis (1979, 23) states, “History matters to the structure and look of a landscape. We inherit a landscape, which forms the basis for any changes, or developments we subsequently make. Change itself is uneven (historically lumpy).” Lewis clearly shows that history contributes to the manner in which a landscape changes. A landscape cannot just change without an influence. There must be some past issues that influence how a city changes. The history might be desirable or not but either of them influences how a city changes. If the history is desirable, it will contribute to positive change in terms of improvement from the past. However, if the history is undesirable, it will influence the city to change considerably aiming for desirable outcomes. However, this does not mean that the change must be consistent because generally, change is uneven. In Boston, for instance, history has played a major factor in terms of is gentrification. Originally, the city was a forested land.