Neighborhood change in metropolitan America


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Virginia Tech


This dissertation presents an integrated framework that was developed to examine trajectories of neighborhood change, mechanisms of suburban diversity, and the relationships between neighborhood change and employment accessibility. First, this dissertation extends the study of neighborhood change to a greater time and spatial span, systematically examining the trajectories of neighborhood change at the census tract level. The results show that neighborhood change is complicated and exhibits various trajectories. The dominant patterns do not always conform to classical models of neighborhood change, providing counterpoints to some long-established assumptions. This dissertation also provides evidence of the mechanisms through which metropolitan and suburban characteristics influence suburban diversity. Most importantly, it highlights a remarkable increase in suburban diversity with respect to neighborhood composition. Finally, this dissertation investigates the relationships between neighborhood change, spatial transformation, and employment accessibility in the North Carolina Piedmont region during the last three decades. Spatial patterns of the neighborhood distributions suggest that job accessibility varies by neighborhood typology. A detailed analysis of the trajectories of neighborhood change shows interesting patterns in both central city and suburban ecological succession and transformation. These geographical shifts of neighborhoods were shown to be associated with changes in job accessibility to a certain extent. In sum, by introducing an integrated framework including social, spatial, and employment factors, this dissertation develops a more balanced understanding of neighborhood change in the United States.



Neighborhood change, diversity, job accessibility