Multiuse Trails, Gentrification, and heterogeneity of neighborhood change

Yunlei Qi, Greg Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars have found that many new multiuse trails are associated with neighborhood change like gentrification. However, gentrification of adjacent, gentrifiable neighborhoods is not universal, and studies of localized effects of trails are needed. This study documents gentrification and upgrading in both gentrifiable and non-gentrifiable neighborhoods along three multiuse trails funded and opened in large U.S. cities (Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Washington D.C.) between 1993 and 2015. We use a case-control, pre-post design with Dynamic Difference-in-Difference models, incorporating Nonparametric Propensity Score Matching for the control group selection, to test the announcement and opening effects in neighborhoods adjacent to these trails. We document heterogeneity and complexity of neighborhood change both within and across these trail corridors. When pooling the three trails, we find evidence of opening effects but little evidence of announcement effects in gentrifiable neighborhoods, and some evidence of both effects in non-gentrifiable neighborhoods. Our trail-specific analyses indicate that gentrification occurred in some, but not all, trail corridors and gentrifiable neighborhoods. Evidence indicates gentrification in trail corridors may not result solely from announcement/opening effects, but may be initiated or accelerated by the upgrading in surrounding non-gentrifiable neighborhoods following trail announcement and opening. Additionally, the gentrification process may also involve the encroachment of white residents into minority (i.e., predominantly Black), gentrifiable neighborhoods. Policymakers, planners, and advocates working to build green infrastructure like trails need to consider the complexities of local context when developing strategies to mitigate adverse consequences of gentrification and displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105078
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Sep 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.


  • Gentrification
  • Multiuse trails
  • Neighborhood change
  • Upgrading


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