Dog Parks and Coffee Shops: Faux Diversity and Consumption in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Sonya A. Grier and Vanessa G. Perry
Key Takeaways
What? New research investigates the consumption tensions that can arise in newly gentrified neighborhoods.

So What? Using extensive interviews, the authors shed light on the realities of gentrification. Findings highlight tensions in the social and consumption domains, such that longer-term residents perceived exclusion and a strong sense of community was lacking for both groups. The findings also identify “faux diversity,” which encompasses the presence of diverse groups without interaction between them, as central in these neighborhoods.

Now What? Marketers, public policy makers, and urban planners should consider the role and impact of marketing and consumption in supporting consumer well-being in these changing areas.
​New research in the Journal of Public Policy & Marekting explores diversity seeking, community, and consumption in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization. In a study of three Washington, DC, neighborhoods, the authors find that differences in resources, cultural norms, and cultural preferences lead to tensions among some residents and perceived exclusion from consumption opportunities for others. The authors also created an award-winning documentary based on their research. 
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Sonya A. Grier and Vanessa G. Perry
Sonya A. Grier is Professor of Marketing, Kogod School of Business, American University (email: Vanessa G. Perry is Professor of Marketing, Strategic Management and Public Policy, School of Business, George Washington University (email: