Discussion paper

DP11676 Can Urban Renewal Policies Reverse Neighborhood Ethnic Dynamics?

This paper assesses the impact on neighborhood population dynamics of a major urban renewal
policy implemented in Catalonia (Spain) between 2004 and 2010. Some of the most
deprived neighborhoods in the region received large investments in their public spaces and
facilities with the aim of attracting natives and high income individuals and of reducing the
concentration of poverty and immigration. The control group comprises rejected projects
and projects accepted towards the end of the program that, due to a fall in public tax revenues,
were never executed. The results suggest that the urban renewal projects had little
(if any) effects on population dynamics, suggesting that substantial investment in deprived
neighborhoods is insufficient to attract natives and/or high income households. Interestingly,
the sole exception were the interventions made in Barcelona’s historic districts, where
the policy seems to have augmented ongoing processes of urban revival into its most deprived
neighborhoods furthering processes of gentrification.


Viladecans-Marsal, E and N Gonzalez-Pampillon (eds) (2016), “DP11676 Can Urban Renewal Policies Reverse Neighborhood Ethnic Dynamics?”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 11676. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11676