New Publication

Mallach, A. (2019): Over the edge: Trajectories of African-American middle neighborhoods in St. Louis since 2000. In: Journal of Urban Affairs

Conference Session

Participants from the group presented their findings in the session “Gentrification in Older Industrial Cities: Perceptions, Processes, and Policies” at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Urban Affairs Association in Los Angeles. The session was organised by Todd Swanstrom.

  • Alan Mallach presented “The evolution of Gentrification – or how a spatial descriptor took on Protean social/cultural/political significance”
  • Susanne Frank presented “Gentrification debates without Gentrification processes: learning from Phoenix-Dortmund, Germany”
  • Jörg Plöger and Todd Swanstrom presented “What to make of Gentrification in older industrial cities? Comparing St. Louis (USA) and Dortmund (Germany)”
  • Ashley Nickels presented “Crowded advocacy on Gentrification: the framing of race, class, and inequality among non-profit actors”

Student Competition

A joint team of students from St. Louis and Dortmund have won an international student competition “The Future of My City". The “Future of My City” is an intercultural student project with the aim to promote the cultural exchange of students from the Ruhr Area in Germany and the Rust Belt Area in the United States, established as part of celebrating the German-American Friendship (Deutschlandjahr).

Students and experts from both regions were invited to develop innovative ideas on local challenges in their cities. The winning contribution was developed by a team of five spatial planning master students from TU Dortmund and nine students from St. Louis (University of Missouri St. Louis, UMSL and Washington University, WUSTL). The project was supervised by Prof. Todd Swanstrom (UMSL), Prof. Dr. Susanne Frank (TU Dortmund) and Dr. Sabine Weck (ILS).

The winning team explored gentrification debates in the two legacy cities Dortmund and St. Louis. While most research on gentrification has focused on hot market cities, legacy cities have struggled with the consequences of post-industrialism, such as economic decline and high poverty rates; changing how gentrification is experienced. Against this background, both teams have dealt comparatively with the peculiarities of gentrification processes in old industrial cities and the accompanying public discussions. The research questions dealt with by using qualitative and quantitative methods were:

  • What does gentrification look like in Dortmund and St. Louis?
  • How do people talk about it?
  • What can be done about discrepancies between facts on the ground and perceptions?

The results can be found in the award-winning report “Clean Walls = Higher Rents?! Gentrification Debates in Legacy Cities” (download:

The prize for both teams was a trip to visit the partner city abroad!